By Ian Dunt
David Cameron raised eyebrows today when he justified cutting the daily requirement for school sports because some schools were filling it with activities "like Indian dancing".
Amid a spectacular performance from team GB at the Olympics and potentially damaging complaints about the government's sell-off of school sports fields, the prime minister toured TV studios to insist he was committed to building on the legacy of the Games.
"The two hours that is laid down is often met through sort of Indian dancing classes. Now, I’ve got nothing against Indian dancing classes but that’s not really sport," he told ITV Daybreak.
"The trouble we have had with targets up to now, which was two hours a week, is that a lot of schools were meeting that by doing things like Indian dance or whatever, that you and I probably wouldn't think of as sport, so there's a danger of thinking all you need is money and a target."
The prime minister's position has not been improved by Boris Johnson insisting schoolchildren deserved two hours of physical activity per day, as the two of them enjoyed at Eton.
"What we really need is a change in culture in our schools and our society that says that sport is good," Cameron said.
"Boris and I famously went to the same school; that is the sort of sport that we did. There is a danger that we think all we need is money and a target."
Ed Miliband hit out at the prime minister for pinning the blame of declining physical activity on teachers.
"It’s no good blaming the teachers, or blaming everybody else, for what’s happening in our schools – let’s work together to find ways in which we can build on that legacy, and I think we can, personally," he told Radio 5 Live today.
"Let’s work together across parties, across all the sports, for a 10-year plan now for sport in this country. Let’s build on that legacy – we’ve said inspire a generation, let’s make good on that promise."
The Labour leader is pushing for an extension of the 'school sports partnership', where professional coaches train state school children, although the coalition is sceptical about the programme.
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By Ian Dunt
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