Olympics: Cameron urges school sport 'cultural change'

David Cameron and Amir Khan David Cameron and Amir Khan watch boxer Nicola Adams winning her fight

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There needs to be "a big cultural change" towards sport in schools if Britain is to capitalise on Team GB's Olympic wins, David Cameron has said.

The PM called for a more "competitive ethos". Teachers said he was "shifting blame" for problems caused by cuts.

Later the BOA said 800 Olympic and Paralympic athletes would take part in a parade in London on 10 September.

Team GB have 22 gold medals, their best haul since 1908, but medal hopes in the individual showjumping were dashed.

All Team GB's Olympic and Paralympic athletes are due to parade from the City's Mansion House to the Victoria Memorial in front of Buckingham Palace the day after the Paralympics ends.

BOA chief executive Andy Hunt, asked why it was taking place on a school day, said: "We are trying to find a day that would work for everybody, to bring together what might be over 850 athletes, and then all of the other support staff, and make that happen across the both the Paralympic and Olympic teams was pretty challenging."

Sitting beside former Olympic silver medallist Amir Khan, Mr Cameron watched as Britain's Nicola Adams made her way into the flyweight final of the women's boxing.

GB's Adams into gold-medal bout

Adams, from Leeds, beat India's Mary Kom and is on course for at least a silver medal.

But she said afterwards: "I want that gold. Words can't express how much I want it. To get that for Great Britain, that would just mean the world to me."

It is the first time women's boxing has been included in the Olympics.

In other developments:

Speaking to LBC Radio after criticism of the government for approving the sale of 21 school playing fields, Mr Cameron said £1bn was being invested in school sports over the next four years.

But he added that more needed to be done to build a sporting legacy for British children.

"We need a big cultural change - a cultural change in favour of competitive sports," he said.

"The problem has been too many schools not wanting to have competitive sport, some teachers not wanting to join in and play their part."

But the general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, Christine Blower, said suggestions that teachers were letting the side down was "ludicrous".

"What we need is the support of government, not the shifting of blame," she said. "It's not because of teachers that funding for the School Sport Partnership has been so drastically reduced. Nor is it down to teachers that playing fields are being sold off, despite election promises."

Shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg has also criticised the government's decision to end the target of pupils doing two hours of sport a week, saying support structures needed to be place "at the grassroots" to "inspire the next generation".

Olympics coverage online

Olympics images

Labour leader Ed Miliband said Britain needed to keep hold of "Olympic spirit" and the government had to do "a lot of thinking" about how it could make good on the promise the Olympics had given young people.

Olympics minister Hugh Robertson has said he is "pretty confident" sports funding can be maintained at the current level. He said elite sport was his priority, but that could not be guaranteed and "hard decisions" must be taken.

BOA chairman Colin Moynihan said: "Nobody is suggesting for a moment that every child wants to play competitive sport, that would be inaccurate. But there are hundreds of thousands of children who would love to take the inspiration they've got from either watching these Games or learning about them, they'd just love to translate that into the opportunity."

In showjumping on Wednesday, British trio Scott Brash, Ben Maher and Nick Skelton - fresh from their team title - missed out on the individual gold medal, which was won by Switzerland's Steve Guerdat.

Meanwhile London 2012 officials are refusing to confirm announcements from Muse and George Michael that they will take part in Sunday's closing ceremony.


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  • Comment number 328.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 327.

    291. armia,
    presume you either have a bad or selective memory as I think you'll find it was Thatcher's government that initiated the selling of school playing fields!

  • rate this

    Comment number 326.

    I think the point he is trying to make is that in a lot of schools the idea of "competition" has become anathema to them. Some schools in my area as an example they dont have a sports day becasue if you have winners you have to have loosers which is considered wrong. Too much effort is spent trying to keep everyone equal in all things and its just idiotic. I excel in A, you excel in B. thats lfe

  • rate this

    Comment number 325.

    The Olympics is a big distraction the country can ill afford, this is a smoke screen for what is really going off in the country. Labour started it and the other two followed on, they are all con merchants. We should be looking after grass root sport that benefits the nation as a whole, not the sporting elite.

  • rate this

    Comment number 324.

    Our school is desperately underfunded.. has excess fields and could sell some off - still have plenty and use the money to pay for excellent sporting facilities. The problem is - that the WHOLE school is underfunded. So having staff to teach the children will no doubt take precedent over equipment for any subject area. Get rid of Gove - that would save enough money to fund school sport! ha

  • rate this

    Comment number 323.

    When will people realize that only so much can be done in a school day? Every time a 'not achieving enough' hits the headlines, there are voices calling for more to be done in schools. Get it right, and start to channel our budding athletes, scientists, mathematicians and other groups with special talent, into a system which allows them to focus on their abilities, - not Jacks of all Trades.

  • rate this

    Comment number 322.


    "There are so many idiotic people on these boards. It's nothing to do with lack of funding why British people don't become Olympians! Otherwise most people from poorer countries like Brazil, China and Africa would never complete!"

    True for sports like long-distance running, but not true for sports where you need to own expensive things like a horse or a boat.

  • rate this

    Comment number 321.

    Isn't it stange, decade after decade of the incompetent politicans, bankers and fatcats, have us deeper and deeper into despair, a few days with our hard working sportsment have us in good spirits. Surprising where hard graft, loyalty and teamwork can get you. Pity only the sportspeople can get it right.

  • rate this

    Comment number 320.

    I wonder how the idiots who came up with this non competitive strategy in school sports, where everyone wins a prize, are feeling now. Sorry no prizes for guessing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 319.

    Not many people can become elite athletes but everyone can exercise to keep fit, even if they can't catch a ball to save their life.
    Less able kids get sidelined and humiliated in PE, a negative association that puts them off exercise.
    There should be balance between competitive sports and non-competitive fitness activities that the less able may stick with after leaving education

  • rate this

    Comment number 318.

    309. Brigusser. The Labour Party brought in the Comprehensive school system and that's where the decline began. An affluent Comp up the road from me banned competitive sport because it damaged children's development and self-esteem - winner/loser. Instead of people excelling, lets just handicap those with potential so that they'll achieve nothing more than the avg. eh?. & this school isn't unique

  • rate this

    Comment number 317.

    I like the way you illustrate school sport by showing some rowers and a posh bloke on a horse

  • rate this

    Comment number 316.

    As always everyone failing to see the real reason. The reason for public/private school gap is the risk associated with devoting your life to become a professional athlete. A rich person(private school) can afford to take the risk. If they dont succeed they have family money to either live or pursue another career later. Someone with no family capital will pursue a less risky path: Degree/Work

  • rate this

    Comment number 315.

    Let's not confuse growing world class athletes with keeping kids fit. There should be a sport curriculum and a separate fitness curriculum. The former should feed directly into local athletic clubs, which in turn should feed into national sport bodies. It gives more focus to those with potential and alleviates years of torture for those who just need to stay healthy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 314.

    "Get rid if politally correct teachers and encourage competition."

    Because you'd prefer politically incorrect teachers? I'd have thought that teachers being racially/sexually/culturally offensive would be a bad thing. Or perhaps you preferred the good old days when teachers would call the black kids the "n" word? I bet you loved those days.

  • rate this

    Comment number 313.


    100,000 signatures for it to be considered for commons debate. Action without leaving your armchair.

  • rate this

    Comment number 312.

    1980s funding for schools was cut but they were given the option to raise money by selling school sports fields. 10,000+ fields were lost until it was stopped in 1998 & even then a further 300+ were lost. 50% of the current medals come from privately educated people. Many events we've been successful in involves the purchase/maintenance of expensive equipment. State schools can afford them?

  • Comment number 311.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 310.

    @ rob 269

    I think you will find Labour sold 203 playing fields

  • rate this

    Comment number 309.

    That's rich coming from the leader of the party that created the situation where school playing fields are sold for development! The typical Tory ethos is to underfund the state sector knowing the children of their core toff support will get good sporting facailities at the "public" schools they attend thereby continuing the trend that far too many of our athletes come from priviliged backgrounds!


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