§ Andy Burnham
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps he is taking to encourage schools to take part in competitive sports fixtures. 
§ Mr. Stephen Twigg
The Government are firmly in favour of competitive school sport. The Physical Education (PE) National Curriculum requires that all pupils are taught competitive games throughout their compulsory schooling. Increasing the quality and amount of competitive school sport is also a key aim of the Government's national PE, School Sport and Club Links strategy.
Spearheading action is the creation of a network of 400 School Sport Partnerships—families of schools—that work together to enhance school sport opportunities. There are already 313 School Sport Partnerships covering 50 per cent. of schools in England, All schools will be within a partnership by 2006. All partnerships deliver a programme of out-of-school hours sports activities, including sports competitions.
The 2003–04 PE, School Sport and Club Links survey—results were published on 29 April and a copy of the report was placed in the House of Commons Library—found that: 96 per cent. of the 6,500 schools taking part held a sports day, in a typical week 22 per cent. of pupils are involved in intra school sports competitions and during the last academic year 33 per cent. of pupils had taken part in inter school sports competitions.