Cameron blames teachers over school sport – ignoring his cuts and playing field sell-offs

David Cameron has criticised state school teachers for not doing their bit for school sport.

David Cameron, whose old school Eton has 12 squash courts, 20 tennis courts, an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, four cricket fields, a nine-hole golf course, and the London 2012 Olympic rowing lake, has criticised state school teachers for not doing their bit for school sport.

That’s right, the prime minister is blaming our hard working state school teachers, not George Osborne’s slashing of funding for school sport, the huge reduction in the number of hours dedicated to school sport, and Michael Gove’s selling off of school playing fields – information dragged out of the government this week through a Guardian Freedom of Information request.

Here are the stats, courtesy of the DfE’s PE and Sport Survey 2009/10 (pdf) and FoI research:

• Between 2002 and 2010, the number of young people doing at least 2 or more hours of sport per week rose from 25% to 90%, and 55% were doing three or more hours per week;

• In 2010, more than 78% of pupils were taking part in competitive sport, an increase of 20% from when it was first measured in 2007;

• By 2010, the average secondary school offered 25 different sports – including Olympic sports such as judo, cycling and badminton, where there has seen so much progress in recent years;

• The government have cut funding for school sport by 69% and de-ring fenced the money for school sports partnerships.

There has been a 60% reduction in the number of hours dedicated to organising school sport;

• Thirty seven per cent of school sports partnerships have disappeared; and

The sale of more than 20 school sports fields has been approved by the education secretary in the past two years.

This week, it also emerged that targets requiring all schoolchildren to take part in at least two hours of sport every week have been dropped as part of an overhaul of physical education.


See also:

Without greater provision and resources, state schools will struggle to close the gold gap 6 Aug 2012

The two faces of the Tories on sport: Embracing the Games while closing swimming pools 18 May 2012

The fight to save school sport goes on 5 May 2012

Priced out of the playground: Tory Wandsworth to charge kids to play 12 May 2011

Coalition’s aim for a “school sport revolution” in tatters after CSR 24 Oct 2010


The Tory leader told (£) LBC today:

“If the only problem was money you would solve this with money. The problem has been too many schools not wanting to have competitive sport, some teachers not wanting to join in and play their part.

“I had a very privileged schooling and all the rest of it, but the reason why aged 7, 8, 9, 10 I got into cricket and football and rugby was because I had teachers who, as well as teaching different subjects, gave up their time to go and coach sport and to coach children.

“All those athletes we’ve been seeing – when you ask them what was it that helped you, a lot of them will say, ‘I had a great geography teacher but he also enthused in me a passion for running’.”

Once again, a privileged right-winger going on about attitude and blaming state schools for being less successful than private schools at producing gold medallists – and ignoring the issue of investment and opportunity. As Left Foot Forward explained earlier this week, without greater provision and resources, state schools will struggle to close the gap.

As West Ham boss Sam Allardyce pointed out last year, if blame is to be apportioned for non-sports specialist state school teachers not devoting more extra-curricular hours to sport, it lies much closer to home for Cameron:

Since Margaret Thatcher stopped teachers being paid extra money for coaching sports after school, all sporting activities have diminished on a competitive basis… Until we wake up and realise how important school sport is to our kids we will never repair the damage.”

And as Andy Burnham tweeted:

“After-school matches dried up in 80s. School sports co-ordinators were instructed to revive them.”

Cameron and his chums can blame state schools all they like – but if it really is all about attitude and not money, resources and opportunity, why doesn’t his beloved Eton sell off all its playing fields, courts, pools, courses, lakes…

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12 Responses to “Cameron blames teachers over school sport – ignoring his cuts and playing field sell-offs”

  1. treborc

    Well lets hope labour wins the next election then, if it’s anything like the last period they were in, the school sell off of playing fields should see the end of school s[port.

  2. Mr. Sensible

    How convenient for Mr Cameron…

  3. Newsbot9

    Standard Tory policy.

    1. Remove funding.
    2. Blame the people you removed the funding from.
    3. ????
    4. Profit! (for the Tories buddies)

  4. ExRSM

    Cameron is chronically referring to the mess he inherited. He inherited an excellent sports system for kids. We fund it by buying lottery tickets. Osborne wants to hijack the funds and blame teachers. We’ll kick them out soon anyway, but let’s get a Dedicated Sports Lottery Fund for Kids and have it administered separately. If we can’t trust the Pollys, in many cases with their childhood sports included in their Posh Scool Fees, let’s insist on a fund they cannot touch. A registered Charitable Trust. And whar sort of clown would make this announcement the day we break our record for Golds! Cameron’s political acumen seems to involve both feet in big mouth!

  5. treborc

    It’s the same as labour did or do you not remember the silly argument of labour, winning and losing is not good for sports. I had to tell children I was coaching in football, that yes you scored ten goals, but it was a draw.

    I then coached children in other sports since PE teachers had not been employed and had to work out how children could not win or lose.

    Then we saw the changing of the education and less and less sports being done, only one school in my area now has a sports day, and this has been like this for ten years now.

    Education education education, of course it spin.

    I was a coach at two schools for wheelchair sports, and three schools for non disabled, I’ve got a FA coaching badge, which stated McDonald’s qualified FA coach, nothing like making money from selling coaches, I ripped the badge off and wore my FA coaching badge.

    I use to get £500 a year to pay for petrol and a few bits and bobs, along came Brown and cut it to £30 a year, saying the money has to be directed to the Olympics these games takes priorities, which is fine I had to give up coaching as it got to expensive, and also they told me I had to wear the McDonald’s Track suit, which was to advertise crap food when I was telling kids not to eat burgers under Labour so called healthy eating.

    But hell McDonald’s kept the elite sports going

  6. treborc

    Labour are not in power are they the Tories are so the Tories take the limelight

  7. Newsbot9

    Stop playing the fool. You know I’m not a Labourite.

    You refuse to consider alternatives, so I have no sympathy for you either.

  8. JC

    I don’t know if anyone’s noticed, but the Tories have only been in power for 2 years. Some might say it’s still too long, but our Olympic success is down to both the previous administrations, Labour and Conservative. John Major laid down the conditions for success with lottery funding etc. The Labour government allowed private schools to create winners.

  9. Newsbot9

    Of course, diverting cash from school sports to the Olympics sponsors is a “win” in your book. Sigh.

  10. greena

    we have let our chıldren down. when ı went to school ın the 50’s we had p.e.very regularly ındoors and out. football ,crıcket ,athletıcs etc were the norm. schools playıng schools,county teams. we have sold off our chıldrens playıng fıelds and now wonder why out chıldren are p.e. teachers to do what they are good at.wake up and smell the coffee you nıtwıts,you dont deserve to serve our chıldren

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