School sport at risk, says Labour

Children running race Labour wants "tough" action to boost sport and PE in schools

Related Stories

Labour says the government has risked "salami slicing" school sport by abolishing a requirement that all pupils do at least two hours PE a week.

The party is calling for "tough action" to deliver a schools' sport legacy to match the success of the Olympics.

It says recent data suggests just more than about half of children do this much exercise, down from 90% in 2010.

The government said it was putting competitive sport at the heart of the new national curriculum.

In a new action plan, launched ahead of Sunday's BBC Sports Personality of the year final, Labour calls for the two-hour a week of PE requirement to be reinstated.

Field protection

It argues that the government's reducing of protection for school playing fields has also risked damage to pupils' physical education.

The plan calls for Ofsted to focus more closely on inspecting sport provision in all schools including academies and free schools. This would include looking at outdoor facilities and checking how many hours of sport each school provides for pupils.

Start Quote

"The two-hour target was never a rule. It was an unenforceable aspiration that schools were free to ignore”

End Quote Department for Education

The party says that in 2010 figures from the School Sport Survey, which has since been abolished, showed that 90% of children did two hours of sport each week.

It compares this with figures from a poll of parents published last month by the Chance to Shine campaign which suggested that 54% thought their children did less than this each week. Some 81% said the amount of school PE on offer had stayed the same or dropped since the Games.

A Department for Education spokesman said: "The two-hour target was never a rule. It was an unenforceable aspiration that schools were free to ignore.

"We are freeing teachers from such unnecessary targets and paperwork which take up too much time better used in the classroom or at the running track."

'Competitive' culture

He said the government was "putting competitive sport at the heart of the new school curriculum" as well as extending the School Games and spending £1bn on youth sport over the next five years.

Tim Lamb of the Sport and Recreation Alliance said the two hours a week target should be the "bare minimum", adding that despite many outstanding initiatives school sport was "an issue still in need of a great deal of attention".

"With recent reports stating that one in three children leaving primary school are either classed as obese or overweight, how many more startling figures about the health of the youngest section of our population do we need to hear before something is done?"

Shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg said: "Getting the next generation into the habit of staying physically active throughout their lives starts in our schools. As well as discovering the Olympic champions of the future, school sport can improve health, wellbeing and academic attainment."

He also said the government had scrapped the school sport survey to hide the damage its policies were doing to school sports and PE.

Clive Efford, the shadow sports minister, added that he would be canvassing views on a national sports strategy at a series of regional summits: "Following the Olympics and Paralympics there is a great deal of enthusiasm for sport, but we lack the structure to deliver this at community level."

A spokeswoman for Ofsted said that its schools inspectors did not look at every subject in detail "for this reason, Ofsted also carries out national curriculum subject surveys and publishes a range of triennial reports including those for PE".


More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 280.

    Labour have completely knackered this country. I can't help but laugh when they try and criticise other political parties.

  • rate this

    Comment number 279.

    4 Hours ago
    I notice the finishing tape is above the height of the youngsters running, Health and Safety or cost cutting?


    Or simply parallax from holding the camera below the level of the tape?

  • rate this

    Comment number 278.

    I try and deliver a range of sports in a small primary school - I run a football, basketball, cricket and rounders team (rotating throughout the year). It is not the lack of money, field or equipment that hampers me, but the lack of time. Constant government directives and OfSTED pressure means that these extra curricular 'luxuries' are being made nigh on impossible to fit into my day.

  • rate this

    Comment number 277.

    Tories largely then Labour sold off playing fields. All these sound bites from politicians who don't walk the talk, may be their not fit enough to walk.

  • rate this

    Comment number 276.

    School is suffering because:

    - too many exams and no time to practice or participate
    - schools start earlier and have shorter lunch times so practices do not happen
    - too many school meetings which have to be after school take PE teachers away from running sports and teams.
    - sports teams and sport does not appear on ofsted reports
    - ofsted would rather pupils could spell sport rather play it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 275.

    How dare labour even have the hypocrisy to raise this as an issue! It is labour who started selling playing fields. It was labour who introduced the concept of 'everyones a winner' along with their cheerleaders the NUT. It is labour that has been responsible for the loony teaching dogma that infests our teacher training universities. Labour & competitive sport do not mix & never have.

  • rate this

    Comment number 274.

    id like to see blair and brown in court and tried for treason,and brown also tried for incompetance, and fraud.

  • rate this

    Comment number 273.

    Why should they? At the end of the day, it is just there to massage the egos of those who are rubbish in most other academic areas of school. I'm not opposed to 1 hour a week, but if people want to do more it should be done outside school hours voluntarily.

  • rate this

    Comment number 272.

    Saving money by cutting allocated sports time and selling playfields is shortsighted and will be costly in the long run. Taxpayers money should be wisely invested in future generations for the gfood of the whole country.

  • rate this

    Comment number 271.

    All children should be made to do two or more lessons a week of physical education. 1 in 3 young kids are now classed as obese. We have to reverse this trend and physical exercise is one of the ways to achieve this. We also need to prosecute the parents of grossly overweight kids for child abuse.

  • rate this

    Comment number 270.

    Everything in this country is at risk.
    Because of Labour
    Their years in 'government' have left our country close to bankruptcy.
    Liars and spin and incompetance , Labour are disaster

  • rate this

    Comment number 269.

    Extra funding for something that forces some kids to do sport when they don't have the ability/aptitude is what bankrupted the country. Extra funding this, extra funding that, no wonder we have a £1tr deficit.
    I'm not cut out for any sport, team or individual. I like to have a kickabout in the park, or the occasional run, but I don't think it should be a priority at school.

  • rate this

    Comment number 268.

    Everything was at risk with Blair/Brown and his cronies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 267.

    Every thing is at rfisk with Cameron and his incompotent Cronies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 266.

    Sport should come naturally to any human being.
    No child should be deterred from sport. This is an issue of parent psychology not finance and not the "natural ability" of the child. Every parent should do their bit to take their children to a park from an early age.

  • rate this

    Comment number 265.

    Laputa - don't think my sarcasm came through stong enough. I know first and second hand that during the 2000's there has never been more competition than ever, because kids were exposed to more sports than ever before. This is from my experience and from my fathers who is now a retired pe teacher. The SSP's were the envy of the World, well done Gove you ruined an excellent but not perfect system

  • rate this

    Comment number 264.

    Yeah, right. So how many school playing fields were sold off under their government? They obviously hold us in the same contempt as they evidently deserve. 'Short term memory retention' , a fellow traveller with hypocrisy, both key elements in an election platform for 015.

  • rate this

    Comment number 263.

    240 Chrisk50
    "50 years ago we never had a problem with education...etc"

    I must agree with you.
    In High School my form was taught 15 or 16 separate subjects including PE and Games.
    And we even found time for morning hymns and prayers.
    I can`t understand people saying there is no room on the time table now for PE.

  • rate this

    Comment number 262.

    258. Mute Requiem
    This from liebore, who removed the spirit of competition from schools; where everyone was a winner.

    I thought this 'PC gone mad' myth had been laughed out of town during the Olympics. Competitive sport is alive and well in British schools. It always has been.

  • rate this

    Comment number 261.

    @258 - you and everyone else are so correct in this observation, every match I was part of ar school ended in a draw and every game based activity in lessons also always ended in a draw, there was never any winner or a loser even a sports day we had to hand out 8 gold medals as we had an 8 form entry. PLEASE!


Page 1 of 14


More Education & Family stories



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.