Olympic parade and school sport

17 Oct 2008 by Karl Hallam

This week the Government released a press release saying that record number are now doing PE and school sport. This is a success story, but does it have anything at all to do with the Olympics?

Ed Balls is obliged to say 'We have made massive progress in the last few years and laid a firm foundation for a permanent 2012 Olympic legacy' and Andy Burnham 'As we look to London 2012 we want to get even more children playing sport and uncover more talent who can become our Olympians and Paralympians of tomorrow'.

A look at the sports represented in Olympic celebration parade might suggest that school sport is not necessarily where success lies. Cycling, sailing, swimming, rowing ... not your regular school sports. That said the return of sport to school is something the Government should take pride and below are some more quotes that show this is an area that there is real passion for.

As Children's Secretary Ed Balls said:

"We have made massive progress in the last few years and laid a firm foundation for a permanent 2012 Olympic legacy. It's a testament to the fantastic, hard work of the Youth Sport Trust, schools and sports clubs.

"Ignore the half-pint full critics who carp nothing has changed. School sport was a national embarrassment a decade ago. Sport had all but withered and died in many schools; thousands of playing fields had been sold off; there was negligible investment; and an ingrained anti-competitive culture.

"School and youth sport has now never been as well funded; there is a permanent infrastructure and support in place; and more children doing PE and sport than ever before. Children don't want to be wrapped in cotton wool - they want to compete at their own level, in the sports they want.

"We now need to raise our game to persuade more children to make the right choices and exercise outside school - children exercising more sport in the holidays and after school so all children can do at least five hours a week.

"Medallist after medallist at the Beijing Olympics paid tribute to their families' dedication in helping them achieve their dreams.

"The bottom line is that encouraging and supporting their children to exercise should be part and parcel of day to day life for families, whatever their talent - from simply making sure they've got the right PE kit and giving permission for off-school sport activities to training to actively volunteering to help run sports clubs.

"We need to engage parents who don't encourage their kids to do exercise because they do not know what is on offer in schools or who were turned off sport by poor facilities and teaching when they were growing up. We need to break the cycle - if today's children don't play sport, then the odds are their own children won't.

"Hundreds of thousands of parents already play a massive role in helping their children exercise. We need schools and clubs to all to work engage more local parents - and every parent to take responsibility for their children doing exercise and sport outside schools, not just teachers."



More sport and obesity views can be found here and here.


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