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Glorious Games put the pressure on to boost support for youth sport
Wednesday, 15 August 2012
Double gold medalist Laura Trott on the track. Photo: David Davies PA
IN the wake of a slew of gold medals rolling into the borough over the past two weeks, there has been growing demand to keep up the medal count at the next Olympic Games and beyond.
The government’s announcement over the weekend that funding for elite athletes is
guaranteed until 2016 came after Team GB finished third in the medal table – behind the USA and China – and here there are calls for more investment in youth sporting programmes.
Speaking to the Advertiser, George Demetriou, who was head of the Gifted and Talented Athletes Programme at Turnford School, in Cheshunt, where double gold medal- winning cyclist Laura Trott was a pupil, said: “Schools have to support elite young athletes and the government should support the schools to do that.
“Over the past two weeks we have seen the power of sport and the more we can get kids into sport, the more medals we can get of our own in future.
“It’s about getting people involved in all the fun of sport. It develops students a lot quicker and really helps in all aspects of their life.”
But despite widespread support for encouraging sport in primary schools, Prime Minister David Cameron has insisted that an Olympic legacy depends on ramping up competitiveness in schools and on teachers volunteering to coach after school – a position which has sparked unease among teaching unions.
A spokesman for the NASUWT said: “Teachers already do a lot of work outside the school day, and to blame teachers for a lack of sport in school is extremely unfair.
“Teachers report they are under a lot of pressure to deliver numeracy and literacy results because of performance tables.
“Primary schools can live or die by those results, so it is understandable if those
subjects are sometimes the main focus of teaching.”
Jan Hickman, Enfield Council’s physical education adviser, agrees that getting young people inspired and enthused is key to future sporting success, rather than launching primary school children into a competitive arena straightaway.
“I think getting young people skilled is vital because that way, if you can go on to play well and feel good about yourself, you will continue to play and then compete,” she told the Advertiser.
“It’s about finding something for everybody. If that needs to be dancing, then great. We need to be able to tell young people it doesn’t need to be hockey or netball. After all, we are all different.”
Copyright Tindle Newspapers Ltd Saturday, 25 May 2013
Other The Games: London Olympics 2012:
Sir Ray Tindle
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