MP slams reduction in schools’ sport time

Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery.

Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery.

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CONCERNS at the time given over to sport in schools has been raised by Wansbeck’s MP.

With the 2012 London Olympics closing last weekend, Ian Lavery has highlighted new research which shows a 60 per cent drop in the time spent organising sport in schools.

The figures have been compiled by the Labour Party through Freedom of Information requests sent to 150 top-tier local authorities around Britain.

Only 15 authorities failed to respond.

Researchers had asked for information about the number of school sports co-ordinators in 2009-10 and the number of PE teachers released to organise sport through the government’s new teacher release system.

There are now 110 fewer School Sports Partnerships than there were three years ago with almost half the responding local authorities reporting a drop in such partnerships.

The region has also lost 69 per cent of its school sports’ partnerships which dropped from 13 to four.

“At the very time when what is universally accepted as the greatest sporting show has been in the UK, these figures are an alarming indictment of this government’s cutbacks,” said Mr Lavery, pictured.

“When Britain won the Games we made a promise to the people of this country to inspire our younger generations through sport.

“The Olympics and the Paralympics are a once in a lifetime opportunity to get young people excited about sport yet these figures show we are in danger of doing just the opposite because the amount of time spent on sport in schools is being so drastically cut back.

“Sport can provide so many wonderful opportunities for young people.”

Mr Lavery is chairman of Ashington Community Football Club and Hirst Welfare, which provides sport opportunities for people of all ages and abilities.

“We have a great sporting tradition in this area thanks to footballers such as Jackie Milburn, Bobby and Jackie Charlton and England fast bowler Steve Harmison, and we need to make sure that sport continues to play a vital part in our local school curriculums.

“It is not too late for government to keep the promise we made when London won the Games and to make the most of this moment if we reverse this trend of falling sports activities in our schools.”