School sport returned to the spotlight on 9 February at the Youth Sport Trust’s National Conference in Telford International Centre, where Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, confirmed the Government’s commitment to a new strand of school sport funding.
Hunt used his keynote speech on the first day of the conference to confirm funding for a nationwide School Games initiative, originally announced in June 2010.
In a fresh announcement, the Secretary of State pledged further funding from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Department of Health to pay for 450 new roles to work three days a week as School Games Organisers.
The role of the new School Games Organisers will be to establish the School Games in their areas, supporting as many schools as possible to set up intra- and inter-school competitions and link schools to clubs.
Schools will have the option to add to this funding and potentially increase the days worked by the School Games Organisers.
Steve Grainger, CEO of Youth Sport Trust, said: “It is hoped that many existing Competition Managers and Partnership Development Managers (PDMs) will apply for or transition into these roles.”
The Secretary of State recognised that recent months have been challenging and paid tribute to the “extraordinary commitment and dedication” of those working within school sport. He has pledged to provide further information as soon as possible on today’s announcement.
The original School Games funding from the DCMS and the National Lottery was allocated to establish a nationwide tournament to boost the numbers of young people taking part in competitive sport across the country.
Despite speculation that the British Olympic Association might take on responsibility for the revamped games, the Youth Sport Trust will continue to run the national initiative, scheduled for launch in 2012.
The Games will involve schools competing at local level before going through to national finals. The four linked levels, above, feature county championships at level 3.
The Youth Sport Trust is working with the Government, Sport England and National Governing Bodies of Sport to develop these plans further, and is currently operating pilot schemes in nine areas. Under the scheme, schools will be encouraged to stage competitions in at least four of the 10 pilot sports. The sports are:
- rugby union
There will also be a focus on five disability sports: polybat, table cricket, new age kurling, boccia and wheelchair basketball.
For more information and any queries about the School Games announcement, please contact the Youth Sport Trust dedicated network support service at firstname.lastname@example.org