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End in sight for school sport funding row?

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Adrian Warner | 16:18 UK time, Friday, 17 December 2010

I expect David Cameron to announce a U-turn on the school sports partnerships row next week.

The Prime Minister is due to make a speech about Olympic legacy which will include plans for Olympic-themed sports competitions between schools.

The worry for the Government is that the idea and indeed Cameron's speech will be widely regarded as meaningless unless ministers tackle the controversial issue of funding school sports.

There's real anger in schools across the country about the £162 million fund being cut because the partnerships have helped children get a taste for all sports of sports in primary and secondary schools.

In the last few days I understand ministers have been involved in intensive talks to persuade Education Secretary Michael Gove to find a solution.

What is likely to happen by next Monday is that some money will be ringfenced for headteachers to use for school sport.

It won't be as much as the last Government's £162 million but Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt is pushing for the Department of Education to make enough cash available to keep the partnerships in place.

What that would mean is coaches working on tighter budgets to keep the system going, rather than scrapping a coaching structure which has been very successful.

Some of the coaches I have spoken to say the partnerships could be kept going on less money.

Gove hasn't agreed just yet but I reckon he will before Cameron opens his mouth to talk about the legacy of the 2012 Games next week.

Remember, it was THE big promise of the bid to use the Games to increase participation. There's been more statistical evidence this week that fewer people are getting involved in sport despite the buzz of the Games.

The Government wants the 2012 Olympics to be something positive in the middle of difficult financial days --not another reminder of the cuts.


  • Comment number 1.

    Follows an extract from my response to Camelot concerning their planned ending of their Dream Number draws in January 2011:

    The London Olympic and Paralympic Games are scheduled to take place in mid-2012 so there is opportunity to continue to make a significant contribution towards the cost of these.

    Even beyond the Games there is opportunity to dedicate the revenue from Dream Number to supporting the development of sport in the United Kingdom - particularly for the young and disadvantaged.

    In my opinion this Government should use their powers to force Camelot to continue the Dream Number draws and dedicate the revenue from these draws to fund the development of sport in our schools throughout the United Kingdom. It shouldn't be like this; sport teaches self-discipline and this Government are killing-off this most important element of education which is much needed in our society today.



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