Tessa Jowell, Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Minister for the Olympics, commenting on the Government’s school sports announcement today said:
“There is much to welcome in the Government’s announcement today, not least the fact that they have woken up late in the day to the need to secure our legacy promise to inspire a generation of young people through the Olympics.
“We particularly welcome the focus on reversing the drop off in participation rates in sport among young people above the age of 14 and the steps which build on Labour’s legacy to encourage schools to open their sports facilities to the whole community.
“Ensuring that Sports Governing Bodies’ links with schools is important too; clubs on school sites are vital to prevent a drop off in sports participation post 16.
“However, retaining the School Sports Partnership Coordinators introduced by Labour to ensure young people are enthused about sport in school in the first place will be paramount if this strategy is to be delivered. It makes no sense to make one set of sports coordinators redundant just as it becomes imperative to develop new links between schools and Sports Governing Bodies.
“It is also not the case that there was a decrease in participation under Labour – the number of people participating in sport for half an hour three times a week rose each year from 2005 and only fell in 2010 when the Coalition came to power.
“This strategy from the Government will only yield results in the long run. We therefore invite the Government to continue this key part of our Olympic legacy commitments on a cross-party basis in order that sport has the security and certainty it needs going forwards.”