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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  • rate this

    Comment number 548.

    I agree that the Olympics are a credit to the Country and an inspitation to young people but please do not overlook the importance of the Arts. Every child should be encouraged to enjoy sport but not all will excell. The cost of the Olympics has taken so much funding from the Arts. What would the opening ceremony have been without music! Lets give all our children a chance to excell at something.

  • rate this

    Comment number 547.

    Look at the sports that we have won in - most of them have been one person doing their thing, or at best a team of 3 or 4 riding bikes or rowing a boat. I don't think we've won any of the traditional "school sports" like football or hockey. If kids are inspired by these Games, it is to join their local club that does their chosen sport, not to run round a playing field!

  • rate this

    Comment number 546.

    537 SL1000
    Agreed,as deep throat said "just follow the money" !
    Obviously we should do our best but it doesn't matter what your politics are,no party will ever be able to match the spend £per head in most private schools,simple!

  • rate this

    Comment number 545.

    cultural changes, like evolution, are very slow, accumulative and unpredictable .
    cultural change to a tory voter or current PM is an oximoron.

  • rate this

    Comment number 544.

    Only four more days of this stuff!

  • rate this

    Comment number 543.

    .. right mindset for their school sports day, "Pain is temporary, Failure is for ever.. Remember second is the first of the loosers ."

    Those are not the right mindset! You should be looking at "trying your best, striving to improve, taking part and enjoying your successes."
    There is no shame in second, if it is your best.
    By the way - learn to spell "loser".

  • rate this

    Comment number 542.

    Cameron will say anything to deflect any review of the economy

  • rate this

    Comment number 541.

    The answer doesn't lie in PE. I, like many of my geek chums, despised "games" with a passion.

    Most of us now are well rounded, healthy individuals with careers in varying degrees of success, unlike many of my PE obsessed school chums.

    The problem Dave is trying to fix here is one of lifestyle, culture and work ethic. You don't fix that playing rounders.

  • rate this

    Comment number 540.

    Astonishing! David Cameron, Minister for the bleedin' obvious. Years of selling off school playing fields, hand-wringing liberals taking away a sense of achievement in winning as there can't be any losers, and now David Cameron wants to score some political points off the back of our fantastic atheletes who have achieved so much despite the likes of Cameron and those before him.

  • rate this

    Comment number 539.

    Hooray well said Mr Cameron. And whilst your there, lets make sure school sports days aren't cancelled because of a slight amount of rain!!!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 538.

    Wasn't it a previous Conservative government which started to permit schools to sell off school playing fields?
    Both leading political parties are responsible for the decay in sports within our schools, and should look at resolving it, rather than proportioning the "blame" to teachers/political opponents.
    £1 billion over 4 years will probably not be enough to cover 30 years of neglect.

  • rate this

    Comment number 537.

    Some simple maths for our idiot PM:

    1 billion over 4 years = 250 million/yr
    5.5 million school age children, (2001 census)
    = £45/child/yr on sport provision in state schools

    I wonder what the sports budget is at Eton or Millfield?

  • rate this

    Comment number 536.

    As a nation, we have done extremely well at the Olympic games during this series. To me, that says there is no problem that needs to be fixed here. There is no need for cultural change as the culture is working fine.

    I would rather Cameron concentrate on getting the economy back on track. That is a problem that affects millions.

  • rate this

    Comment number 535.

    519. turfs
    "A girl was telling me that at her son's school they don't have competitive games as they don't want the kids to be upset if they lose. I was stunned"
    You must have been walking round in a stupor for about 10 years then!
    That urban myth was laid to rest aeons ago along with banned nursery rhymes and not celebrating christmas.
    Or are you really Michael Gove?

  • rate this

    Comment number 534.

    3 Hours ago

    So now the government wants to push sport? How about they invest in it as well!! Cant they remember how some athletes who went to Beijing had to raise funds themselves!!"

    There was the New Labour government in 2008.

  • rate this

    Comment number 533.

    Oh, hang on Mr Cameron, look here comes a bandwagon - why not jump on it?

    Before speaking this kind of guff why not actually get back some of OUR money from the banks to fund it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 532.

    Counting up medals in a league table cheapens the Olympics and reduces the achievements of the athletes. One does not win the Olympics.

  • rate this

    Comment number 531.

    This news is enough to make the sane among us go ballistic!!

    They cut the funding for secondary schools and then blame them for not being competitive enough in activities which do not matter!

    The poorest in the country need encouragement to become involved in activities that will allow them to buy food. They do NOT need a silver spoon Eton mess spouting even more garbage

  • rate this

    Comment number 530.

    In my neoghbourhood most children has difficulty in doing basic things like stringing a sentence of English, walking on the pavemnet, eating with their mouth closed, sitting on a chair and much more. So no amount of funding will help them seeing as their parents have not taught them the basics....

  • rate this

    Comment number 529.

    .Dan Brown
    For some kids, coming 8th is a major achievement. They may never come first, but perhaps they came 10th last week? Or maybe it took them 5 minutes to come 8th last week, and only 4 min 50 this week?
    I've learned from my own running that competition is often most encouraging when you focus on improving your own performance.


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