X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

Please note: Previously subscribers used a 'WebID' to log into the website. Your subscriber number is not the same as the WebID. Please ensure you use the subscriber number when you link your subscription.

Coffee House

Cameron’s big sporting society

8 August 2012

11:20 AM

8 August 2012

11:20 AM

David Cameron made a spirited defence of school sport this morning when he appeared on LBC radio. Waving a sheet of paper triumphantly, the Prime Minister argued that the 20 school playing field sales that Michael Gove had signed off were actually schools that had closed, surplus fields and ‘surplus marginal school land’.

He also defended the decision to remove a compulsory target for all children to take part in two hours of sport a week:

[Alt-Text]


Well, look, we haven’t done that, you know, sport is part of the national curriculum and we want schools to deliver sport and I think that’s very important, but frankly, and we’re putting a lot of money in, there’s a billion pounds going into school sport over the next four years. But frankly if the only problem was money, you’d solve this with money. The problem isn’t money, the problem has been too many schools not wanting to have competitive sport, some teachers not really wanting to join in and play their part and so if we want to have a great sporting legacy for our children, and I do: I’ve got an eight year-old, a six year-old and a two year-old and I want them to play competitive sport, and they want to play competitive sport, we’ve got to have an answer that brings the whole of society together to crack this. More competition, more competitiveness, more getting rid of the idea of all must win prizes and you can’t do competitive sports day.

That’s going to make teachers happy: it’s their fault for not wanting to join in with sport, although it is certainly one of the downsides of primary school teachers taking every lesson rather than just their subject specialty.

But as well as advocating a ‘culture change in favour of competitive sports’ in schools, the Prime Minister also suggested he was keen on taking the onus on encouraging children into sporting activity away from teachers and towards ‘the whole of society’. Using his own children’s village sports club as an example, he said it was essential to ‘back the clubs, get the clubs into the schools, link the schools with the clubs’. Cameron doesn’t mention the Big Society much these days, but it’s clear he sees this as an integral part of the Olympic legacy.

Incidentally, a far more powerful piece of evidence that sports teaching in schools is failing isn’t the representation of state schools in our Olympic medal tables, but the soaring obesity in our society. Teachers  – and those local sports clubs – don’t just need to encourage the children with the most sporting potential to climb all the way to the top of their tree, but also encourage a love of physical activity in all their pupils that continues into later life. Obesity costs our health service far more than it does to bring in the medal haul we’ve enjoyed so far at the Olympics: the direct cost of obesity to the NHS is estimated at £5.1 billion per year, while £264.1 million has been invested in Olympic sports.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


Show comments
Close