Only half of kids compete in sports at school

November 14th, 2007 - 2:20 am ICT by admin  
The survey showed that just 58 per cent of children play against other teams within their school in sports such as football, rugby and netball.

For the remaining children, the only exposure to competitive activities is likely to be an annual school sports day.

The new findings were found in a major new research into the state of sport in schools.

During the study, it was found that 86 per cent of children are getting the recommended minimum two hours of physical education at school each week.

However, the figure for adolescents was markedly lower, with just 67 per cent for 15-year-olds and 63 per cent for 16-year-olds.

With England’s rugby team preparing for the world cup final, it was found that only one in three schools fail to offer rugby union.

Only 66 percent of schools offered to coach students in the sport.

The survey added that 33 per cent of schools offer rugby league, either alongside or instead of rugby union.

Selling playing fields has been blamed for the failure of many schools to offer traditional sports.

The latest survey has revealed that more than 2 million youngsters fail to play in school teams despite repeated promises from ministers to return competition to the heart of school sport.

The fastest-growing sports were found to be “multi-skill” clubs, dance, swimming and golf.

On Oct 15, ministers claimed that the survey of 21,742 schools, by TNS Social Research, showed a “quiet revolution” in school sport.

They said competitive sport was “on the increase” and 98 per cent of schools held at least one sports day during 2006-07.

They also said that a flagship target for 85 per cent of pupils to take part in two hours of school sport a week by 2008 had been met a year early.

However, the survey showed that participation rates in secondary schools are just 80 per cent, against 91 per cent in primaries.

And only 70 per cent of pupils were given their two hours of sport during timetabled lessons. The remaining 16 per cent “topped up” their participation during after-school clubs, allowing ministers to boast of reaching the target.

Liberal Democrat culture, media and sport spokesman Don Foster said: “The Government must be careful not to exaggerate its achievements.

“Under the surface lie a series of unfulfilled promises, shifting goalposts and questionable claims.

“Many of Labour’s promises for sports provision simply have not materialised and others look extremely dubious.

Conservative culture spokesman Jeremy Hunt said: “Rather than over-spinning the statistics, the Government should clarify how exactly they will hit the new target of five hours of sport per week by 2010,” Foster added. (ANI)

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