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The future of school sport

Wednesday 6 February 2013, 08:35

Eleanor Oldroyd Eleanor Oldroyd

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School sports

“Six months on, schools are losing the Olympic legacy”. - The Observer

“Government accused of turning its back on school sport”. - BBC News

Tough reading for the Education Secretary Michael Gove in recent days as commentators and politicians write their half-year report on whether or not London 2012 succeeded in inspiring a generation - and, more to the point, whether those who were inspired have been able to access a more sporty lifestyle through their schools.

The verdict seems to be: Could do better. Could do much better.

Two years ago, with the London Games still a distant prospect, 5 live Sport visited South Bromsgrove High School to hear how the previous Government’s School Sport Partnerships had benefitted not only the pupils at the school itself, but also the wider community.

But the fear, back then in January 2011, was that the proposed removal of ring-fenced funding for the SSP’s by the Coalition Government would have a devastating effect.

This week, 5 live Sport will be at the Youth Sport Trust’s National School Sport conference in Telford, where around 700 teachers will be debating the challenges that lie ahead - including how to make sure that every pupil, from the most talented to the least co-ordinated, has the chance to improve their lives through sport.

And we’ll be examining how important school is in giving young people the best chance to develop a lifelong exercise habit.

Passionate about sport

Is it all about representing your school in football, rugby, hockey or netball - or trying your hand at less traditional pursuits, such as rock-climbing, canoeing, or even Indian Dancing?

How do we make sure that girls, who tend to drop out of PE in their early teens, keep active until the end of their school days and beyond?

And how do schools meet the sporting challenge in such difficult economic times?

Joining us will be the Chairman of UK Sport and the Youth Sport Trust, Baroness Sue Campbell, who knows the sporting landscape from the elite level to the grass roots.

Olympian Gail Emms and Paralympian Hannah Cockcroft will be sharing their experiences and telling us why they’re so passionate about school sport.

We’ll hear from teaching professionals from Primary and Secondary schools, from the State and Independent sectors, and from young people who’ve taken on leadership roles while still in full-time education.

And we’d like to hear from you - whether you’re a teacher, a parent or a pupil.

Has sport and PE in your school seen a boost or a decline since London 2012?

How far are schools responsible for getting our young people fitter and more active - or is it the responsibility of parents?

And, with a Government announcement on their future plans for school sports due in the next few weeks, what would you like to hear from Michael Gove?

The Future of School Sport is on 5 live at 8pm on Thursday 7 February. The programme can be listened to after broadcast here and downloaded here.

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    Comment number 1.

    Eleanor I think there is a problem at the most basic level here, with primary school becoming a more sedentary experience. Primary schools used to supplement a PE less in core sports with a dance or movement based session. Now either one or both of there has taken a back seat when KS1 should be the start. They preach about diet/drinks, yet do not link this to activity in any meaningful manner in my experience. My daughter was already a decent club swimmer at Primary school yet their guidelines restricted her calorie intake (the focus being on the majority of inactive children).

    At our primary there is a dedicated IT teachers but not one for PE. Sports resource comes from outside and is paid for by PTA or parents directly. I run cricket coaching sessions for a local club, I offer to run taster sessions but the schools are too busy (not all their fault). I like the objective Rebecca Adlington has set but she is fighting a system of H&S, cost and time restraints away from the desk, I wish her all the best.

    Basically clubs and volunteers need more support than ever to supplement a woeful underinvestment (mainly time and activity skills) in the early years school system.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 2.

    Sorry to add:

    Primary schools prepare children for secondary school life this should include sport so they have the necessary skills, coordination and games understanding. Otherwise PE will always be a chore, miss a way to integrate with others and be avoided by many.

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    Comment number 3.

    Hi Eleanor,
    I think it really depends on being in the right school at the right time. My sons attend a smallish village school - 200 pupils. The Year 4 teacher is a fantastic advocate for sport and as a result they do loads! My 10 year old this week had an inter-school indoor athletics meeting Monday, football training after school today and a football match on Thursday after school. He will also do lacrosse at school today as well as standard lessons. My 7 year old has PE twice a week and for the last four Monday's has also had an hour long tag session with the captain of our local rugby club first team. There will also be inter-school tag tournaments (supported by Sarries), inter-school outdoor athletics, as well netball, cricket and rounders.
    However, if the lovely Mr Martin wasn't a teacher at our school, I have no idea if sport would be driven on in the way it is now.
    Of course, parents have to have a big impact on whether their children are fit and healthy but not all children are lucky enough to have parents who are willing or able to ferry them around all over the place and cope with the associated costs that goes with that. That is why school sport is key so that every child has a chance!

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    Comment number 4.

    The PE teachers at my son's grammar school are not prepared to put in any more than the bare minimum of effort. Fixtures and training sessions are cancelled for no apparent reason. F you are not in the first team at a given sport then there are few opportunities to participate in team sports. Contrast this to the public school system where there is ample opportunity to participate. Maths teachers run sports teams and there are 3 or 4 teams playing regularly at each year group

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    Comment number 5.

    Eleanor
    I am a Primary School Teacher. Two points.
    1) PE lessons often get sidelined because of either the weather or alternative use of the only hall.
    2) Most teachers are not PE specialists and we bumble along doing our best - but this is not really good enough.
    ALL schools shoud have funded specialist PE teachers - small schools could share - and until this happens things will always be patchy.
    I did write to Mr Cameron last year to this effect but it was passed to the Education minister and all I got was a blah blah sort of reply.

 

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