Schools Sports Policy “Little more than a Gimmick”
A committee of MP’s has recently warned the government that its school sports policy is inadequate, and is failing to capitalise on the Olympic legacy of the 2012 Games. The new primary school focused scheme was announced in March and was introduced on the back of criticism about a decision to axe a £162m network of national school sports partnerships originally introduced by Labour. The new sports scheme costs a £150m with each school being awarded with an average of £9250 per year for sports related activities. As the scheme is only offering payments for two years, it is feared the plan will not last long enough for schools to feel any real benefit.
Committee chairman Graham Stuart has publicly voiced his concerns saying, “We are concerned that the government’s primary sport premium — while correctly focussed — is only being given to schools for two years. This is simply not long enough for schools to build a sustained provision. Many head teachers will be struggling to decide how to spend the money most effectively and, if the funding is not extended, there is a risk the primary sport premium will become little more than a gimmick.” Whilst the scheme was only announced four months ago, it already gives the appearance of being a short-term fix, providing little by way of long-term planning or sustained vision.
There are many reasons as to why the government needs to take a well thought out and careful approach to its school sports policy. Physical Education lessons not only provide children with health and fitness benefits, they can also promote academic learning. A healthy cardiovascular system promotes good blood and oxygen circulation throughout the body, including the brain, resulting in greater attention spans and improved concentration in class. Sports can also boost the self-esteem of children and teach important teamwork and cooperation skills. With so many potential benefits for children, the need for a valuable sports policy that provides schools with sufficient and guidance is imperative.