Children inspired by Olympics, but schools failing to capitalise on them, say parents

The London 2012 Olympic Games have inspired over 50 per cent of British children to take up or try a new sport, but they have failed to inspire schools to increase sporting opportunities for pupils, according to a new poll of parents.??

The survey of 1,006 parents was commissioned by Chance to Shine, which links cricket clubs and their specialist cricket coaches with state schools, to see what impact the Olympics is having on school sport in Britain 100 days after the closing ceremony.

The good news is that over half of parents polled said the Olympics have inspired their child to do more sport – 15 per cent said their child now does more sport outside of school and nine per cent does more sport in school.

15 per cent of respondents also said their child has taken up a new sport in school and 12 per cent tried a new sport outside of school.??

However, young people’s new enthusiasm for sport following the Olympics is not reflected by the amount of sport on offer at their school – 81 per cent of parents said the amount of PE and games has either stayed the same as before the Olympics or decreased.

12 per cent said their child wanted to do more sport after the Olympics, but there were no opportunities for them to do so at school. ??

Furthermore, 54 per cent of parents said their children played less than two hours a week of PE or games lessons at school (56 per cent for girls).

Asked ‘which are the three biggest challenges facing schools trying to increase the amount of sport children do at school’, parents rated the top five as follows: ??

1. Pressure to fit sport in with the rest of the curriculum (42 per cent).?

2. Lack of facilities (32 per cent).?

3. Lack of funding for school sport (29 per cent).?

4. Lack of specialist teachers (23 per cent).?

5. Lack of space/playing fields (18 per cent).??

“The fact parents are saying their children are doing less than two hours of school sport a week is a concern,” says Wasim Khan, chief executive of Chance to Shine.

“We want young people to do as much physical activity as possible in and out of school – whether it’s cricket, athletics or another sport – to help them lead active, healthy lives.

“Parents are saying that many of their children were inspired by the Games to play more or to try a new sport.

“We owe it to those children to ensure we have the right infrastructure to make it a reality.”

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