Mrs Hopkins: We need to make Olympic legacy funding sustainable
The Melton Times, 25 April 2013
A letter from our Headteacher, Mrs Hopkins, was published in the Melton Times:
The recent announcement by the Government to award primary schools £300m of funding towards sport provision, in an effort to capitalise on the legacy of last summer's Olympic Games, is great news for our local schools. However, it should come with a health warning!
The money allocated is to be spread over a two year period only and is aimed at targeting specialist sport coaches to work in schools, preferably alongside teachers to help train them.
Having had sports funding drastically cut in 2010, headteachers are attuned to the false sense of security that short-term funding presents and recognise that sustainability in the long-term is quite a financial challenge for some schools, especially small schools like those in the Vale of Belvoir and around Melton.
Extra funding for two years sounds great, but what happens after that? Most schools will get rid of the sports coach because their budget is needed for the next new initiative thrown at them; the teachers, who the coaches have worked alongside for two years, may decide to leave presenting the possibility of recruiting someone new who hasn't received the training. Not to get too excited here, but maybe the Government will recognise that sport continues to be important and the funding carries on?
At Redmile, we have been totally committed to the improvement of health and fitness, as well as competitive sports in our school, so since the last funding was cut we have utilised the money raised at our annual Viking Challenge event and maintained the high quality sports teaching provided by our excellent sports coach Andy Wing coupled with the commitment from staff and parents, plus the partnership work with other Vale primaries and Belvoir High School, Belvoir Cricket Trust and Long Field Academy so that our pupils get the best opportunities possible. This has led us to an incredible amount of success in recent years.
Our teams have won numerous tournaments including hockey, basketball, football and cricket and have gone on to represent the area at county level. A number of our pupils, including Hugh Herring, Aaron and Ryan Charlesworth (cricket), Joshy Beeston and Isobel Evans (football), Will Bray (figure skating and ice hockey) are achieving individual acclaim.
Strength in partnership is the key to success. Investing in partnership is the key to our children's future so here's my health warning: to all heads out there, make sure you plan now for sustainability of sports provision after the funding is taken away from you in 2015 to avoid trouncing all the hard work you're about to do; and for all parents out there, make sure you help the school to raise funds to help your headteacher fulfil their plan, because without it dreams will be quashed.