Predictably, the politicians, Uncle Tom Cobley and all are jumping all over it.
The decision by the Coalition Government not to require schools to provide two hours of physical education every week will destroy any possibility of Britain’s businesses feeding from the feel-good factor created by our Olympic success, warns Will Davies – co-founder of London property maintenance and refurbishment company, aspect.co.uk.
You’ve probably never heard of the guy, or his organisation, but he has a point (perhaps reinforced because he used to be a rugger player, as was I briefly before seeing sense and taking up a rowing career). Unsurprisingly, he says:
“The boost our economy could have received from the energy created by Britain’s astonishing successes in the Olympics will all be washed away by this political blunder. In my experience, the leaders on the sports field often become the leaders in the workplace, and the sorts of young people who commit themselves to excelling in sport are also the individuals who work hard to make a success of the working lives.”
He’s right there. Even under the previous government all children were required to take part in two hours of sport every week and there was an outline plan to increase that requirement to five hours every week. Blair started it off in fact.
A spokesman for the Department for Education said, perhaps somewhat naively if you give them the benefit of the doubt:
“Instead of handing down target and quotas from Whitehall, we have chosen to trust teachers and parents when it comes to deciding how much sport pupils should do.”
What tosh. You can just hear them smirking as they say it. But the Youth Sport Trust criticised the decision saying:
“Measuring the number of young people participating in two hours of school sport did give a clear indication of participation levels in sport in schools across the country. There is still some great work going on in schools but it is now more difficult to know exactly where provision is good and where it needs to be improved.”
Figures obtained by the Guardian through a freedom of information request also demonstrate embarrassingly that 21 school playing fields have been sold off since the Coalition Government came to power. Adds Davies:
“Selling sports fields and replacing competitive sports with yoga and circus skills will not build on our Olympic legacy. Working hard to become competitive at sport instills passion, teamwork and dedication in our youngsters. All of which are attributes that will help them be successful in their working lives.”
Cue National Anthem.