New PE pledge ‘but goal posts have changed’
EVERY primary school child will get two hours of PE a week, the Scottish Government has pledged, as it handed local councils almost £6 million to meet the target by 2014, seven years after it was first promised by the SNP.
The Scottish Government said every primary school pupil should have at least two hours of PE a week and that all students in the first four years of secondary school should have at least two weekly periods of PE of about 55 minutes each.
Scotland’s sport minister Shona Robison said that the SNP would honour its 2011 election manifesto pledge which said the party would “deliver at least two hours of PE in primary schools and at least two periods of PE in secondary schools for pupils in S1-S4.”
Ms Robison said: “The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring the provision of at least two hours per week of physical education in primary schools and at least two periods of PE in secondary schools for pupils in S1-S4 by 2014.”
However, the SNP was accused of wanting to “change the goal posts” over the amount of PE being offered in schools, as opposition parties said that Alex Salmond’s government had “still not delivered” on its original 2007 promise to increase provision.
The Nationalists’ 2007 manifesto said that the party wanted to “ensure that every pupil has two hours of quality PE each week, delivered by specialist PE teachers.”
A spokesman for the First Minister yesterday insisted that “enormous progress” had been made on the PE pledge and that 64 per cent of all primary children and 67 per cent of secondary pupils were now receiving two hours a week.
However, Scottish Conservative education spokeswoman Liz Smith warned that the £5.8m announced yesterday by ministers would not be enough to hire enough qualified PE teachers to meet the target.
Ms Smith said: “My concern is that it’s all very well saying that schools are giving children the two hours of PE time. But there is a real question about whether they will be taught by qualified PE teachers. This announcement appears to change the goal posts somewhat and one has to ask why it has taken the prospect of the Commonwealth Games to bring a sense of urgency from SNP ministers.
“It is to be hoped that the additional money will, in part, be spent on ensuring many more children are taught by qualified PE teachers and in ensuring that there is better access to good quality sports facilities.”
Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont used First Minister’s questions yesterday to criticise Mr Salmond over the announcement as she said “two guaranteed hours of PE every day promised, now re-promised, and still not delivered.”
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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