asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they will take action to assess young people early in their school careers, so that those with particular sporting skill can be properly nurtured; and [HL2905]
What steps they are taking to widen the range of sports available in schools by maximising the use of coaches and facilities available at local sports clubs; and [HL2906]
What steps they are taking to integrate local sports clubs more closely with schools; and [HL2907]
How their strategies relating to school sport are enhancing opportunities for ethnic minorities and those with special needs. [HL2909]
The 2005-06 national school sport survey found that some 189,000 pupils in schools in school sport partnerships (SSPs) are registered as being gifted and talented because of their ability in physical education or sport. Those with exceptional talent are encouraged to join local sports clubs accredited by the relevant national governing bodies for the sports in question.
As part of the national school sport strategy, £18 million has been set aside from 2004 to 2008 for the School Club Links programme, to encourage and strengthen links between schools and accredited sports clubs. Through this programme, schools are working with the national governing bodies of sport to provide a safe environment for young people to take part in sport beyond school in accredited sports clubs, with access to their facilities and their coaches.
The School Club Links programme is a key work strand within the national school sport strategy. The aim of this work strand is to increase the percentage of five to 16 year-olds from school sport partnership schools who are members of, or participate in, governing body or otherwise accredited sports clubs. Currently, 27 per cent of pupils in partnership schools participate in at least one sports club linked to their school—up from 19 per cent two years ago. The most common club-linked sports are football (78 per cent), cricket (52 per cent), rugby union (46 per cent), dance (40 per cent) and athletics (38 per cent). On average, schools have club links with approximately six sports.
The national school sport strategy aims to increase both the quantity and quality of PE and school sport for all pupils, whatever their particular needs or circumstances. This includes pupils with special needs and those from minority ethnic backgrounds. School sport partnerships are encouraged to target their available resources towards those with special needs or from ethnic minorities.
Under the current standards for qualified teacher status, every primary trainee needs to demonstrate subject knowledge and teaching ability in physical education (PE). Under the previous standards, replaced in 2002, primary trainees were able to opt out of PE.
Initial teacher training providers have been supported for the last three years by a project funded by the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) to support the delivery of high-quality PE training. To date, the project has delivered individual support for teacher trainers, web-based resources, DVD resources, printed training manuals, and regional and national conferences for training providers. Primary PE has been one of the focus areas of this support.