School competitive team sports move unveiled

Children running on an athletics track Questions have been asked about how to harness the enthusiasm created from the Olympic Games

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Competitive team sports will be made compulsory for all primary school children in England, Prime Minister David Cameron has said.

A draft new curriculum this autumn would require participation in sports such as football, hockey and netball.

Mr Cameron has been urged to set out how he intends to secure a sporting legacy from the London 2012 Olympics.

Labour leader Ed Miliband has called on political parties to work together on a 10-year plan to boost sports activity.

'Recognisable sports'

The prime minister has pointed to a £1bn fund for youth sport, but the government has been criticised for scrapping a target of two hours physical education a week for school children.

London Mayor Boris Johnson has called for two hours a day of compulsory sport.

Start Quote

Now the London Olympics has been a great success, we need to use the inspiration of the Games to get children playing sport more regularly”

End Quote David Cameron Prime Minister

Mr Cameron said earlier this week schools often saw the two-hour target as a maximum and told the BBC that Indian dance was being counted as physical education.

On Saturday he said the national curriculum for primary schools in England would be rewritten with an explicit reference to competitive team sports.

The new curriculum will make it compulsory to take part in "recognised and recognisable sports" and will set out requirements for "team outdoor and adventurous activity".

Mr Cameron said: "The idea of an Olympics legacy has been built into the DNA of London 2012 from the very beginning.

"Now the London Olympics has been a great success, we need to use the inspiration of the Games to get children playing sport more regularly."

'Pursue dreams'

He added: "I want to use the example of competitive sport at the Olympics to lead a revival of competitive sport in primary schools.

"We need to end the 'all must have prizes' culture and get children playing and enjoying competitive sports from a young age, linking them up with sports clubs so they can pursue their dreams.

"That's why the new national curriculum in the autumn will include a requirement for primary schools to provide competitive sport."

But Philip Collins, a former speech writer for Tony Blair, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme Mr Cameron's analysis was "about 20 years out of date" and the plans were "effectively reinstating" the Schools Sports Partnership programme - set up by Labour, and cut by the Tories in 2010.

He went on to say playing competitive sport for a school was "intrinsically exclusive" and it was "perfectly sensible to have lots of other physical activities for children who loathed PE".

Damian Hinds, Conservative MP for East Hampshire, said competitive sport taught children "the power of a team, pushing yourself, and learning that life involves losing some things as well as winning".

Under the last government, only two in five children took part in competitive sports within schools, with one in five regularly taking part in competitive sport with other schools, he added.

The National Association of Head Teachers has called for further investment in a wide range of school sports.

But it said the government should not seek to dictate the specific games that are played.

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the head teachers' union, said: "London 2012 has drawn the nation's attention to the sheer breadth of sports on offer and an enduring legacy would be to see the government promote these, thereby ensuring children enjoy participating at every level. The message is diversity."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 340.

    Would anyone please care to comment on my previous comment @335.

    THANK YOU xxx

  • rate this

    Comment number 339.

    So playing competiitve football or netball at primary school is going to produce a conveyor belt of future olympic champions?

    We need the facilities and coaches across a broad spectrum of sports to be readily accessible to children to introduce them to various sports and to coach them how to perform in those sports - that will however cost a lot of money!

  • rate this

    Comment number 338.

    The way to encourage more quality athletes, and wider general participation is not through schools but through local clubs who are run by enthusiasts who are knowledgeable about their sport. This would also encourage a diversity of opportunity, rather than a one-size fits all of football, netball and hockey. Our Olympians did not develop their talent at school but were brought on by their clubs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 337.

    Oh dear - the amiable buffoon spouts a logistical nonsense: there are not enough hours in a school day to get a goodly amount of education, let alone 10 hrs of PT a week.
    And DC, ever one to jump on a bandwagon, comes up with equally risible suggestions.
    Perhaps 2 one hr sessions per week & provide greenspace back to schools - as was, before money grubbers sold off our playing/sports fields.

  • rate this

    Comment number 336.

    How dare the government force competitive team sports on kids. Not everyone enjoys sport, there will be many cases where kids are being bullied by teachers to participate in sporting activites they dislike and then being bullied by kids for being crap. There are other fitness actvities that can help kids remain fit and healthy, give them a choice! PE teachers need to diffrentiate 2 learner needs

  • rate this

    Comment number 335.

    Hold on one second, the Olympics aren’t even over and the Britishness has already gone out of it, what the hell, it’s not just English schools that the PM’s message and policy should be aimed at. It must go across the educational boarders into Wales, Scotland and across the Celtic sea to Northern Ireland as well, so the legacy of the games is that sport is for all, and were better together.

  • rate this

    Comment number 334.

    Another knee jerk reaction from OOT politicians!
    Liebour for 14 years,continued ruining education,selling off playgrounds and football fields,and now ooh Olympics so we must do something.
    Politicians should STUDY who has won the medals.
    Committed individuals who do not sponge off others but work HARD to ATTAIN.
    Try inculcating excellenceabandon PC tosh and people will do the rest! Without govthelp

  • rate this

    Comment number 333.

    So, the Tory party - seeming just a few short years ago to be so much against nanny statism and an interfering government - gave us olympic lanes; will now tell schools how to administer sports, introduce fixed pricing for alcohol and plain packs for cigarettes. Surely their stance against needless interfering state legislation was not just about less regulation for their wealthy corporate donors?

  • rate this

    Comment number 332.

    Well done team GB. Now back to the real world.

  • rate this

    Comment number 331.

    Interesting that at the same time Cameron is saying there should be competitive team sports at primary school The Football Association is going in for Child friendly football so under 11 will not be able to play league football

  • rate this

    Comment number 330.

    Cameron is an opportunist just like Boris. Did they not here what the best all round athlete in the world said the other day Jessica Ennis that we don't need is competitive sport in schools but to include as many students as possible not like in the seventies and eighties - what did we win then that compares to now - the set up now delivered us into third in the table.Boris/DC stop talking rubbish

  • rate this

    Comment number 329.

    the Govt or Any adult has no authority to force Children to play Sports. No one likes playing sports in a School Environment and all the hassle of bringing your PE kit.Should invest in out of school clubs.
    typical Tory authoritarian approach.

  • rate this

    Comment number 328.

    Having spoken to a former primary school teacher about this, sports was already part of the national curriculum when they last taught (2010) As sports are competitive by their nature, surely this is an empty policy or are they simply re-instating what they took away...what the rest of us would call a U turn, as opposed to a fantastic new policy 'securing the legacy of the olympics'?
    Spin master?

  • rate this

    Comment number 327.

    When are you going to learn: you can never trust a parliamentarian. They say what ever they think will put them in a good light with the electorate. But, do they ever keep the promises? Have not heard any yet that have been kept. Just talk and no do. Forked tongues comes to mind!

  • rate this

    Comment number 326.


    Keep polics out of sport and stop bullying children who dont like sport! concentrate on sorting out the criminal legacy of 13 years of Labour govenment

    Oh right and no criminal legacy ever happened in the Thatcher years then ? Shall we start a list ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 325.

    hoorah don't worry about the lack of primary school places, the lessons in portakabins the lack of sen provision the primary schools with no sports field. undersized gym and or playground, no music program.

    dc has spoken to go and gove is on the case, open a free school in a derlict shop

    this is 3 tier not two. Oliver twist is the new urban reality.

  • rate this

    Comment number 324.

    I thought a couple of weeks ago one Tory mp was wanting to sell of school fields. Now David C is saying he wants to see more competitive sports which Im guessing requires an area of ground to do it on? I also remember PE being competitive when I was at school, hence why I was the last one chosen for football virtually every week. I now do Archery, never got that at school!

  • rate this

    Comment number 323.

    If inspecting sporting provision and PE becomes a key area of Ofsted inspections, or there is a PE test that all 11 year olds have to do which will then be used to judge how good a school is, then schools will have no option by to go this idea of Cameron's - just like schools have to jump through the current hoops that are put in front of them (hoop jumping - could that be an Olympic sport?!).

  • rate this

    Comment number 322.

    So Chris, you have worked with 'the majority of primary school teachers' then? All in the space of 4 years. That's quite an achievement!

  • rate this

    Comment number 321.

    303 character building - what kind of character; a dismayed depressed sad one who hates going to school - marvellous idea. Having to do something you hate every day, day after day, year after year with no possibility of getting out of the trap. Yes we sometimes have to do things we don't enjoy but there is usually a choice a way of finding our way to a better life in less than 12 years.


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