HC Deb 14 February 1991 vol 185 cc986-7
4. Mr. Harry Greenway

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on sport in schools in Northern Ireland.

Dr. Mawhinney

Physical education, which embraces sports activities and games, presently forms a common but voluntary element of the primary and secondary curricula in Northern Ireland. From next September, physical education is to become a compulsory part of the Northern Ireland curriculum. My right hon. and noble Friend the Paymaster General is currently considering advice from the Northern Ireland Curriculum Council on the content of the programme of study for this subject.

Mr. Greenway

I congratulate my hon. Friend on the fact that physical education and games are to become a compulsory part of the curriculum. Can he assure us that such activities will be suitably geared to the ability of each individual boy and girl, and can he say how well Northern Ireland schools are doing in out-of-school games and physical education on Saturdays and in the evenings?

Dr. Mawhinney

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his comments and for the constructive interest that he takes in these matters. Physical education is obviously geared to the abilities of the individual child. My hon. Friend asked about games out of school hours. He will know that Northern Ireland schools have a proud record of sporting activity and achievement. Although I do not have the figures to prove it, I would guess that, given the size of the population in Northern Ireland, we probably produce greater sporting excellence than any other part of the United Kingdom.

Mr. Trimble

May I direct the Minister's attention to another aspect of training and education and ask him to consult the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to see what steps can be taken to retrain the 140 workers at C. S. Brooks—a factory in my constituency—

Mr. Speaker

Order. The question is about sport.

Dr. Mawhinney

I have heard what the hon. Gentleman said, as has my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State, but the question is about sport in schools.

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