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Kids 1 Gove 0: Schools celebrate after Government U-turn on School Sport Partnership funding

Kids 1 Gove 0: Schools celebrate after Government U-turn on School Sport Partnership funding

Yesterday Michael Gove, the Education Minister, bowed to pressure from teachers, pupils and sporting celebrities as he announced the School Sport Partnership programme would continue until at least next summer. Toby Perkins, Labour Member of Parliament for Chesterfield and Member of the Education Team on the Opposition Front Bench, was in the House of Commons as Gove performed yet another climb down in an error prone start to his ministerial career.

In October the Education Minister announced that the SSP would be axed from March 2011, bringing to a close the £162 million programme focused on raising sport participation in schools and improving the health of young people across the UK. As part of a national campaign, involving Olympic stars Dame Kelly Holmes and Darren Campbell, Mr. Perkins had held emergency talks with local secondary school, Brookfield Community College. The Sports College had previously seen hundreds of additional students participating in activities from table tennis to mountaineering, improving dietary education, fitness and academic attainment.

In a staggering climb down Michael Gove announced that the Government had decided to allocate a further £47 million to keep the SSPs going until next summer. The minister also intimated that schools would be given £65million to cover two years of additional sports teaching after existing funding, under the School Sports Partnership, ends in the summer.

Mr. Perkins said:-

“This is a partial success for the thousands of young people across the country who currently benefit from the SSP programme, getting fit and enjoying all that comes with an active lifestyle. On the one hand, the Government has admitted the folly of their original decision to cut this programme. On the other hand, there is no guarantee that SSPs or additional spending to improve sporting participation in schools will exist in any significant way after the Olympics. This would be a hammer blow to any real Olympic Legacy and a huge backwards step for youngsters of all abilities and backgrounds”. 

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

“I am pleased the Government has recognized the impact School Sport Partnerships have made on the lives of young people in Chesterfield. The announcement of further funding supporting a School Sport Coordinator type role is a small step in the right direction”.

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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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