Government funding cuts blamed for drop in school sport
As the final countdown to the Olympics begins in earnest, research compiled by the Labour party shows that there has been a nationwide decline in organised sport in schools, reports the Guardian.
Despite promises that the Games would inspire a generation of young people through sport, 48% of local authorities report a decrease in the number of School Sport Partnerships – the local networks of organised school sport – and 28% now have none.
Shadow minister for the Olympics Tessa Jowell said, “It is important that schools are able to maintain this momentum [of the Olympics] and help young people develop sport and exercise as a habit that will keep them healthy and fit for the rest of their lives.”
Despite opposition from athletes, pupils and MPs, ringfenced funding for the national network of School Sports Partnerships was cut by 69% two years ago to be redirected to other schemes, and only guaranteed until 2013. Those working in the system fear the funding will be cut altogether next year.
Sports Minister Hugh Robertson argued that it is only under the Coalition that PE had become a mandatory subject. He blamed the issue over School Sports Partnership on the global recession.
“All we can do is play the best hand we’ve got with the card that has been dealt to us,” he said.
Labour criticism coincides with a study published in the Lancet this week that lack of exercise now causes as many deaths across the world as smoking.
Researchers say that a third of adults are not doing enough physical activity, which causes 5.3m deaths year through heart disease, diabetes and breast and colon cancer.
According to the BBC, the researchers said the problem was so bad it should be treated to pandemic.
If you're keen to get your kids involved in sport, read MFM's tips on top children's sport organisations.
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