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 568.

    The real issue here is that a lot of kids are unhealthy, not that Britain needs to get more medals (sure its nice to feel patriotic every 4 years, but there are bigger issues). We need to think about how to involve more children in sport from an early age. The 'competitive ethos' that the PM is striving for will only discourage the majority of kids from sport as they will feel inadequate.

  • rate this

    Comment number 567.

    Dressage - sport for everyone...

    well, if you're loaded with chums in buck house and downing street.

    Allow me to let out a huge 'Guffaw'. :)

  • rate this

    Comment number 566.

    I love the fact that politicians like Cameron laud school sport on the one hand (all of a sudden), whilst enacting endless Health & Safety restrictions on the other.

    Meanwhile, those responsible for school sport proceed in fear of civil lawsuits and the injury compensation lobby, who in turn slobber at the though of all the £££ to be made.

  • rate this

    Comment number 565.

    Our budding as well as existing champion athletes always need help with facilities and costs - which can be major barriers to their development. As we are retaining a lot of the sports facilities as legacies of the 2012 Olympics, why not also retain some of the competitors housing for these people and give it free or at low cost so that they have a 'sporting' chance.

  • rate this

    Comment number 564.

    If the government really wanted to help sport as well as the economy - then surely it should put the money it gave the banks (quantitative easing) into sport directly in this country?

    The money would get spent and so stimulate the wider economy whilst directly aiding a sector the govt says it wants to see improve.

    Think differently DC, if you want different results

  • rate this

    Comment number 563.

    Never in a million years are schools going to support the sort of sports we traditionally excel in. How many state schools have velodromes or sailing facilities? If you want to encourage competitive sports then you should encourage sports clubs. Rebecca Adlington was (is?) a member of Nova Centurions swimming club- this is council funded and encourages inter-club competition events.

  • rate this

    Comment number 562.

    What planet is this government on?!

    I'm so proud of what our nation has demonstrated this week, but it's tinged with the bitterness that most of these sports aren't available to the majority who would like to try. Many of these sports are merely for the well-heeled. Would have loved to try shooting, archery, horse sports - but couldn't even get into a local tennis group!

  • rate this

    Comment number 561.

    There's no way to capitalise on British people winning medals. Only a few can ever win a medal in the Olympics, and you may as well tell people to try to win a million on the lottery since more do at each year than win a medal.

    Less spending on elite sports, more on just keeping people fit and not obese which will cost billions in decades to come. Or we will the fat majority watching the elite

  • rate this

    Comment number 560.

    Do we need an Economyics?

  • rate this

    Comment number 559.

    Schools don't close sports facilities for no good reason, it's usually a money problem. If the Govt. would put the money back into the schools that was meant to be there in the first place, they would have the facilities for the kids to play in.
    Isn't it interesting how the Govt. can always say "we don't control things on a local level", so they have an excuse when their policies go wrong.

  • rate this

    Comment number 558.

    "The top 10 people at Barclays will walk away with £25MM in bonuses this year alone. Result - sense of entitlement, questionable 'talent', international disgrace, a nation on its knees.

    I'm clear in my mind who inspires me. I hope politicians are too."

    The bikers problem - the don't "donate".............

  • rate this

    Comment number 557.

    What an utter idiot this an is. He wants schools to be more involved with encouraging kids to be involved in sports, whilst cutting the money involved in paying for it. If he were to stop giving the EU £53m a day, there would be plenty of money to put into sports. But he won't do that. He wants to have a job on the commission when he is kicked of parliament in 2015.

  • rate this

    Comment number 556.

    "Olympic gold medal winning is for losers....!"

    That's a desparate troll.

    Athletes must train super hard and make incredible sacrifices, but coming from your perspective of lying on a couch, you have absolutely no idea what that means.

  • rate this

    Comment number 555.

    Yes, please increase taxes and borrowing so all the kids can drop academic subjects and play sports !

  • rate this

    Comment number 554.

    @537.SL1000, you're making a fundamental mistake, assuming a school has 1000 pupils, that would be 45,000/year which would pay for a full time sports teacher, and around £15-20K/year for equipment. Start by getting Gym Equipment (Pommel horse, beam, Mats etc), Badminton nets, Basketballs, footballs, and netballs. All can easily be put out in a hall so no need for fields.

  • rate this

    Comment number 553.

    Another day another dig at Teachers.
    I'm surprised we have any left given the constant ideological sniping by Cameron and twerp-of-the-year Gove.

  • rate this

    Comment number 552.

    The only thing we can be certain of is whatever happens, the government will use money wastefully and bureaucratically whether they invest in sport or not.

    If they do invest in sport, it will be poorly managed, probably by a organisations like TicketMaster (Olympic Tickets), ATOS (health screening), or A4E (job training). The track record shows this can be expected.

  • rate this

    Comment number 551.

    Why is it the winning ethos in independent schools seems to be shining through and state schools seem to have so many people posting on this board saying they hated sport?
    Surely it cannot be entirely down to facilities.
    I went to a state school. I used to love cross country, running on pavements and across some parks. I had a great teacher who inspired me. Is that what is missing here?

  • rate this

    Comment number 550.

    Another brilliant example of "double speak" by the govt. Say what is required but act differently. So Mr Cameron yre now going to stop forcing councils to sell off sports fields are you?

  • rate this

    Comment number 549.

    I agree with encouraging sports in schools, however my sons secondary school isn't exactly encouraging swimmers as they have just closed the school pool due to cut backs in spending.


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