Drop in school sport support blamed on funding cuts
Research indicates a 60% decrease in amount of time dedicated to organising nationwide participation for pupils.
On the eve of an Olympic Games that has promised to "inspire a generation of young people through sport", research has indicated a 60% drop in the amount of time dedicated to organising school sport nationwide in the wake of government cuts.
The research, compiled by Labour through Freedom of Information requests to 150 top tier local authorities, shows there are now 110 fewer School Sport Partnerships – local networks of organised school sport – than there were before the cuts in 2009/10, a decline of 37%.
Almost half of local authorities (48%) recorded a decrease in the number of School Sport Partnerships, while 28% no longer have any.
"When we won the Games we made a promise to the people of this country and the international community to inspire a generation of young people through sport," said Tessa Jowell, the shadow minister for the Olympics who sits on the London 2012 board.
"It is important that schools are able to maintain this momentum and help young people develop sport and exercise as a habit that will keep them healthy and fit for the rest of their lives. It is not yet too late for the government to keep the promise that we made and make the most of this Olympic moment."
In 2010 the education secretary, Michael Gove, threatened to axe £162m in ringfenced funding for a national network of School Sports Partnerships. In the wake of an outcry from athletes, pupils and opposition MPs, David Cameron ordered a partial U-turn, but the ringfenced funding was still cut by 69% and only guaranteed until 2013. It was redirected to a new scheme allowing PE teachers to be released for one day a week. Those working within the system fear that the funding will be withdrawn altogether next year.
Read more ... (The Guardian - 18 July)