The devastating effect of Gove’s desire to take an axe to school sport

A petition has been launched, that will result in 2,012 children taking part in a peaceful demonstration in Westminster against the savage cuts to school sport.

Debbie Foote is a 17-year-old A-Level student; she is leading the campaign against the coalition’s school sport cuts

What makes me different to other students is that I am also a Young Ambassador and I am leading a national campaign against the cuts to school sport. As you may be aware, the government has announced the end of ring-fenced funding for PE and school sport – which signals the end of the infrastructure of School Sport Partnerships that provide sport to every school in England. This is devastating news, not only for young people today, but for the future generations who will miss out on the fantastic opportunities School Sport Partnerships provide.

There are currently 450 School Sport Partnerships which link every school in England, raising sport participation, leadership and volunteering, linking clubs, organising inter and intra-school competitions and encouraging active and healthy lifestyles across whole communities.

As a result 5.6m young people were participating in at least two hours of high quality PE and out of hour’s school sport a week by 2010, an improvement of 1.5m young people since 2006.

Although I understand that savings must be made, to cut this funding seems like false economy when you consider the fundamental importance of sport for every child and the undeniable social, health, cultural and behavioural benefits that sport has. As one of more than 5,000 Young Ambassadors across the UK, my role involves inspiring young people to take part in a healthy, active lifestyle, using the power of London 2012.

Through the support of my School Sport Partnership, I have been given so many fantastic opportunities and experiences, developing skills such as confidence, time management, leadership, teamwork, initiative, communication and responsibility. This has set me up for the rest of my life and I don’t want other young people to miss out on these experiences and the chance to fulfil their potential.

Getting rid of School Sport Partnerships will do nothing to help rising health concerns and goes against the promise that the UK made to inspire millions of young people to take part in sport through London 2012.

I started this campaign on behalf of all young people, with the aim to raise the profile of the importance of school sport and why it is so vital to our development. A petition has been launched, that will result in 2,012 young people taking part in a peaceful demonstration in Westminster, where I hope to present more than one million signatures opposing the school sport cuts to the Department for Education.

• Please support young people by signing the petition, by Wednesday.

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