School sport in the state versus private sectors – the great divide?

Lord Moynihan has said that it is unacceptable that more than half of GB’s medals came from just 7% of the population who are privately educated – though state-educated Bradley Wiggins, who has won more medals than any other GB Olympian, is a notable exception. Now he wants a ‘step change’ in school sports so that children can follow the stars of London 2012.

The Chairman of the British Olympic Association has called for an overhaul of school sport policy, the BBC reports. He said that Olympic sport should aim to have the same ratio of state to private pupils as football: “The balance of professional football is that around 7% of players come from the private sector, which is an absolute mirror image of society. That should be the case in every single sport …..and that is something that every government should strive for. The way you do it is you focus on a sports policy that is primarily geared to providing a sporting opportunity.”

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has admitted that school sports provision is ‘patchy’, and that ministers want to boost participation. This followed a call from Lord Moynihan for a new government strategy and better facilities, The Daily Mail reports.  He said: “It is in schools that we can translate inspiration into participation. We need better facilities, more access to facilities, not closing playing fields, and giving the young people of this country an opportunity to take the inspiration they are feeling the length and breadth of the country and to turn that into greater participation.”

Lord Moynihan’s call came after a warning from Dame Tessa Jowell, a former Olympics Minister, that the London Olympics’ legacy is being put at risk by the coalition cutting funding for school sports.

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