Cameron and Coe tackled on school sport funding

Cameron & Coe defend school sports funding

Funding for school sport has been a hot topic in recent years, with scrutiny becoming ever more intense in the wake of London 2012 and its promise to "inspire a generation".

Prime Minister David Cameron and Lord Coe - the London 2012 chief who is now the government's Olympic and Paralympic legacy ambassador - travelled to Millwall Rugby Club on 16 March to announce plans for £150m of funding for primary school sport.

School Reporters from Deptford Green School and Whitgift School joined the media pack in south London to put their questions to two very high-profile interviewees.


Q: When I was in primary school I did lots of sports but when I went to secondary school, there wasn't as much choice so I was forced to join clubs outside of school. So what are you doing for secondary schools? Oscar, Deptford Green School

A: With secondary schools we've got the School Games which makes a big difference. It gets kids from every school to take part in an annual Olympic Games as it were, so that is properly funded and already there.

But I also think that we have to recognise that it's primary schools where things weren't really happening fast enough so that's why the money today is going into primary schools and I think it will build people's enthusiasm so they get even more at secondary school.

Q: A lot of people are motivated in sport but some aren't, perhaps they don't like sport or they're disabled or they're bullied because they're not good at sport. I know how they feel because I was bullied for not being good at sport. How do you plan to motivate them? Jake, Deptford Green School

A: I think the best thing is to recognise that you need good teachers to teach sport - you can't expect everyone too be as enthusiastic as the most enthusiastic so that's what this announcement is about.

It's £150m going into primary schools - that's over £9,000 for a typical school and that means you'll have highly-qualified sports teachers teaching sport and working out how best to inspire those who perhaps need a bit more inspiration and need to find the right sport for them.

Q: The Olympics are long gone, so why is the fund raising only beginning now. David, Whitgift School

A: Well the Olympics only finished 20 weeks ago so I think that's pretty fast action.

We need to put in place all the bits of a proper legacy after post the Olympics. The Olympic Park is looking good and most of the venues have a proper use. And now this is one of the most important pieces of the jigsaw: proper funding for school sport.

It's money that goes to the school and has to be spent on sport and will be inspected on afterwards about how well it's spent. So you can always do things faster, but I think that within 20 weeks of the closing ceremony... that's not bad.

Q: Honestly and truthfully, will this scheme ensure a long-lasting legacy? Ramon, Whitgift School

A: I really think it will ensure a long-lasting legacy. In the end you can talk all you like and set all the targets you like about school sport, but you've got to have teachers that have got the passion to teach sport in our schools. This money can't be spent on anything else other than sport and it's enough to provide good sports teachers in all our schools.


Q: When I was in primary school I did lots of sports but when I went to secondary school, there wasn't as much choice so I was forced to join clubs outside of school. So what are you doing for secondary schools? Oscar, Deptford Green School

A: It's really important that you get as many opportunities as possible to play lots and lots of sports. In secondary schools there are opportunities now to pick up not just the big sports of rugby, football and athletics but many other sports. The great thing about the Olympic Games was the range of sports that were on offer and that's something that secondary schools are now able to offer.

Q: How can we ensure that big organisations like the FA and the RFU commit whole-heartedly to the scheme? David, Whitgift School

A: Look around you - this is a local rugby club and these are rugby coaches and volunteers. All the main federations have signed up to helping the primary school offer. I sat with the FA, the RFU, rugby league, track & field, tennis and swimming and they all want to support these schemes and that's the way it should be. They have the technical ability, the skills and the coaches to help primary schools understand the sporting landscape.

Q: Last year School Reporters from All Saints School in Stockton were concerned that the Olympic Games wouldn't stretch far enough in the North East of England. Did you fell that they stretched to other parts of the country? Ramon, Whitgift School

A: It was absolutely essential that these were a Olympic Games for the whole country. Seven years ago we were really clear about the need for this not to be a discussion about London, but the opportunity to drive legacy into communities across the country and in large part that's happened. 700,000 more people are now playing sport and they're not all doing in London, they're doing it around the country.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Don Valley Stadium was Jessica Ennis' main training base

Q: At Don Valley was a training centre where Jessica Ennis trained. It's been shut down - a lot of people looked up to her, so why has this happened? Jake, Deptford Green School

A: The leisure facility hasn't been shut down - they're looking to build a rugby union/league stadium and upgrade a track and field facility. I used to live in Sheffield so I know the area well. There are challenges absolutely but the plan is to build a purpose-built track and field facility about two or three miles away from Don Valley Stadium and as long as they do that I will support it.

Q: I've never been much of a sport person. The motto for the Olympic Games was 'inspire a generation' and it still didn't really inspire me. So what do you say to people like me? David, Whitgift School

A: I'm sorry the Olympic Games didn't inspire you. I think you're one of a very few people not to have been inspired. But there are many opportunities beyond sport.

We had a Cultural Olympiad and lots of young people were involved in the creative arts around the Olympics, many went into volunteering and many young people have gone back into volunteering having experienced that at the Games, so a lot of young people have been inspired. I hope you find something, not necessarily in sport, but something around the Olympic. Be inspired to work in your local community, it doesn't have to be in sport, it can be in many of the charities and other organisations who are helping at a community level.

Q: Something that I found interesting was that you spent a lot of money on stadiums for the Olympics but after the Games, they seemed to be shut down, not used or sold to the highest bidder and you don't really see where that money goes... Jake, Deptford Green School

A: No, that's not true, The Olympic Stadium is going to have a big community use; swimming in the Olympic Park is now going to be available to community-based organisations and it was actually Newham Swimming Club that used the pool first.

All those facilities are going to have community use to them. The track and field facility is going to have local schools that are going to be able to use it and it's really important that those facilities do remain open to the community - which they will be.

More on this story