Protests over axing of School Sport Partnerships
03 Nov 2010
Protests are growing over the government's decision to cut all £162 million funding for the School PE and Sports Strategy and to end all ring-fenced funding for School Sport Partnerships.
As part of the Comprehensive Spending Review, the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, announced that the network of School Sport Partnerships was 'neither affordable nor likely to be the best way to help schools achieve their potential in improving competitive sport'.
This has aroused widespread anger and frustration amongst those working in school sport. A Facebook Group, 'Save School Sport Partnerships', has given voice to those dismayed by the decision. www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Save-School-Sport-Partnerships/159893774044860 The page has attracted over 10,000 'likes'.
Typical of the comments is this from Jonathan Allan: 'If the Government are serious about a school Olympics and increasing "competitive sport" then how do they justify taking away the structure that creates competitive sport within school clusters, partnerships, towns and counties?'
The Facebook Group states: 'This will have a devastating effect on the opportunities available to our young people through school sport and in the wider community'.
In a letter to the School Sport Trust on October 20th, Mr Gove said the government would instead encourage more competitive sport through the creation of an annual Olympic-style sport competition.
He added that he was lifting the many requirements set for school sport by the last government. These include the need to collect information for an annual survey of sport participation, and ending the requirement to deliver a minimum amount of sport and PE for pupils.
Mr Gove insisted he was not 'closing down' school sport partnerships but that, instead, they were being 'entrusted to schools' to decide how to use them in the future.
However, the fact remains that the funding is being taken away. Head teachers may choose to use mainstream budgets to support them but they will find many other calls on their money in the new period of austerity.
In a letter signed by 480 members of the school sport movement, the protesters told Mr Gove:
The letter added:
As yet, though, there is no sign of the government reversing its decision.