Young Ambassadors from Uttlesford join national calls to keep school sports funding

YOUNG Ambassadors (YA) in Uttlesford joined a national movement to prevent millions of pounds of cuts to sports schemes funding.

Three sixth formers from the district joined fellow YAs and sports leaders from across the country who gathered outside Whitehall last week to urge Government to backtrack on plans to axe over �160 million investment in school sports from next year.

The cuts would spell the end of the network of School Sport Partnerships which enable the district’s secondary and primary school pupils to take part in inter-school tournaments as well as coaching courses.

Graham Jones, the partnership development manager who heads up the scheme in Uttlesford, is delighted that local youngsters are playing their part.

He said: “When the YAs are appointed they have two main roles: the first is to encourage all young people from across the partnership to get involved in sport, and the second is to promote the Olympics.

“They do this through leading school assemblies, going into primary schools and attending competitions where they help officiate and present prizes.

“Little did we think that when we appointed them that they’d be lobbying their MP in Westminster to save their school sports partnership.”

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Although Prime Minister David Cameron has called on Education Secretary Michael Gove to rethink his ideas to abandon the partnership, Mr Jones said delays over a decision are not helping.

“As with all spending reviews, we are being drip-fed information,” he said “We were rather hoping for something by the end of the year but that doesn’t look as though it is going to happen.

“Now when we come back in the New Year secondary headteachers will be looking to have their plans in place for next year.”

Mr Jones oversees four sports coordinators who are based in each of the district’s secondary schools. Each co-ordinator works two days a week in their respective ‘family’ primary schools, and are dedicated to supporting teachers during PE lessons.

They help the partnership to deliver 40-odd competitions – both in the families and across the partnership – in the major sports and more diverse activities such as orienteering, dance and cross country.

“We have made real progress over the years and met all our targets,” said Mr Jones.

“If the Government has a different agenda now, such as moving towards health and beating obesity, we can do that. The system is in place and it makes no sense to destroy it.

“Any target with the ultimate aim of offering PE and sport for younger people is a good one.

“I am sure of the system and for the vast majority of people it is of vital benefit.”

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