Coe calls for ‘grown-up’ debate on school sport

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A fed-up Lord Coe has called for the controversial issue of school sport to be dealt with in a “grown-up” way.

Having “a more consensual cross-party approach” to school sport was the one thing he would have liked to have done differently in the preparations for the London 2012 Games.

The London 2012 chairman and new chair of the British Olympic Association told the London Assembly yesterday: “I wish we had approached the issue about school sport and sustainable school sport in the state system in a more consensual way.”

Given the success of the London 2012 Games and the role models it created, he said he found it “frustrating” that this issue is still a point of contention.

There is still a task in “clearly figuring out with a grown-up cross-party consensus on how you deliver good quality physical education – and this is not a knock to any particular party”, he added.

Progress may have been hamstrung by a range of issues, including “unrealistic targets” for the amount of school sports both within and outside the curriculum, but now “we need to deal with it in a grown-up way”, he argued.

Current challenges include how to make the most of the community spirit shown by the Games Maker volunteers. Perhaps they could be used in school clubs and voluntary organisations, he suggested.

A shake-up of the funding mechanism with a view to working with PE teachers to help drive forward competitive sport may also be needed.