Cut to sport funding concerns staff at Exmouth schools

PARENTS of children at an Exmouth school are being urged to sign a petition designed to fight the government against plans to scrap funding for sport partnerships.

Chancellor George Osborne announced as part of the recent Comprehensive Spending Review a move to cut previously ring-fenced funding – a decision which could see several extra curricular sports activities dropped across Exmouth from next April.

The decision has prompted Exeter Road Primary School to ask as many parents and carers of pupils to sign a petition which is being circulated nationally within the education sector.

The petition will be presented to Michael Gove MP, the Secretary of State for Education, in early December.

Mrs Alderson, deputy head at Exeter Road Primary, said: “The school has valued the support of the East Devon School Sport Partnership in supporting and driving the increase of high quality PE and sport.

“This (decision) will directly affect your child.”

The aim of the East Devon School Sport Partnership include developing extracurricular sport and increase opportunities available to young people aged between five and 19 to take part in physical activities.

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The partnership incorporates seven partner secondary schools within the district and 38 primary schools.

Mrs Alderson said the impact from this decision would mean initiatives and programmes such as cycle proficiency schemes and sport coaches visiting schools could disappear.

She added: “As a school we wish to continue our partnership and enable our pupils to take up these opportunities and benefit from support to deliver high quality PR and school sport.

“It is envisaged that with the right amount of publicity and commitment, our partnerships could get up to one million signatures for you people to hand to Mr Gove.

“If we can achieve this we hope the government will listen to the public concerns and rethink their plans.”

A petition sheet will be located in the school reception for parents and carers to sign.

“We are hoping that you will allow your child to sign the petition as we feel very strongly that the government’s decision to cut the funding will impact greatly on your child’s future opportunities for development, progression and enjoyment in sport.”

Tony Priest, head of the Exmouth Learning Community group, agreed with Mrs Alderson that the drop in funding was worrying.

He said: “The withdrawl of this funding will mean there will fewer opportunities for inter-school competitions, fewer opportunities for staff training and fewer vital intervention programmes to support those young people who are not that into sport.”