News story

Competitive sport for children at the heart of Olympics Legacy

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

PM announces all primary school pupils to play competitive team sports - school games aim to inspire all children to take part.

The Prime Minister David Cameron has today announced that promoting competitive team and individual sports will be at the heart of the new primary school curriculum.

The Prime Minister believes that Government has its part to play to use the inspiration of the Olympics to foster a culture of more competitive sports in schools. He wants a whole school sporting ethos that gives pupils the skills to enjoy and take part in sport inside and outside of school, including local leagues and community and club sports.

The current primary curriculum is too long and prescriptive and refers to concepts like ‘games activities’, not recognised and recognisable sports.
The new national PE curriculum, to be published in draft in the autumn, will require every primary school child to take part in competitive team sport.

The PE programme of study, which will be slimmer and more focused, aims to:

  • enable pupils to be physically active for sustained periods of time
  • develop pupils’ competence in a broad range of physical activities
  • provide opportunities for pupils to engage in competitive sports and activities and help pupils to lead healthy and active lifestyles

It will include a requirement for all primary school children to take part in competitive team sports, like football, netball and hockey, and will include team outdoor and adventurous activity. It will also teach older children to compare their performances to achieve their personal best for the first time. A commitment to teach all children to swim will remain in the curriculum.

The Government has also run the first School Games this year, with more than half the schools in the country taking part and the finals held at the Olympic venues. The School Games are a key part of our approach to encouraging competitive sport in schools. Our aim is for all schools to participate and we will work with British Olympic Association and British Paralympic Association to give every school and every pupil the opportunity to take part in the Olympic, Paralympic and other mass participation sports on offer.

The Government’s plans for Olympics legacy - set out in ‘Beyond 2012′ published in March - have been described by Jacques Rogge as ‘a blueprint for future Games hosts’. They include £1bn over five years for youth sport, 1,000 local sports venues to be upgraded and 6,000 links developed between sports clubs and schools - so that every secondary school will have the chance of a link with a proper sports club. There are already 5,000 links set up and we will now expand this to cover an increasing number of primary schools.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

The idea of an Olympics legacy has been built into the DNA of London 2012 from the very beginning. Now the London Olympics has been a great success, we need to use the inspiration of the Games to get children playing sport more regularly.

I want to use the example of competitive sport at the Olympics to lead a revival of competitive sport in primary schools. We need to end the ‘all must have prizes’ culture and get children playing and enjoying competitive sports from a young age, linking them up with sports clubs so they can pursue their dreams. That’s why the new national curriculum in the autumn will include a requirement for primary schools to provide competitive sport.