School competitive team sports move unveiled

Competitive team sports will be made compulsory for all primary school children in England, Prime Minister David Cameron has said.

A draft new curriculum this autumn would require participation in sports such as football, hockey and netball.

Mr Cameron has been urged to set out how he intends to secure a sporting legacy from the London 2012 Olympics.

Labour leader Ed Miliband has called on political parties to work together on a 10-year plan to boost sports activity.

‘Recognisable sports’

The prime minister has pointed to a £1bn fund for youth sport, but the government has been criticised for scrapping a target of two hours physical education a week for school children.

London Mayor Boris Johnson has called for two hours a day of compulsory sport.

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“Now the London Olympics has been a great success, we need to use the inspiration of the Games to get children playing sport more regularly”

David Cameron Prime Minister

Mr Cameron said earlier this week schools often saw the two-hour target as a maximum and told the BBC that Indian dance was being counted as physical education.

On Saturday he said the national curriculum for primary schools in England would be rewritten with an explicit reference to competitive team sports.

The new curriculum will make it compulsory to take part in “recognised and recognisable sports” and will set out requirements for “team outdoor and adventurous activity”.

Mr Cameron said: “The idea of an Olympics legacy has been built into the DNA of London 2012 from the very beginning.

“Now the London Olympics has been a great success, we need to use the inspiration of the Games to get children playing sport more regularly.”

‘Pursue dreams’

He added: “I want to use the example of competitive sport at the Olympics to lead a revival of competitive sport in primary schools.

“We need to end the ‘all must have prizes’ culture and get children playing and enjoying competitive sports from a young age, linking them up with sports clubs so they can pursue their dreams.

“That’s why the new national curriculum in the autumn will include a requirement for primary schools to provide competitive sport.”

But Philip Collins, a former speech writer for Tony Blair, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme Mr Cameron’s analysis was “about 20 years out of date” and the plans were “effectively reinstating” the Schools Sports Partnership programme – set up by Labour, and cut by the Tories in 2010.

He went on to say playing competitive sport for a school was “intrinsically exclusive” and it was “perfectly sensible to have lots of other physical activities for children who loathed PE”.

Damian Hinds, Conservative MP for East Hampshire, said competitive sport taught children “the power of a team, pushing yourself, and learning that life involves losing some things as well as winning”.

Under the last government, only two in five children took part in competitive sports within schools, with one in five regularly taking part in competitive sport with other schools, he added.

The National Association of Head Teachers has called for further investment in a wide range of school sports.

But it said the government should not seek to dictate the specific games that are played.

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the head teachers’ union, said: “London 2012 has drawn the nation’s attention to the sheer breadth of sports on offer and an enduring legacy would be to see the government promote these, thereby ensuring children enjoy participating at every level. The message is diversity.”

 

Source – BBC News

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Another Happy Customer

ESP have just completed a playground project at St John the Baptist CE VA Primary School in Essex.  The school and the kids are absolutely delighted with the finished product and have gone out of their way to tell everyone about it.  Tim Cook, the school procurement officer, made a telephone call our Managing Director to explain firsthand how delighted he was with the quality of the products, the efficiency of the installation, the standard of the ESP representative and the overall service and experience.

The school has had a brand new trim trail / climbing frame to fit an existing area.

The headteacher of the school email the ESP representative and said:

I am hoping that a photo of Mick, Mark and Elvis is going to attach its self properly! They have been absolutely fantastic! The children gave them a big shout out this morning and three cheers! I will sort out the other photos for you and get some more done when the edging is finished etc. Sorry note is short ~ I will write properly very soon as very impressed with team and I think they were too with our kids! – Many many thanks, Amanda

At ESP we are delighted that we yet another happy customer!

 

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Army of 20,000 Volunteers Needed To Boost Outdoor Play

Source – BBC News – By Judith Burns

An army of 20,000 volunteers will be needed for a new initiative to help children play safely outdoors, say campaigners. They will be asked to help build new playgrounds, staff existing ones, run play schemes and street parties. The government has given £2m to help local groups boost outdoor play in their communities. Campaign group Play England says children should be able to play outside after school or in the holidays.

The group’s director Catherine Prisk said: “Playing outside, chalking on the pavement. climbing trees and riding your bike are simple pleasures that many of today’s children are missing out on. “Play is essential for children’s health and happiness now, and for making friends, building key skills for the future and for feeling you are part of a community.”

‘Never climbed a tree’

The money, from the Big Society Fund, will be divided among 17 local and national organisations dedicated to improving facilities and opportunities for play. The organisations will match fund the government award. According to Clare Colvine of Play England, part of the National Children’s Bureau, volunteers will be asked to help according to their skills. “For example one person could be asked to help dig a paddling pool but someone with good web skills might be asked to construct an online map of outdoor play facilities in particular area,” she said.

A growing body of research has found that today’s children do not have the same chances to play outside as their parents. For example a survey published by Play England last year showed that one third of today’s children had never built a den or climbed a tree. One in ten said they had never ridden a bike. Figures from the same survey, conducted by OnePoll last June, revealed that seven out of 10 families felt that taking their children to an outside space to play was a real treat.

Minister for civil society Nick Hurd said: “this is all part of our drive to create a bigger stronger society where people are empowered to make a difference to their community.” The 17 organisations involved have formed the Free Time Consortium which will not only improve play in their own areas but produce resource and information packs for other groups hoping to follow suit.

The consortium includes groups in Tyneside, Manchester, Birmingham, London, Milton Keynes and Plymouth

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University of Derby plans £9m sports facilities upgrade

Source – BBC News

The University of Derby is planning a £9m expansion of its sports facilities including a new sports hall. The complex would be located on the university’s Kedlestone campus and, if approved, would be finished in 2013.

Director of Derbyshire Sport David Joy said the university needed new facilities to compete with nearby sport centres like Loughborough. The facilities, including a two-storey pavilion, would be open to both students and the local community.

‘Outward looking’

A university spokesman said it was aiming to be in the top 50 universities for sport in the UK by 2017. “We are very much in the early stages of this project – considering the best ways in which to take our commitment to sport forward,” estates director Ian Willgoose said.

Mr Joy said: “The facilities at the university are really quite old now compared to lots of other universities in the region and further afield – they are really past their sell-by date.

“The university is very outward looking and clubs from outside the university already use the sports facilities at the Kedlestone campus and this is a logical extension of that.” Derby City Council has recently announced plans for a £20m sports and concert venue at Pride Park, including a velodrome, which is expected to open in 2014.

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Parents fear ‘supersize’ primary schools, says Netmums

Source from –  BBC News education correspondent by Sean Coughlan

 Parents are worrying that a shortage of places is creating “supersize” primary schools, according to the Netmums website. A surge in the birth rate in some areas has meant a rapid expansion of schools, with temporary classrooms added. A survey of mothers’ experiences on Netmums found concerns about children being “overwhelmed” at big schools.

Parents reported their reservations about primary schools that in some cases now had more than 700 pupils. “The rising birth rate means we are seeing the birth of mega primaries,” said Netmums’ founder, Siobhan Freegard.

Official forecasts last month showed that an extra 450,000 primary places will be needed in England between 2010 and 2015. Many local authorities are under pressure to find room for such an expansion – such as building temporary “bulge” classrooms.

But the Netmums website says there is disquiet among parents – with fears that expansion will change the character of primary schools and the pressure on places will make it harder to get a first choice place.More than a thousand parents contributed to a discussion about the places shortage. Although not a representative sample, it showed parents voicing concerns about schools with a one-form entry becoming schools with a two- or three-form entry. In some cases, parents said there were now up to five primary classes in a single year.

“It can make smaller children feel overwhelmed,” said one of the Netmums contributors, who expressed concern about less attention to individual pupils and fears about bullying and gangs.

“I think that big schools will definitely affect some children, especially quiet, less confident kids,” wrote another.

“Our city has increased so much in the last six-seven years, but building one more small school was nowhere near enough judging by the struggle for places.”

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