HC Deb 19 January 1967 vol 739 cc633-4
22. Mr. James Johnson

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on his policy towards the playing of games in schools.

Mr. Denis Howell

Physical education like other parts of the curriculum is primarily a matter for local education authorities and schools. It is generally accepted that the curriculum should include a balanced programme of physical education, which would include games, and I agree with this view. I also believe that pupils should be introduced to as wide a variety of choice in sport and recreation as is practically possible.

Mr. Johnson

As a former "knight of the whistle" will my hon. Friend advise local education authorities to give boys a choice of all codes of football? Is he aware that there has been a sustained campaign for many years by some headmasters to change from one code to another? Will he take the example of Hull, where we play all games—with eleven a side, fifteen a side and, not least, thirteen a side?

Mr. Howell

I know that Hull is doing very well these days. I am constantly advising local authorities about this matter. I agree that choice in matters of leisure and sport is the end product of education.

Mr. Peter Mills

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the great disadvantage of children in primary schools—and I speak as the parent of one; no, two—is that they have no playing fields to play upon? Will he do all he can to see that children in primary schools have the advantage of being able to play games.

Mr. Howell

This is the first time I have heard of a recount in the Chamber itself. As the father of four children, I agree with the hon. Gentleman I think that we need many more sporting facilities so that all primary children have an opportunity to get out into the open and play games.

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