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Schools: Sport

Volume 687: debated on Wednesday 29 November 2006

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they have made an assessment of the statistic that over 50 per cent of British Olympic medal winners attended schools in the independent sector; and whether they will take steps to address this issue. [HL87]

No formal assessment has been made of the number of British Olympic medal winners who have attended schools in the independent sector. Through the National School Sport Strategy, the Government are committed to increasing both the quality and quantity of PE and school sport for all pupils. Our main aim—a public service agreement target shared by DCMS and DfES—is to increase the percentage of five to 16 year-olds who take part in at least two hours high-quality PE and sport each week, within and beyond the curriculum, to 75 per cent by 2006 and on to 85 per cent by 2008. With 80 per cent of pupils in partnership schools spending at least two hours in a typical week on high-quality PE and school sport, the 2006 target has been exceeded. As part of this strategy, the “Gifted and Talented” workstrand offers targeted opportunities to support and nurture pupils with talent in PE and school sport. The programme focuses on pupils with clear potential as well as those who may be at risk of underachieving.

In addition, the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) supports young people to pursue their sporting interests while continuing in higher and further education. So far, 2,600 young people have been supported by the scheme.

Over 1,200 talented young athletes took part in five different sports at the inaugural UK School Games staged in Glasgow in September 2006. Competitors were selected—based on ability—by the national governing bodies of the sports and their school sports associations. Competitors came from both the maintained and the independent sectors. It is planned to stage this event annually up to 2011.

UK Sport and the Home Country Sports Councils have developed and adopted the equality standard to guide governing bodies towards equitable provision to seek to widen participation by targeting under represented groups. Many sports have already developed schemes specifically for schools in disadvantaged areas where the aim is that individuals with talent and desire will be able to progress to performance sport regardless of their background.