Growing campaign to save school sports


12:00 pm - December 6th 2010

by Richard Exell    


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The range of people campaigning against the decision to abolish School Sports Partnerships and end funding for the Youth Sports Trust must have surprised the government. Its certainly produced uncertainty round the cabinet table.

On Tuesday night last week David Cameron said the government was going to “look carefully” at the issue, with the Telegraph reporting that the funding to be made available was “believed to be” £100 million – more than half the £162 million saved by the cuts.

But then the Department for Education began counter-briefing that

David Cameron is taking a close interest in the issue but that is not a U-turn. The decision around the £162m and the sports strategy has been made and will not be reversed.

Ministers seem to be worried by the unusual coalition that has come together to defend school sports – including Paralympic and Olympic medallists, famous professional sportspeople and people involved in School Sports Partnerships who were upset at Michael Gove’s criticisms.

Young people themselves have emerged as leaders of this campaign. Debbie Foote, a 17 year old from Lincolnshire is the Chair of the “Young Ambassadors”, who work with the partnerships and the Youth Sports Trust to increase participation in school sport.

She distributed petitions to all 450 Partnerships, who then circulated them to every school – where the teaching unions have helped promote them – and set up “Young Ambassadors Saving School Sport” on Facebook, which was followed by “Save School Sport Partnerships”.

Tomorrow her petition – predicted to have half a million signatures – will be carried on a walk to Westminster by leading athletes and young people to be handed over in Downing Street.

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About the author
Richard is an regular contributor. He is the TUC’s Senior Policy Officer covering social security, tax credits and labour market issues.
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Reader comments


I am not sure if 2 or 4 hours per week of school sports help that much.

A better method to nudge people towards activity would be creating a social climate where being fat or obese would be seen as really repulsive. Not nice, I know, but it might just work.

Sorry – why are school sports dependent on one particular funding model that whilst it works in some places, fails in others?

I think this is defending centralisation (the funds are centrally administered) under the cover of defending school sports. My guess is that the less centralised the school system, the more school sports will benefit (based on the fact school sports seem to have declined steadily during the last twenty-odd years during which the national curriculum appeared and developed).


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  11. Rachel Hubbard

    Growing campaign to save school sports | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/0kfWVuL via @libcon





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