School Sport

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 Mr Keith Darvill Mr Keith Darvill Labour, Upminster 2:30, 26 March 2001

If he will make a statement on his Department's support for sport in schools.

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

My Department is working closely with the Department for Education and Employment on school sport initiatives, which will improve the quality of physical education and school sport. For example, £581 million of new opportunities fund money will be put into school sports facilities with an element of community use, and by 2004 we will invest £120 million in a network of 1,000 school sports co-ordinators.

Photo of Mr Keith Darvill Mr Keith Darvill Labour, Upminster

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. I welcome the funding from the Government and the national lottery for the sports co-ordinator programme, which is useful in linking local schools and sports clubs. Other associations are also helping to fund the programme. Will my hon. Friend assure me that the programme will be extended as quickly as possible to benefit local areas such as Havering? I am sure that the scheme will prove popular.

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

We want to roll out this programme as quickly as possible. We want to get it right and working properly. The first 140 co-ordinators were appointed last September, and the second round was announced in February. Furthermore, £3.9 million has been allocated for 55 co-ordinators, 12 partnership managers and 249 primary link teachers. By 2004, 250 partnerships will be established with 1,000 secondary schools and up to 6,000 primary schools. The initiative will not involve just one sports co-ordinator for one school, but will establish partnerships, especially with sports clubs in the area, with local authority sports development officers and with the governing bodies of sport.

It has been terrifically useful that many of the governing bodies have got involved and have worked with us closely. They include the Lawn Tennis Association--a sport that my hon. Friend is interested in. We can make this happen if people work together and do not go off and do their own thing, as in the past. That is the beauty and importance of this new arrangement for school sports co-ordinators.

Photo of Mr David Prior Mr David Prior Chief Executive & Deputy Chair, Conservative Party

The Minister may remember that a few months ago I handed a petition to the Secretary of State on behalf of Fakenham high school and the community of Fakenham in support of a new sports complex. Will she give that project her full support?

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

The hon. Gentleman would not expect me to give my full support now, as I do not have the details to hand. I promise him that I shall look into the matter and write to him about that project.