How will the political parties change sport in education?

by Leana Kell
How will the political parties change sport in education?

PlayM8 takes a look at how the current political party policies could affect sport in education across the UK in the future.

The election is now less than a week away and most of the political parties have now released their party manifestos alongside a great deal of speculation from the general public.

Recent figures have revealed that, at present, 10 per cent of children starting primary education at the age of 4 are obese. Experts are calling for more PE lessons at school, but is this feasible looking at the political party's latest manifestos?

PlayM8 takes a look at how the current political party policies could affect sport in education across the UK in the future.

Conservatives

Under the current Conservative government, it was reported in 2014 that primary schools containing around 250 pupils were currently receiving £9,250 a year - enough for around two days a week of a primary teacher or coach's time to dedicate to sport.

In his latest manifesto, David Cameron has promised that a future Conservative Government would protect schools' cash budgets until 2020, describing the measure as "flat cash per pupil". However, the policy will also mean a real-term cut in funding for schools over the next parliament as it does not account for inflation.

Cameron has receded by stating that although funding per pupil will not go up by inflation, schools have proved during the last five years that they can "be more efficient, more effective and they can make their budgets work".

Labour

Labour released a new policy in July 2014 entitled 'More Sport for All'. One of the policies included was to re-introduce two hours of sport for every primary school child - the policy Labour introduced when they were in power, but which was abolished in 2010 by the coalition government.

In the Labour Party's latest manifesto, they have pledged to protect the education budgets from early years through to post-16 education which could have a direct effect on the amount of sport that can be offered in schools in the future. Labour has also bid to ensure all teachers in state schools are qualified - perhaps a hint that primary teachers who are not qualified to teach sport will be replaced by qualified coaches. Labour has also bid to cap class sizes for five, six and seven-year-olds, which would mean more time could be dedicated per pupil to teaching sport.

If Labour wins the 2015 Election, the Party has made a bid to ensure that all school children receive 2 hours minimum sport and PE as well as offering pupils "sports taster days" and more sport in after-school clubs.

Liberal Democrates

The Liberal Democrats have promised the largest raise in the education budget for pupils between the ages of 2 and 19 years to £55 billion by 2020 - £5 billion more than the Conservatives and £2.5 billion more than Labour, whilst protecting education spending per pupil in real terms over the next parliament. The party has explained that the money will fund 70,000 teachers and 10,000 learning support assistants to deal with the increase in pupils.

The Liberal Democrats are campaigning for better quality teachers and smaller class sizes, a bid that could help improve pupils' overall experience whilst at school, and lends itself to providing more time for physical education.

The Party also intends to extend free school meals to all primary schools. This policy goes hand in hand with the promotion of sport in schools - pupils who have access to healthy balanced meals will be more likely to avoid becoming overweight and equally more capable of excelling in sport.

UK Independence Party (UKIP)

One of the policies in UKIP's manifesto is to abolish the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS), despite the party stating "UKIP recognises and values an overarching, unifying British culture".

The DCMS was responsible for the 2012 Olympics in London, a global event which showed off the best Britain has to offer, therefore to consider abolishing this department could have a very negative effect on the role of sport in schools in the future - the Olympics and other sporting events actively encourage children of the future to become involved in a wide variety of different sports.

Scottish National Party (SNP)

The SNP's central belief is Scottish independence. Similar to the other parties, the SNP led by Nicola Sturgeon, wants to continue to build and refurbish schools as well as make progress on smaller class sizes, starting with early years, both of which would improve pupil's access to sport.

Green Party

The Green Party are arguably the most genuinely radical of the main parties suggesting children need not even start school until the age of seven, with free provision before then, a plan which would cost £8bn a year by the end of the parliament.

If this policy was taken up, it could have a detrimental effect on sport in schools. Children would be reliant on parents encouraging sport at home, and the problem we currently have with childhood obesity, could have the potential to be made worse.

 

Why not tell us below which party you think has the potential to impoove sport in schools the most and why?