Fears over competitive sport drive

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A LEADING headteacher has voiced concerns over the Government’s emphasis on competitive sport - arguing that it could ‘alienate a generation’ if taken too far.

Geoff Barton, of King Edward VI School, in Bury St Edmunds, stressed the Government needs to be ‘really careful’ with its measures to make competitive team sports compulsory for all primary school children.

He said: “We want youngsters doing more sport and then going into clubs but lots of us know from experience that if it’s just about competition you can just end up alienating a generation.”

The new curriculum would require all primary children to compete in sports such as football, rugby and hockey.

The move was proposed by the Prime Minister following the London 2012 Olympics.

Mr Barton noted the plans appear similar to the Schools Sports Partnership programme, which was axed by the Coalition two years ago.

The head, whose school co-ordinated a sports partnership for 27 other schools in the area, said: “It does seem a little bit rich. It meant everybody whether it was an upper or primary school was getting the specialist coaches in a range of different sports to get more children doing PE.

“There’s a bit of frustration that he wants to reinvent what was doing extremely well. I think that’s come back to haunt the Government.”

King Edward VI has since been working with its pyramid schools to try to provide extra sport through sports leadership students. Mr Barton added: “We were all a little bit disappointed that David Cameron chose these two glorious weeks of British success to appear to start criticising education and particularly primary teachers.”

His words were echoed by Graham White, secretary for the Suffolk branch of the National Union of Teachers. He said: “Competitive sport is the wrong focus. There needs to be a concentration on all types of sport and activities so all pupils can access a healthy curriculum.”