Boris Johnson urges two hours of PE a day

David Cameron and Boris Johnson at the Olympic stadium Mr Johnson said widening participation in sport after the Games was of "profound" importance.

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School children should be made to do two hours of sport a day as part of the Olympic legacy, Boris Johnson has said.

The London mayor wants to build on the public's renewed appetite for sport, adding it would be "wonderful for kids across this country".

The coalition has been criticised for removing the requirement that schools in England provide pupils with at least two hours of sport a week.

But it has pledged £1bn investment in school sports in the next few years.

Labour has called for the two-hour-a-week target to be re-introduced and a cross-party 10-year school sports plan agreed to ensure a grass-roots legacy for the Games.

Speaking at a press conference on the Olympic legacy, Mr Johnson said: "The government totally understands people's appetite for this, they can see the benefits of sport and what it does for young people.

"They understand very, very clearly the social and economic advantages.

"I would like to see, frankly, the kind of regime I used to enjoy - compulsory two hours' sport every day.

"I've no doubt that is the sort of thing that would be wonderful for kids across this country.

"It is of profound importance for the happiness and success of this country that we have more sport in schools."

'Life changing'

Dame Tessa Jowell - Culture Secretary at the time London won the Olympic bid - told BBC Radio 4's Today programme she wanted "a very clear agreement that a chunk of time every week" would be set aside for children to play sports.

Start Quote

It's about culture, it's about empowering teachers, empowering heads and getting an ethos inside schools”

End Quote Jeremy Hunt Culture Secretary

She also urged all parties to sign up to a 10-year school sports plan, stretching beyond the next general election, to ensure stability.

"We promised in Singapore, when we won the bid, that we would inspire a generation and that would be creating sport as part of every child's life; life changing and something we'd never done before in that concerted way.

"One of the reasons the Olympics has been so successful, I think, is that in their planning and execution all the parties have worked together in the national interest and built a national consensus about how to deliver the Olympics.

"I think that sense of unity of purpose should be applied to delivering this legacy."

'Bottling the spirit'

The Department for Education allocates funding for school sports provision in England, while the devolved administrations take on the responsibility in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

In 2010 the government faced criticism from teachers and athletes when it cut funding for the Schools Sports Partnership programme - set up by Labour.

The programme supported joint initiatives between primary, secondary and specialist state schools designed to increase sporting opportunities for children, but ministers argued it had done too little to increase young people's involvement in competitive sports.

Downing Street said the government was committed to ensuring the Games had a lasting legacy and was spending £1bn on a five-year youth sports strategy.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the Olympics was inspiring millions of young people but insisted targets in education "don't always get you the results that you want".

He told BBC Radio 4's World At One: "It's about culture, it's about empowering teachers, empowering heads and getting an ethos inside schools, and particularly when it comes to sport it's about an understanding of the role of competitive sport, of team sport, and the values that can give to young people."

The government would be bringing forward plans to make sure more young people take part in competitive sport, Mr Hunt added.

But shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg accused the government of being "out of touch" on school sport by not backing the two-hour target.

"Everyone who loves sport agrees we need to ensure pupils get enough hours of PE every week," he said.

Discussing the legacy of the Olympics, on BBC Radio 2, Prime Minister David Cameron said "bottling" the volunteering spirit demonstrated by those working across the Olympic venues was also "vital".

Both Mr Cameron and Ms Jowell said they hoped the volunteers would get involved in a new charity Join in Local Sport which is helping thousands of clubs and community groups throw open their doors to "capture the enthusiasm" for sport after the Olympics.

Mr Cameron also said it was important the UK maintained its system of funding and support for elite sports and praised the "very tough" conditions set by UK Sport - the organisation responsible for investing government money in Britain's top performers.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 273.

    Boris is right. It should be pointed out that, despite a big tally of medals, we may not be as fit as we think. 31 of them, so far, have been won in sitting-down sports (riding horses and boating etc). More emphasis must now be placed on running and jumping if we are to get our kids truly fit.

  • rate this

    Comment number 272.

    There should a be a zip wire in every high school in the land!

  • rate this

    Comment number 271.

    You are to be commended rock - I often see grandparents parking up 30 - 40 mins before school finishes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 270.

    It would be nice if the kids of today could play 2hrs of sport a day. However, successive governments have sold off school fields for housing. Made it so if little Jonny celebrates a win he is told not to because he might upset those who have come 2nd or 3rd.
    Stop the sell off of the fields for starters. Educate kids that it's fine to come 2nd, 3rd etc. you might get more children interested.

  • rate this

    Comment number 269.

    I can safely say that this would have been my idea of hell. I was an enthusiastic kid in school. I got As in all of my other subjects ... But I used to get As for effort and Ds for attainment in sport. No amount of trying hard, practising and putting effort in would improve me. Two hours of sport per week was ritual humiliation. Two hours per day would have driven me to truanting.

  • rate this

    Comment number 268.

    Run or bike to School every day and at an earlier age parents, guardian or minder can go with them. Of course it will be a parental judgement what is reasonable distance. I positively refuse whatever the weather to pick up my Grand Children in the car, no matter what the weather. It is a 35 minute walk, at first tantrums but now it is habit.

  • rate this

    Comment number 267.

    For those with no interest in sport the only characteristic competitive sport creates is resentment. What we need is for kids to find a sport they enjoy at a level they enjoy that keeps them reasonably fit. But that requires flexibility and resources which is much more expensive than having 180 kids running around chasing footballs which is about the level of PE at most comprehensive schools

  • rate this

    Comment number 266.

    A bigger emphasis on sports in schools is great. But 2 hours a day? For every pupil in a school? I went to a comp that was lucky enough to have very large fields, but only two indoor gyms. So when it's the depths of winter how could 1500 pupils each get two hours? Overkill Boris, overkill.

  • rate this

    Comment number 265.

    More middle and upper class people commenting on something they are complete clueless about. If Boris actual had something relevant to say and not political rhetoric, he would ask why do state schools only concentrate on Rugby and Football and not other sports. Probably because independent schools have all the facilities and Coaches for these sports.

  • rate this

    Comment number 264.

    Tell you what Boris, you do 2 hours of PE for a year, and when you've lost your weight then you can suggest that our children should do more.

  • rate this

    Comment number 263.

    probably not long enough sport can help people focus.

  • rate this

    Comment number 262.

    What we need is longer "play" breaks in schools, more green fields and a better selection of sporting paraphernalia for kids to use. Perhaps then we can beat the buldge and lead the way as a nation of healthy individuals.

  • rate this

    Comment number 261.

    How about Jeremy Richard Streynsham Hunt or
    Frances Anthony Alymer Maude.... make more sense if it was Elmer..mind you, he's not dumb enough top store petrol in the house...

    One instinctively knows that the conservatives are the peoples' party.What ho Gideon.

  • rate this

    Comment number 260.

    Boris Johnson, in another item today, is a self-described 'prat' yet implicitly bases this assertion on the supposition that 2 hours of PE per day 'never did him any harm'.

    Quod Erat Demonstrandum QED

    More seriously - 2 hours PE would be sheer hell for many and at best a distraction. The rebalancing of the economy and balance of trade (also today) won't be done by reducing STEM subjects and 3Rs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 259.

    But it has pledged £1bn investment in school sports in the next few years.

    The £12 Billion spent on the Olympics.
    He said that, during his initial treatment after his injury, the MoD - which was directly responsible for his care at that stage - had originally issued him with a white arm. Mr McBean is black.
    Where's the promised care and help for VETERANS [now also a LAW]?

  • rate this

    Comment number 258.

    Well Boris, how are we going to fit all this into the school day? Tell you what lets have less Maths, English and Science but enable all our children to be able to jump over fences and run quickly, should be useful when they are out robbing as there are no jobs! We need people who can actually do things that are useful in society and help to put our economy back on track don't we?

  • rate this

    Comment number 257.

    I'm a sportsman, but 2 hours a day is unrealistic. If the aim is to prevent fat gain this can be achieved by a much shorter duration of exercise, provided the commitment to the intensity is there.

    The solution to Britain's obesity problem is in EDUCATION about diet and the effects of exercise, not simply fooling people that exercise is a path to health.

  • rate this

    Comment number 256.

    Yet another grandstand statement. All talk and no substance. I also find it insulting to hear this statement after the co-government made it non-compulsory for schools to have 2hrs PE a week. Why are we listening to ministers? How many of them have been involved in education (beyond attending)? I want an ex teacher with some experience in the Secretary of State for Education.

  • rate this

    Comment number 255.

    @248.Darren Shepperd

    You clearly don't know your first two Rs.

    Trying to read your comment makes my head hurt....

  • rate this

    Comment number 254.


    That prizes for all guff is why the left are whinging about some of the gold medallists being privately educated - get taught in a state comp and its this bloody stupid "prizes for all and no losers" cack. It doesnt work.


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