Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Westminster: School Sports Partnership - Cameron does a u-turn

Andy Burnham MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, commenting on the partial u-turn by the Conservative-led Government on school sport, said:

"David Cameron and Michael Gove have spent weeks seeking to justify a bad decision with dodgy statistics. Gove's overruling by the Prime Minister is a victory for thousands of young people, teachers and athletes, and is a warning to this Tory-led Government that it cannot simply do what it likes. But this package from the Conservative-led Government, after weeks of scrabbling round for funding to save something it branded a "complete failure", only raises one cheer at best.

"So today, in conceding the success of Labour's School Sports Partnerships, the Government has nevertheless failed to put in place a proper funding package that will allow us to capitalise on the excitement of the 2012 Games. We are still looking at the prospect of fewer children playing sport in the run up to the Olympics, and no answer on what will happen to school sport following the Games."


Tessa Jowell MP, Labour’s Shadow Olympics Minister, highlighted the importance of delivering a sporting legacy from London 2012 for young people, saying:

"The three tests of the Tory-led Government’s rethink on school sport are:

"Firstly, will they ensure that there will be no reduction in the amount and range of sports offered in schools? Secondly, will they ensure that the amount of competitive sport both within and between schools continues to increase at the same rate that it has done over the last four years? And finally, will the number of young people participating in more than 2 hours per week in sport remain above 90%, and will we stay on course to meet our Olympic target of 60% of young people doing 5 or more hours of sport per week by 2012?

"If each of these tests is met, then so too will be the Olympic legacy promise, to transform a generation of young people through sport, that has inspired such passion among young people up and down the country. Nothing less will do."

Ivan Lewis MP, Labour’s Shadow Media, Culture and Sport Secretary, said:

"We welcome David Cameron's decision to over-rule Michael Gove but the Tory-led Government's new package is muddled and leaves many questions unanswered. There is a real risk that the reduction in the time available to School Sport Coordinators will lead to a reduction in young peoples' participation in sport. This is ludicrous at a time when we should be making this the centrepiece of our Olympic legacy and the fight against child obesity. We will judge the impact of these changes by whether the tremendous advances in school sport over the past few years are maintained and built upon."

Notes

1. School Sport partnerships have transformed participation in sport, and the quality of sport that is offered in schools across the country.

· In 2002, around 25% of young people did 2 or more hours of sport per week. Now more than 90% do.
· Almost every school now offers children the chance to do at least 5 hours of sport per week, and around a third of children are taking up that offer.
· There are now over 1.6 million more young people participating in inter-school competitive sport than there were in 2006, and 1.2 million more participating in intra-school sport.