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School sports 'must be more of a priority'

17/12/2012 Joanna
The government risks undermining sport in schools by removing the requirement that all pupils do at least two hours of physical education (PE) every week, according to the Labour Party.

PE teachers and teaching assistants are likely to have been concerned by the news, but figures put forward by the political party suggest that only just over half of children are doing this much exercise during school time at present, down from 90 per cent in 2010.

According to the BBC, it also called for "tough action" to ensure that schools and children benefit from a sporting legacy that matches the success enjoyed at this summer's London Olympics.

Although the Department for Education says that the two-hour target has never been an enforceable rule - adding that schools have been free to ignore it if they chose to - it also notes that competitive sport will be at the heart of the new national curriculum.

But that has not stopped Labour from making calls for the two-hour a week requirement for PE to be reinstated. It suggests that Ofsted should include careful inspection of sport provisions in its investigations, at academies and free schools.

The latest developments come shortly after research from Chance to Shine suggested that many children are not being given an opportunity to get involved with sport as part of a lasting Olympic legacy.

The charity's survey of parents revealed that half of British children have been inspired by the summer games to take up or try a new sport, but the majority (81 per cent) felt that there had not been any improvements in the provision of sport at their children's schools.

Last month, Lord Sebastian Coe also expressed his own "frustration" at the failure to implement a better legacy for school sport following the Olympics. The London 2012 chairman is advising the prime minister on the subject of the legacy project.

However, funding for PE specialists and teaching assistants to work in primary schools for one day a week is set to run out at the end of this school year.

Posted by Tim ColmanADNFCR-2164-ID-801507967-ADNFCR
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