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PE lessons of 'limited use'

Minister calls for a weekly sports afternoon in schools. Gideon Burrows reports.

SPORTS minister Kate Hoey has called for schools to set aside one afternoon a week for PE as timetabled lessons are of "limited use".

Talking to Sportscore, The TES's sister sports website, after the England cricket team's victory over the West Indies, Ms Hoey also said enthusiastic teachers should take the lead in encouraging children.

"People talk about there not being enough sport in the curriculum, but timetabled PE lessons are of limited use. A half-hour lesson doesn't offer scope for a cricket match or a football match.

"PE lessons are a chance to practise core skills but it's in competition where the skills get put to use.

"It's not up to politicians, it's up to schools themselves. I could put an extra PE teacher into every school and it would make no difference to the quality of teaching."

Shecalled for "teachers who are enthusiasts - maths teachers who will also teach football or hockey".

Chris Davis, of the National Assocation of Primary Heads, said Ms Hoey was being unrealistic.

"We went from sport every day to four times a week when the national curriculum was introduced, and now to three times a week, including swimming.

"The problem of children's lack of exercise and PE being forced out of the timetable does need to be addressed but having PE in a block and concentrating on competitive sport is not the answer."

Nigel de Gruchy, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, said he was astonished by the minister's remarks. "You need well-trained teachers. Finding enthusiastic teachers who can also do sport is a haphazard way of organising the curriculum."

To read the full interview with Ms Hoey: www.sportscore.co.uk

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