Categorized | News, Press Release

Cuts to School Sport Partnership will “damage the health and opportunities of young people” says MP

Toby Perkins has held emergency talks with senior figures at Brookfield School, Chesterfield, after the news broke that the Coalition Government was to withdraw the £160 million funding set aside for the School Sport Partnership initiative. The Labour Member of Parliament, recently promoted to the Front Bench Education Team responsible for sport in schools, met with the Headteacher, the Partnership Development Manager, and Young Ambassadors of the SSP Programme to discuss the catastrophic impact this decision will have on the health and opportunities of thousands of children in Chesterfield and the UK more widely.

The School Sport Partnership had provided significantly more young people the opportunity to compete in a broad range of sports, from organized inter school football competitions to cheerleading. In Chesterfield, the percentage of children who compete in intra school competition during an academic year saw an incredible rise from 55% in 2006/07 to 81% in 2009/10 as a direct consequence of the School Sport Partnership. The percentage of children participating in a minimum of 2 hours of physical education per week also rose significantly, from 65% in 2006/07 to 88% in 2009/10.

Mr. Perkins has called into question the seriousness of the Government’s promise of a lasting Olympic Legacy and damned a decision which will lead to a rise in obesity among young people.

Mr. Perkins said:-

“Contrary to what the Coalition is telling us, the School Sport Partnership worked, and Brookfield School is undeniable proof of this. The figures speak for themselves, with young people getting involved in sport at all levels through SSP funding. Everyone involved in school sport can see that the Coalition is making a catastrophic decision that will ultimately damage the health and opportunities of young people in Chesterfield and the UK. Our young people are being let down badly, and the Olympic legacy is being pulled from under the feet of a generation who had absolutely nothing to do with the near collapse of the banking-led recession”.

Mark Tournier, Partnership Development Manager at Brookfield School added:-

“The impact of withdrawing funding from the School Sport Partnership (SSP) network will impact on the opportunities in PE and Sport for every young person in Chesterfield. Since the inception of the SSP every young person has been exposed to a wider variety and increased number of PE and Sport opportunities. This has increased the likelihood of finding a sport of interest and participating in this as part of a healthy lifestyle. The SSP programme has allowed pupils to be integrated and connected to the wider community through direct links to community clubs and groups. This is further demonstrated within the leadership and volunteering programme, allowing pupils to develop personal skills for the future. Pupils of all ages have increased opportunities in competition, both in traditional and nontraditional sports, with a structured pathway including competition within school and against other schools leading to district and county finals.   PE and sport has been used as a driver to improve individual motivation, commitment, independence, behaviour, attendance, concentration and attainment of children across Chesterfield”.

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I am Toby Perkins, Labour's Member of Parliament for Chesterfield. If you would like to get in touch with me, my office is open and can be reached by phone on 01246 386 286. I also hold regular surgeries so that constituents can meet me and I can take up their concerns. If you would like to make an appointment then please do contact my office. Thank you for visiting.

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Tel: 01246 386286
Post: 113 Saltergate, Chesterfield, S40 1NF


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