Cuts to Redbridge school sport ‘devastating’

THOUSANDS of Redbridge children will suffer at the hands of a “devastating” government cut which will see schools lose funding for PE and sport, say worried teachers.

The plug will be pulled on School Sports Partnerships (SSPs) next year, meaning an end to many after-school clubs and competitions as well as culling training given to primary school teachers to teach PE.

SSP staff fear their hard work to double the amount of time primary school children spend doing PE each week from one to two hours could now be reversed because of the funding axe.

Kay Wilding, manager of the Caterham SSP, one of two in the borough, said: “There will be nobody there to organise the competitions. The network we have created between all the schools will be lost.”

She added: “Through PE and sport, children develop self-discipline and confidence and they interact with other young people. It also boosts their own health.”

Hundreds of names have been put on petitions at schools across the borough aiming to put pressure on Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, to reverse his decision.

Debbie Wiles, headteacher of Gilbert Colvin Primary School, Strafford Avenue, Clayhall, said her pupils would “suffer dramatically” under the cut, because they get to take part in a host of cross-school competitions and an average of six after-school clubs a week. This would have to end if the axe falls on the partnerships.

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She added staff, who have to teach a mix of subjects, learn a lot from partnership PE teachers who go into schools each week teaching their skills.

The Caterham and Mayfield SSPs – formed in 2002 and 2005 respectively – also have young leaders who help develop playtime activities and assist younger peers in learning a host of different sports.