UK puts sport back into schools

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In the run-up to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has announced a £100 million campaign to enable all children to practice five hours of sport every week in the hope of sparking renewed passion for physical activity among young people.

“We need to put school sport back where it belongs – playing a central role in the school day,” said UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown announcing, in early July 2007, a £100 million (€148 million) campaign to give every child the chance to practice up of five hours of sport per week. “Government is doing its bit. Schools, parents, volunteers and the sporting world can do theirs. I call on them to join us,” he added. 

The new campaign will provide for up to five hours of sport per week for all pupils and three hours for young people aged 16-19. The previous policy had been for funding of up to four hours a week.

The campaign also puts greater emphasis on competition within and between schools. For this purpose, the campaign will set up a new National School Sport Week, which will encourage all schools to run sports days and inter-school tournaments. This idea builds on the success of the UK School Games, which seeks to encourage more young people to take part in sport.

Furthermore, the campaign will fund the establishment of a national network of competition managers to help schools to increase the amount of competitive sport they offer. More coaches will also be made available in schools to provide young people with expert advice.

The UK Premier said that he wants to use the anticipation and reality of hosting the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games “as a catalyst for lasting change in our country” and hopes that the upcoming games will “spark a renewed passion for sport in Britain’s young people”.

According to a press statement, the new funding adds to the £633 million (€937 million) already committed to “creating a world-class school sport and physical education system over the next three years”.

The recently adopted EU White Paper on Sport states that the values conveyed through sport help develop knowledge, motivation, skills and readiness for personal effort and that “time spent in sport activities at school and at university produces health and education benefits which need to be enhanced.” The White Paper also announces the award of a special European label to schools actively involved in supporting and promoting physical activities in a school environment.

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