HC Deb 08 March 1996 vol 273 cc387-90W
Mr. Garnier

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what progress has been made on implementing the initiatives set out in the policy statement "Sport: Raising the Game". [20382]

Mr. Sproat

Since the publication of the statement last July, the Department of National Heritage, the Department for Education and Employment, the Sports Council and other organisations have been working on the implementation of its initiatives. Already, significant progress has been made in a number of areas.

In schools, a revised physical education curriculum with greater emphasis on team games was introduced in August 1995.

The Department of Education and Employment is consulting on the inclusion of information on sporting aims, provision and achievements in annual reports and prospectuses, with a view to implementation from the 1996–97 academic year.

The new Office for Standards in Education framework for inspection will ensure that inspectors will look at team games and sport as well as PE in the national curriculum as part of all school inspections.

The Ofsted survey of good practice in school PE and sport was published in December, and a summary was sent to all schools in January 1996.

Ofsted is also carrying out an audit of initial teacher training for PE. Its report is due in the summer, and will assist with the development of performance indicators.

The Department for Education and Employment has also carried out a survey of sporting provision in schools, the results of which are expected in April. In addition, the Sports Council has distributed 35,000 copies of its "Why PE" leaflet to support the PE profession.

The responses to the consultation paper published in July on the sportsmark and gold star award schemes, which was sent to all secondary schools, have been analysed. The Sports Council is now preparing detailed guidance on the implementation and assessment of both schemes. The aim is to have the schemes up and running in secondary schools in the 1996–97 academic year and in primary schools, following a further consultation exercise, in the 1997–98 academic year.

The Sports Council's working group on coaching schemes has been set up and will report in April.

The Sports Council is also carrying out audits of available governing body courses and on the number of teachers working on primary and secondary education.

The Department for Education and Employment has consulted on the playing fields elements of the Education (School Premises) Regulations being retained and the regulations were laid in February.

In addition, the Department of the Environment issued a consultation paper on 15 January on the Sports Council becoming a statutory consultee on all planning applications affecting playing fields. Comments were invited by 15 March.

In order to stimulate more good quality lottery applications from schools, the Sports Council provided additional information and advice via publications and roadshows in November.

The council will identify gaps in provision through a facilities planning model, and has produced new guidelines for deprived areas. Funding levels have also been raised to 90 per cent. for these areas. A progress report will be produced shortly and action begun in April 1996. The Department of National Heritage has also sent leaflets to all schools in the UK providing information on how they can benefit from lottery funds. The Institute of Sports Sponsorship is consulting the Department for Education and Employment on ways of promoting greater business sponsorship of school sport.

The working group on university sports scholarships, which is being chaired by Sir Roger Bannister, commenced work in October, has been meeting regularly, and will report in April.

The Sports Council's consultation paper, setting out what the structure and content of the British Academy of Sport might be, was published on 5 December. The closing date for responses was 31 January and an analysis of these is currently being carried out by independent consultants on behalf of the council. Once the structure and content of the academy have been agreed, bids will be invited to establish the academy. The aim is to invite bids in the spring.

The Sports Council has also met the Sports Aid Foundation, British Olympic Association and British Paralympic Association to discuss the co-ordination of support for elite athletes. In addition, the Secretary of State has written to the Sports Council proposing changes to the way in which sports lottery money is distributed. The proposals include helping talented young people, including elite sports people, to develop their skills.

Between now and July, progress will be made on several other action points, including: from April, the Sports Council will be allocating an additional £1 million to provide opportunities for teachers to gain coaching qualifications. Priorities will be decided by the council's coaching working group. The council is also considering the details of the £2 million fund for promoting links between schools and clubs. Sportsmatch will also be earmarking £1 million for schools projects from April.

In April, the Sports Council's national junior sports programme which is being run in conjunction with the Youth Sport Trust will commence. The programme is designed to provide around 4 million children with sports equipment, qualified coaches and places to play. The scheme will cost around £12 million over three years with £7.7 million of lottery money being made available, £2 million to £3 million of grant-in-aid from the Sports Council and some private sector funding. British Telecom has already announced that it will be sponsoring the programme with a total of £750,000 over three years.

The regional offices of the new Sports Council for England will be introducing programmes to improve school-club links in April. Also in April the Sports Council will be publishing revised planning guidelines for governing bodies with a strengthened section on youth sport, which will further encourage the promotion of school-club links.

The Further Education Funding Council is currently drafting a report on sporting provision in the FE sector, which will be published in the next few months. Further education institutions will also publish details of their sporting facilities and the sporting opportunities available to their students from the 1996–97 academic year. The Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals and the Standing Conference of Principals are recommending to their members that higher education institutions should publish details of the sporting facilities and the sporting opportunities available to their students from the 1996–97 academic year.

The Sports Council is giving advice to governing bodies on planning, including planning for youth sport, and its grant assessment panel is assessing these plans with particular attention to governing bodies having targets for athlete support. An improved monitoring system will be in place by April 1996 which will give more detailed information on governing body performance. The council is also drawing up new governing body planning guidelines with special reference to provision for youth sport.

I am pleased that various governing bodies have recently produced programmes for the improvement of their sport and to increase sporting opportunities:

  1. (i) the Football League has designated this season as "School Year" and aims to strengthen links between member clubs and their local schools through, for example, a competition for secondary schools organised by local league clubs, sponsored by Auto Windscreens with matching funding from the £1 million Sportsmatch has set aside for schools projects;
  2. (ii) the Lawn Tennis Association's plan for the development of tennis in Great Britain 1996 to 2001 which looks at the part which the LTA, its county associations, clubs, schools, further and higher education institutions and local authorities can play in expanding participation in tennis, encouraging regular competition in the game and, ultimately, producing world-class tennis players;
  3. (iii) the Rugby Football Union's review of student rugby which aims to encourage maximum participation by students in rugby union;
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  5. (iv) the Football Associations of England, Wales and Scotland have also combined on the Coca-Cola Football Crazy initiative which is making available professional coaching and skills training to around 300,000 children and is free to all.

A follow-up policy statement, to be published in July, will report progress on all action points from "Sport: Raising the Game" and on new initiatives following on from them, as well as other relevant new initiatives.

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