Stories + Views
Airbrushing state teachers out of sporting achievement is “mean, unjust” and prejudiced
Airbrushing the tens of thousands of state school teachers who spend hours of their time on sports activities out of the national picture is “mean, unjust and reveals a class prejudice that should have died out with the Romanovs,” writes TES editor, Gerard Kelly.
Kelly rightly praises all British Olympians whose inspirational success has received adulation but describes as “appalling” that some politicians spewed out “the same tired myths about unsporting teaching.” Unfortunately, it wasn’t just politicians – media commentators jumped on the bandwagon to take pot-shots at sport in state schools. Even Murdoch tweeted an ignorant comment about how the Chinese were topping the Olympic league tables while “US and UK mainly teach competitive sport a bad thing.”
Really? Are our politicians and their media supporters so blinkered and boorish that they ignore the reports which appear continually in local papers about sporting competitions between schools? On an earlier thread I pointed out praiseworthy work done in local schools in one small part of Lincolnshire and Rutland in just one week. Several of these were competitive sporting events including the Leicestershire Primary Cross Country League championships. Activities like these take place nationally but politicians and their press chums prefer to overlook them just as they snub the state school teachers who inspired Mo Farah, Bradley Wiggins and Jessica Ennis.
But how supportive is the Government of sport in state schools? It was Michael Gove who scrapped the annual school sport survey which found out the kinds of sport on offer and how many pupils were taking part. It was Michael Gove who said schools did not have to adhere to targets brought in by the previous Labour Government which required five hours of sport a week. Instead he decided to “trust teachers and parents” to decide how much sport pupils should do. It was Michael Gove who cut funding for Schools Sports Partnerships which organized inter-school competitions. And it was under Tory governments that the bulk of the now-lost schools fields were sold.
Instead of sneering at sport in state schools, TES editor Kelly says if the Government wants state schools to emulate the success of independents then it should provide cash. I would add that mean-minded politicians and hacks should celebrate all sporting achievements not just those of a select few. They should remember that sporting excellence depends on many things: aptitude, opportunity, support and, above all, dedication and sheer hard work from the athletes themselves. The achievement of these dedicated young people should not be high-jacked to score petty political points.