Need for Co-ordinated Campaign for School Sport

Posted: Mon, 06 Aug 2012 09:41

School Sport Campaign

Our success in the Olympics is widely welcomed. Whilst there is a throught provoking blog on whether we should be funding our Gold medal tally through the taxpayer elsewhere on this site the challenge of school sport has raised its legacy head again.

We raised this subject before the Games started and we are delighted by the amount of interest the spotlight of the Olympics has once again thrown on the Gove cuts to school sport. Those cuts make it almost impossible for the government to claim a legacy when so many children will be denied an opportunity to take part in PE & Sport at school.

Lord Moynihan raised the issue of the percentage of medalists from Indpeendent schools as a proportion of the population last week. This is an issue but needs to be kept in context. It doesn't take a genius to realise if you provide the best coaching and facilities to a small group of people from an early age in small groups they will do well. Our challenge is not to deplore the state sector for 'failing' but to enable them to raise their standards to an equal level through the right investment. It is also a bit difficult to hear Moynihan without understanding his and the BOA role in the school cuts debate - as it's alleged they were encouraging cuts to the YST whilst promoting themselves and the Olympic style games.. All based on a limited understanding of the state education system and a belief the independent schools should step in. Independent schools are good at what they do. Teaching small groups of students who have paid a small fortune to be there with the best facilities paid from those fees and the charitable status they enjoy. No independent Head I know believes seriously that they could teach an inner city Head teacher anything about running an inner city school.

So we are left with a great deal of interest in rebuilding our school PE & sport system. We don't need to rehearse all the elements of what we need to create but there are a few key points to make at this stage.
We need to build a broad policy and political consensus so that whatever is created is not used as a political football or changes in short term thinking
We need a coordinated approach to avoid new campaigners and others creating more initiatives in an already overcrowded sporting landscape. This is crucial. There are already too many people in this space and I am sure many high profile individuals will 'want to help and have their voice heard' - all great up to a point but will simply confuse the argument
Whilst there will no doubt be celebrities and sports stars wanting to help - and that is welcome - we need to listen much more to teachers, coaches and experts at local level.
We also need to reaffirm we are about creating a system that encourages ALL children to become physical activity and not just be about a massive talent ID programme. We are about inspiring a generation to be active not just medalists
Whilst we should encourage and nurture commercial interest we need this to be in delivering desired policy outcomes - not short term initiatives with little sporting sustainability
What we create should be the best school sport system in the world to match the world class UKSport system. It should be based on evidence of what works - not the anecdotal evidence of sports stars and politicians. This is where we have failed before

Tags: School sport, Olympic legacy, 2012, Gove


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