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How does Jeremy Corbyn intend to tackle sport in school?

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Since Jeremy Corbyn's election as leader of the Labour Party last month, there has been mounting speculation regarding whether the Labour Party has done the right thing. Based on Corbyn's latest ideas on education, Newitts makes some predictions below regarding what Corbyn might do in the future to tackle the subject of sport in schools.


What Milliband promised

Through Labour's new policy, 'More Sport for All', pre-election, Labour was determined to see "everyone, from children through to the elderly, do more sport and physical activity" and the party made, "a commitment to improve participation in sport in every part of the country". This included improving the provisions for sport within schools and making sure that pupils spent at least 2 hours of the school week participating in sports led activities.

Corbyn's policies for schools

Since Corbyn was elected he has outlined his policies on education. We take a look below at some of the key policies and how they may be able to directly affect the provision of sport in schools in the future.

Building schools for the future

Corbyn has focussed on Labour's existing 'Building Schools for the Future' programme. He refers to the programme's visibility in Islington whereby every school now has more teachers, support workers, computers and better play spaces than 10 years ago.

How could this affect sport in schools? With more teachers and support workers in place, more time could be freed up to enable teachers to focus on sport and its importance in schools. The improved play space in Islington could mean better access to a wider range of sports for pupils who may previously have been restricted to smaller play areas.

National Education Service (NES)

Corbyn has spoken candidly about how he wants to establish a National Education Service which would be modelled on the NHS. The service would ensure lifelong learning that is “every bit as vital and free at the point of use as our NHS”. The service would start by offering universal free childcare, provide more power to local authorities, introduce a minimum wage for apprentices and put more money into adult learning.

How could this affect sport in schools? An NES could offer stability and collective nationwide support for the public service which in turn could have a huge effect on equality within schools. Even the most deprived pupils could benefit from a service where every child has access to the same opportunities, not just in sport, but right across the board.

Private schools

Corbyn intends to strip private schools of their charitable status as he feels that many private schools are failing to share their facilities with those in the state sector.

How could this affect sport in schools? It could indicate the future sharing of sports facilities between private and state schools which could provide pupils with the chance to sample sports within the curriculum that state schools simply cannot afford to currently offer.  At a conference in Brighton, new Shadow Education Secretary Lucy Powell said: "I want to make sure that private schools play their part in offering facilities and their experiences in their school to other local schools."

Grammar schools

Jeremy Corbyn and Lucy Powell are currently under under pressure from within the Labour party to announce plans to scrap the 11-plus and end grammar school status for the country’s 164 remaining state selective schools.

How could this affect sport in schools? Corbyn has since spoken about the need to "be bolder about all children having an equal chance, proud of the idea of first-rate community comprehensive education and encourage a diverse mix of pupils in all our schools." Abolishing the 11-plus would mean that all pupils would receive an equal chance to benefit from the improved resources currently provided at many grammar schools across the UK.

The future of sport in schools

Following Milliband's defeat at the 2015 election, his subsequent resignation, and Corbyn's 59.5% landslide victory to become party leader, it is clear that the Labour Party desperately sought change. While Corbyn has vowed to honour some of the more successful measures Milliband has already put in place within schools, it is clear he is also keen to take more drastic measures to create, what he believes is a more stable future for the current education system.

What does this mean for sport in schools? The party could offer better play spaces for sport, better equipment for sport, better opportunities for pupils to partake in sport, more time for teachers to allocate to sport, and better access to sport through the abolition of the 11-plus and by encouraging private schools to share their facilities.

Do YOU think Corbyn is capable of changing the future for sport in schools? We'd like to hear your thoughts.


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