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Ready, set, backtrack expected on sports cash

The Government is expected to backtrack over its changes to school sports funding after mounting pressure from leading British athletes and Labour MPs.

As The TES went to press, prime minister David Cameron told the House that he was listening to advice on school sports funding and would make an announcement soon.

Responding to former sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe at Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday, Mr Cameron said he was looking carefully at the debate, adding that there was a "shared interest" on school sports. "We all want good sport in schools, we all want more competitive sport and we have all got to make sure that money is spent well," Mr Cameron said.

"I think everyone accepts that not every penny was spent well in the past and there is quite a bureaucratic system. The culture, media and sport secretary (Jeremy Hunt) and the education secretary (Michael Gove) are working hard on this."

He added: "We are talking with headteachers so we can make sure that what we come up with actually works on the ground. I hope we will be able to make an announcement soon."

The change in tack from the Government follows a period of sustained pressure from shadow education secretary Andy Burnham and 75 Olympic and Paralympic champions, who wrote to Mr Cameron calling for him to drop the "ill-conceived" policy.

But a source close to the education secretary said: "We are working to establish the right way forward for school sport. Even Andy Burnham admitted that the current system was over-bureaucratic and was not getting value for money."

Speaking after the prime minister's announcement, Mr Burnham said: "In the past 24 hours, we have heard a huge change in tone on this issue from both the prime minister and Michael Gove. It seems they now admit that they got it wrong."

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