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Teachers defended as sports row erupts

08/08/2012 Joanna
Teaching groups have responded robustly to a suggestion made by prime minister David Cameron that those in teaching jobs are to blame for a lack of sports education in schools.

Mr Cameron was justifying the government's decision to scrap the two-hour weekly target for sports education when he pointed the finger at teachers for showing a lack of commitment to getting children fit.

"The problem has been … some teachers not wanting to join in and play their part," he told the LBC radio programme. 

However, Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, called the comments "foolhardy".

"Many Team GB medallists attended state school, which makes ludicrous his suggestion that teachers are letting the side down," she added, referring to the success of Britain's athletes at the Olympic Games which is underway in London.

Her words were echoed by Malcolm Trobe, deputy general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, who called the comments "unfair".

"The inclination is very much there," he explained. "There needs to be sufficient funding to enable these networks to work."

Stephen Twigg, Labour's shadow education secretary, expressed concern that dropping the exercise quota might lead to a reduction in the number of children taking part in sport.

"With a Labour government, the number of young people doing at least one hour of sport per week went from just one in every four to nine in every ten. There is a danger that this success could slip back," he said.

However, Mr Cameron insisted that having an obligation in place was more a deterrent than an incentive.

"By just saying 'Look, I want you to do this many hours a week,' some schools think 'Right, as I've hit that minimum requirement I've ticked the box and I can give up'," he said.

Posted by Theo FouldsADNFCR-2164-ID-801425084-ADNFCR
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