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Schools: Sports

Volume 461: debated on Thursday 21 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on his plans to expand competitive sport in schools. (143160)

This Government are committed to the expansion of competitive school sport. The PE National Curriculum requires that all pupils are taught competitive games throughout key stages one to three, and pupils may choose to pursue them in key stage four, if they wish. Competition is also a key component of the National School Sport Strategy. The 2005-06 school sport survey found that:

71 per cent. of pupils are now participating in intra-school competitive activities and 37 per cent. of pupils are taking part in inter-school competition. Both figures have been rising year on year.

97 per cent. of schools held a competitive sports day in the last academic year and the network of school sport partnerships staged over 10,700 festivals of sport—multi-sport events organised by secondary pupils for partnership primary schools.

In addition, the introduction of a national network of Competition Managers, and events like the UK School Games, are building a stronger framework for competitive sport.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what representations he received from (a) hon. and right hon. Members, (b) schools, (c) teachers, (d) parents and (e) others on the funding position of the Panathlon Challenge in each of the last two years; (143162)

(2) what recent research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the effectiveness of the Panathlon Challenge in increasing the involvement of school children in competitive sport; and if he will make a statement;

(3) if he will make it his policy to offer the Panathlon Challenge further financial support.

No such research has been commissioned. In the last two years, the Department has received one representation from a Member of Parliament and one from a teacher.

The Department provided the Panathlon Challenge with £850,000 of seed corn funding between 2003 and 2006 to support competitive sport in schools. It was made explicit that the funding was time limited and would not be extended beyond March 2006. Continued funding would divert resources away from direct investment in competitive sport in schools through the National School Sport Strategy.