29/08/2008

Minister Sets Olympic Ambition For School Sport

Culture Secretary Andy Burnham today set out his ambition to offer coaching and competition for all by 2012 as part of plans to offer young people five hours of sport a week.

Speaking at the third UK School Games in Bath, Burnham said by 2012 high quality coaching and competition will be on offer to all school children in all the main sports like cricket, tennis and athletics.

He also said that the £1.5 billion investment into school sport since 2002 - roughly five times the amount invested in developing medal winners in the same period - was beginning to reap the same rewards as those seen in elite sport.

His comments came as Sport England announced the first phase of government plans to offer young people more sport outside of school. The £36 million 'Sport Unlimited' scheme is designed to attract into sport those young people who do not take part in sport regularly.

It will set up 4,000 'taster sessions' across England in non-traditional sports, including cycling, sailing, kayaking, American football and dodgeball. The nationwide scheme will be available from the beginning of this new school term.

The fund is part of the £100 million extra funding for young people's sport announced by Prime Minister Gordon Brown last year, bringing total investment into school sport over the next three years to £780 million. The extra investment was put in to offer all 5-16 year olds five hours of government funded sport a week, two in school and three out.

All 16-19 year olds will be offered three hours of out of school sport a week.

(JM)

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