I sat watching the closing ceremony for the London 2012 Olympics which was one part ‘yay athletes’ and lots of parts ‘wtf, why this music?’ and listened to lots of talk about ‘inspiration’ and ‘legacy’. My son spent the last half-term of school enjoying topic work based on the Olympics and was very enthusiastic about everything to do with the various sports and events. So, what does government propose we do to capitalise on the sporting spirit
Firstly we have an announcement that the compulsory 2 hours of physical education for primary school children was scrapped because ‘non-sports’ like ‘Indian dancing’ were being used to fulfill the requirement. It seems strange to scrap something just because it’s not being done the way you want (surely tighter guidelines would have sufficed) but also to be pretty bold in determining that activities like dance are not sport. I took part in a Bollywood dance class during a friend’s hen do and it was hard work! Not an organised sport of course but that didn’t stop it being physical exercise. I did try to determine what Lex’s PE lessons consist of but apparently he can’t remember except that they get drinks and there are throwing competitions. At least they get to be competitive which leads us neatly on to the next announcement.
Now all primary school children will need to take part in competitive ‘recognised and recognisable sports’ as apparently too few already do (at school at least). I like the fact that Lex’s school manages to have a competitive sports day – each child chooses 2 or 3 events to take part in and can win medals for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place – that also has a team ethos – each child earns points for their team. However, aside from an after-school multi-sports club sponsored by a local football team which is focused on skills not competition, there are almost no after-school sports offerings at the school. I think that there is a netball team in the upper school but there is no football team, cricket team or anything else that would fit the recognised sport criteria that Lex could access. There once was more (a couple of football teams) but the government’s removal of the sports partnership funding ended that. I am interested to see how this proposal actually works in practice – what will be offered and how will they make it possible for all children to take part?
I had accepted that sporting activities would need to be paid for activities away from school – currently swimming and gymnastics, neither cheap – perhaps this announcement will be a good thing but all I expect to happen is possibly more netball and football teams because they’re easy to organise, don’t require particularly skilled staff to oversee them or expensive equipment. Lex would like to play cricket, I’ve been putting off contacting the local club because it will be yet more expense even though I’m sure he’d love it. Dare I hope that this announcement means an opportunity to play at school?