HC Deb 15 March 1999 vol 327 cc444-6W
Mr. Pendry

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans the Government have to increase the availability of after-school sports provision. [75721]

Mr. Banks

There are a range of initiatives designed to increase the availability of after-school sports provision.

Through the New Opportunities Fund (NOF) we have committed £400 million of National Lottery money to out of school hours activities during the current licence period to September 2001. Of this, £180 million has been committed to education activities, £200 million to child care, and £20 million to projects combining child care and education. Out of school hours education projects should involve at least half of all secondary schools, at least a quarter of all primary schools, and at least half of all special schools by 2001. Out of school child care projects should provide places for 865,000 children by 2003.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has also announced an extra £400 million for the New Opportunities Fund between now and 2001. We have consulted on how this money should be spent and have proposed that part of the additional amount should be committed to an expansion of the existing out of school hours initiative, to enhance the contribution made by summer schools not only to literacy, numeracy but also opportunities for sport.

The Policy Directions issued to NOF ensure that it takes into account relevant national and local strategies in relation to each initiative. For out of school hours learning this includes "Extending Opportunity: a national framework for study support" (in England) and any similar guidance produced elsewhere. Study support is learning activity outside normal lessons and embraces many activities, including sports, games and adventurous outdoor activities.

The National Lottery Act 1998 required NOF to draw up a strategic plan containing its assessment of needs and its priorities in dealing with them, on which it must consult the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. This ensures that there is a proper strategy for distributing Lottery proceeds. No specific targets have been allocated to NOF for providing physical exercise opportunities at after-school clubs, but in reviewing NOF's strategic plan we shall ensure that the projects it supports promote young people's well-being through a range of activities, including sport and creative activities.

The TOP programmes are continuing to prove a valuable resource in enhancing the games element of the PE curriculum. Sport England, together with the Youth Sport Trust, are working with 126 Local Education Authorities and have put equipment and education/training into 10,000 schools. Sport England has provided funding of £1.8 million to support this delivery.

In addition to its extensive range of revenue programmes for young people, Sport England is committed to the Community Sports Co-ordinators. The Co-ordinators will act as a catalyst to assist young people to take maximum advantage of continued participation in sport by substantially improving the network between school, club and community.

The Lottery Awards for All, a unique small grants scheme, will be focused on groups who have missed out in the past. It will allow all distributors to give out grants of between £500 and £5,000 for capital revenue projects which involve people in their community and encourage school-club links. It will bring people together to enjoy sports and other activities.