School sports U-turn

a GOVERNMENT U-turn on funding cuts for school sport partnerships will cripple the system that delivers sports and PE to children, claim local managers.

Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education, announced in October he was cutting £162 million which pays for the network of 450 School Sports Partnerships (SSPs), putting nearly 22,000 jobs at risk.

But just before Christmas it was announced that £65 million had been found to continue funding the partnerships over the next two years. John Barker, Partnership Development Manager for Bolsover and District, said: “Whilst this is extra money that was not there only a week ago, the detail will still leave managers bewildered as to how they are to sustain a delivery system for PE and Sport. Previously £162 million came into the system; this now appears to be delivering £65 million over two years or just over £30 million a year – a huge cut of £130 million a year. Whilst any extra funding to School Sport is to be appreciated, this settlement still leaves a huge amount to do if we are to ensure our young people are to access the same levels of opportunity to participate and compete as has been the case for the last five years.”

The headteachers of South Normanton’s Frederick Gent and Pinxton’s Kirkstead schools presented a petition with 5,000 signatures to the leader of Bolsover District Council, Eion Watts. The decision to axe funding sparked a revolt, organised by 17-year-old Debbie Foote, one of 5,000 Young Ambassadors in England who volunteer as sports organisers.