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Sports Think Tank - Gove Attempts to Find School Sport solution?

"A sports think tank would be a great legacy from the 2012 games, enabling future generations to benefit from long term, well researched, and evidence-based sports policy making in the UK" Seb Coe

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Gove Attempts to Find School Sport solution?

Posted: Fri, 05 Oct 2012 09:04

This week Gove and the Education team have at least been seen to be talking to the 'sector' about their lack of coherence for school sport. As the Think Tank has found at the Party conferences so far the black hole that is Government policy on school sport is becoming a toxic issue which needs to be addressed to save the claim to any legacy plans.

The lack of a coherent school sport strategy has been highlighted as the missing link in the Government's legacy plans, and the meeting at the Department of Education on Thursday was aimed at addressing the issue.

Governing bodies including the Football Association, the England and Wales Cricket Board, the Rugby Football Union and the Lawn Tennis Association were called in to meet the minister, who ended ring-fenced funding and targets for PE and school sport in his first months in office.

The department would not comment on the talks, but the meeting was said to be constructive, despite the absence of several sports that believe they could make a genuine contribution to the debate.

Neither British Cycling or UK Athletics were invited to attend and there is some frustration that they will not have the chance to contribute to a debate they see as crucial to development of their sports.

Gove appears to have ruled out reversing his decision to scrap the School Sports Partnership that ensured all primary and secondary schools had access to professional PE teaching.

In a polite way I made the following comments from the S&RA on behalf of our members. Here my concern is much deeper.

The Sports and Recreation Alliance, which speaks for governing bodies, welcomed the talks.

"It's pleasing that the secretary of state recognises that there is a clear need for an appraisal of policy when it comes to school sports," said chairman Andy Reed, a former Labour MP.

"School sport plays a crucial part in inspiring young people to stay active but there's no doubt that it hasn't been as high up the agenda as it needs to be.

"School sport really is vital if we are going to truly 'inspire a generation' and it is essential that the right mandate is provided from the top. We have tried leaving sport up to teachers' discretion in the past and that hasn't worked due to pressures from other curriculum topics.

"Sport is one of those areas that gets squeezed when heads look to make cuts to their budgets or concentrate on academic subjects.

"Let's grasp this opportunity for an overhaul of the status quo and capitalise on the excitement and interest the Olympics have generated to transform school sport for the better.

"The Alliance is pleased that national governing bodies are involved in the policymaking process but all sports must be included as part of a wider consultation if any new system is to work.

"If we are going to have a school PE programme that works for every pupil, we need to invite all stakeholders into a discussion. That should include all sports, recreation and dance solutions as well as those who understand education needs"

Tags: gove, school sport, PE

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