Brighton school to lose £320k after government axes sports funding

Posted On 23 Nov 2010 at 2:44 am

A Brighton school is to lose £320,000 from its budget after Education Secretary Michael Gove pulled the plug on “schools sports partnerships”.

Dorothy Stringer High School in Brighton will no longer receive the money which is used to encourage school sports throughout Brighton and Hove.

The scheme costs £162 million nationally and is among the latest spending cuts being made by the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government.

A report about the way Brighton and Hove schools will be affected has appeared in The Observer newspaper along with an editorial comment.

It quotes Andy Marchant, who runs the scheme in Brighton and Hove, saying: “It is heartbreaking to see a country do this to its children.

“It is despicable with just months to go before the Olympics.”

The report says that Mr Marchant had already told school sport co-ordinator Emma Greenough, 27, that he could no longer afford to keep her in her post because of earlier cuts.

She is due to leave at the end of this term.

The newspaper quotes her as saying: “It is outrageous what the government has done.

“It is tragic for kids in this country.

“This was about sport for everyone, for all children.

“Now you are just going to be left with two-tier sports in this country again.

“It’ll be sport for children whose parents can afford it.”

Labour councillor Melanie Davis, Labour’s culture and sport spokesman, said: “This is an utter disgrace.

“I will be challenging the local Tories.

“This will lead to a two-tier sports system throughout the city.

“The coalition government’s cuts will end free sports for all.

“It will threaten any positive health and social benefits that sport in schools brings, such as the current falling levels of child obesity we have seen in Brighton and Hove.”

Councillor Davis has started an online petition called “Save School Sports Partnerships in our City”.

It can be signed at http://present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/mgEPetitionDisplay.aspx?ID=182&RPID=785843.

Labour peer Lord Bassam of Brighton said that he would question coalition ministers in Parliament.

He said: “This cut to the nation’s school sports programme is so short-sighted.

“In Brighton the partnership has made just great progress with inspirational leadership and great commitment from teachers, students and clubs working well together across all sports disciplines.

“From personal experience I know how much my children benefited from the programme and how much pleasure it gave them.

“I am tabling questions to challenge the cuts and to find out what real plans they have to replace the lost funding.

“Parents, teachers and students need to work together to challenge these cuts.

“Labour locally will I am sure try to rescue the plan after next year’s local elections.”

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