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Medal rush sparks schools debate

14/08/2012 Kelly
With the Olympics having drawn to a close, politicians and those in education jobs have now turned their attention to securing the legacy of the Games.

David Cameron's decision to scrap the requirement for two hours' physical activity a week sparked a fierce debate and now it is the education backgrounds of the Team GB athletes themselves that is causing controversy.

A report published today (August 14th) by the Sutton Trust claims that, despite fee-paying schools accounting for the educations of just seven per cent of the population, 37 per cent of British medal winners at London 2012 were schooled at private establishments.

Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the Sutton Trust, said that this finding is "not a surprise" given that "children in independent schools benefit from ample time set aside for sport, excellent sporting facilities and highly qualified coaches".

This compares to state schools where "sport is not a priority and, sadly, playing fields have been sold off".

However, the Good Schools Guide has hit back, claiming that those in sports teaching jobs at state schools were responsible for educating 70 per cent of Team GB's gold medal winners, including star athletes Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford.

"State schools have their share of extremely talented golden boys and girls," it said.

Despite this obvious track record, shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg is concerned that the policies being developed by the coalition could see those in free schools and academies miss out, as they only apply to local authority-controlled establishments.

"Sport isn't just for some schools, but for all schools. Labour wants to ensure that all pupils get access to high quality sports provision so they can do competitive sports and physical activity," he said.

The prime minister has announced that a requirement for competitive team sport is to be introduced into the curriculum in the autumn. 

Posted by Harriet McGowanADNFCR-2164-ID-801428684-ADNFCR
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