COMMONS

School sport following London 2012: no more political football

22 July 2013

Government must match long-term vision with long term funding to secure a 2012 legacy for school sport, says the Education Committee.

Chair's comments

Launching a report that examines school sport following London 2012, Education Committee Chair Graham Stuart MP said:

"London 2012 was a magical time and the Games generated massive enthusiasm, particularly among young people. The Government needs to act to ensure that the momentum is not lost amid short-term plans and funding. If school sport is to grow, it needs sustained funding and time to develop.

We are concerned that the Government’s primary sport premium—while correctly focussed—is only being given to schools for two years. This is simply not long enough for schools to build a sustained provision. Many head teachers will be struggling to decide how to spend the money most effectively and, if the funding is not extended, there is a risk the primary sport premium will become little more than a gimmick."

On the importance of school sport, Graham Stuart MP said:

"High quality school sport is vitally important. It provides young people with opportunities to improve their education, health and well-being. We need to be encouraging all young people to take part in sport; whether they enjoy the competition of football, rugby or netball or prefer non-competitive activities. Schools must provide a range of activities that appeal to all.

Successive governments have kicked school sport around as a political football, announcing short-term fixes without any sustained vision for the future. Occasional pump-priming is simply not good enough for something so important. If the Government want to capitalise on the legacy of London 2012 it must commit to programmes and funding for the long-term."

The report:

  • Recommends that the Government sets out a plan for the sustained support and development of its school sports policy.
  • Recommends that the Government devises a new strategy for school sports that builds on the many strengths of the school sport partnership model.
  • Recommends that the Department for Education does more work to make its guidance on the effective use of the primary sport premium as practical and useable as possible.
  • Concludes that on its own, the primary sport premium is inadequate.
  • Concludes that further action is needed to ensure that the 2012 legacy in schools benefits all children and lasts beyond the two years of the primary sports premium. 
  • Recommends that further accountability measures are needed to ensure that schools are delivering high quality sport for their pupils.

Further information

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