School Sport

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28th November 1994.

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Photo of Peter Hain Peter Hain , Neath 12:00 am, 28th November 1994

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what extra provision he plans for school sport.

Photo of Mr Rod Richards Mr Rod Richards , Clwyd North West

May I first congratulate the hon. Gentleman on the performance of his countrymen on Saturday, when they defeated Wales at the national stadium?

The revised national curriculum will strengthen the place of sport within the curriculum. It will ensure that games are taught to all pupils of compulsory school age including, for the first time, pupils aged 14 to 16. Substantial support for the introduction of the national curriculum, including physical education, is being provided through grants. Sport is not confined to the statutory curriculum. Good schools provide pupils with opportunities for sport outside lessons.

Photo of Peter Hain Peter Hain , Neath

I remind the Minister that my countrymen lost on Saturday, although the Wales team played very well.

With your indulgence, Madam Speaker, I shall refer briefly to the fact that one of my constituents is struggling for his life as a result of a vicious racist attack. I hope that the Minister will respond positively to my request for an official inquiry into the rising tide of racist and Nazi violence in south Wales.

The Minister speaks with a forked tongue on school sport. The Government, through the Prime Minister, apparently wish to boost school sport. However, the number of physical education teachers in Wales has been cut by 500 in recent years, as the Government's own figures show—a saving of —12 million. How can we expect to produce world-beating rugby, soccer and other sporting sides when the Government are savaging school sport, reducing teacher morale and cutting education provision? It is not possible. The Minister should respond by providing extra funding for school sport.

Photo of Mr Rod Richards Mr Rod Richards , Clwyd North West

We wish the hon. Gentleman's constituent well in light of the alleged attack on him.

The hon. Gentleman should try to interpret rather more intelligently the statistics which he has been bandying around the media for some time. In Wales, the reduction in the number of PE teachers almost exactly reflects the proportionate reduction in the number of pupils. In January this year, there was only one vacancy for a PE teacher in a secondary school in Wales.

The hon. Gentleman referred to the importance of sport to schools in Wales. Yes, the Government attach great importance to sport in schools in Wales, because games teach young people how to work together as a team, how to co-operate with each other, how to strive towards a common goal and how to be magnanimous in victory and gracious in defeat—all attributes that are absent in the Labour party.