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School sports provision requirements dropped

Targets requiring children to take part in at least two hours of sport at school each week have now been dropped by the Department for Education, the Telegraph has reported. 

The DfE has scrapped the requirement, saying it wants headteachers to have more freedom to organise physical activity at their schools. This is part of a wider push to cut red tape, the department suggested.

The news follows calls for Government to use the legacy of the Olympics to improve sports provisions in schools. The culture secretary Jeremy Hunt admitted: “I think at the moment school sport provision is patchy in some places, and we need to do what we can to make sure that the very best examples are spread throughout the whole country.” 

It also emerged this week that education secretary Michael Gove has approved the sale of 21 school playing fields since the last general election. 

The Youth Sport Trust criticised the decision to scrap the sports census that schools were required to complete under the last government. 

A spokesperson said: “Measuring the number of young people participating in two hours of school sport did give a clear indication of participation levels in sport in schools across the country. There is still some great work going on in schools but it is now more difficult to know exactly where provision is good and where it needs to be improved.” 

The DfE stated: “Instead of handing down target and quotas from Whitehall, we have chosen to trust teachers and parents when it comes to deciding how much sport pupils should do. 

“We want to strip away the red tape that takes up too much time teachers should be using to teach, run sports clubs or plan lessons. In the past, schools were heavily over-burdened with paperwork and form-filling.” 

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