Space for Sports and the Arts Programme

Oral Answers to Questions — Culture, Media and Sport – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 26 March 2001.

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Photo of Ms Oona King Ms Oona King Labour, Bethnal Green and Bow 2:30, 26 March 2001

How the space for sports and the arts programme will benefit schools in the Bethnal Green and Bow constituency.

Photo of Kate Hoey Kate Hoey Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of National Heritage) (Sport)

Under the space for sport and the arts programme, Tower Hamlets local education authority has been allocated £1.25 million, which will fund four projects enabling seven primary schools to benefit, including six in my hon. Friend's constituency.

Photo of Ms Oona King Ms Oona King Labour, Bethnal Green and Bow

I thank my hon. Friend for that extremely welcome reply. In 1997, not only was there no level playing field in British children's access to sports provision, but in my constituency, there was not a single playing field. I therefore found the outburst by Mr. Greenway quite strange.

Given the deprivation in Tower Hamlets, will my hon. Friend ensure that schools in my area will still be allowed to bid for new funding from, for example, the new opportunities fund, so that children in Tower Hamlets can have the same access to and space for sports and the arts as children in the rest of the country?

Photo of Kate Hoey Kate Hoey Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of National Heritage) (Sport)

Yes, my hon. Friend is right. This money will make a great difference to many primary schools across the country, and Members of Parliament in whose constituencies the primary schools will be affected will receive a letter later today. I assure my hon. Friend that, in relation to the new opportunities fund money for school sports, all local education authorities will have something. Clearly, areas such as hers, with its great deprivation, will be looked at again, and I hope that she will equally pleased by the next announcement.

Photo of Crispin Blunt Crispin Blunt Conservative, Reigate

Should there not be more space for sports and the arts inside the national curriculum?

Photo of Kate Hoey Kate Hoey Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of National Heritage) (Sport)

Of course, there is space for sport and the arts within the national curriculum. There is now an entitlement for every young person at school to have two hours of good quality physical education in school sport, either within or outside the curriculum.

As I have pointed out before, the school day is very different in different schools, in terms of what happens inside and outside the curriculum. We need what happens in the curriculum to provide for certain things to happen outside the curriculum as a spin-off. For example, a proper cricket or rugby match cannot be played within curriculum time. We have to ensure that all our youngsters have a proper introduction to physical education in school sport in the curriculum, which can then be used, magnified and enjoyed outside it. We are also keen to see the return of increased competition, which went out of our schools during the 18 years of the previous, Conservative Government.