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Gove's sport U-turn branded 'humiliating'

Michael Gove was accused on Monday (20 December) of a "humiliating" U-turn over his plan to reform school sport funding.

As part of the Government's spending review, the education secretary had announced plans to scrap the School Sport Partnerships (SSPs) while removing the ring-fence around school sport funding.

But in a partial volte-face, Mr Gove announced that the Government would continue to fund SSPs until the end of the 2011 summer term at a cost of #163;47 million, while providing a further #163;65 million to release PE teachers for one day a week to teach in primary schools until 2013.

During education questions in the Commons on Monday, Labour MPs claimed Mr Gove's change of heart only came about after a petition signed by 600,000 people.

Shadow education minister Toby Perkins said: "We welcome the secretary of state's humiliating climbdown on the School Sport Partnerships.

"The secretary of state said SSPs had failed, ministers slammed them and even the prime minister said they had a terrible record. Now, in the face of a storm of protest, they claim to have left them in place until shortly after the Olympics, albeit with dramatically less funding."

NUT general secretary Christine Blower said: "The 'further' #163;65 million ... falls far short of the #163;162 million annual ring-fenced funding needed to continue SSPs at current levels."

However, the decision was strongly welcomed by the Youth Sport Trust, the organisation set to lose the most by the decision to drop SSPs.

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