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Sports targets for next century

The Scottish Sports Council has won Government backing to introduce specific sports targets for schools. Sam Galbraith, the Sports Minister, is to launch the council's Sport 21 strategy later this month.

He will spell out four key targets for schools and support sport schools or 'performance centres' for the most able young athletes.

Several local authorities are ready to test whether they can add specific sports coaching to secondary schools, emulating the specialist music and dance schools in East Dumbartonshire, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Bellahouston Academy was this week named as Glasgow's first School of Sport. Places have been reserved in August's S1 intake for up to 20 young athletes who will concentrate on gymnastics, swimming and hockey. The school is ready to appoint an assistant head with a budget to develop sports coaching.

Mr Galbraith will tell primaries that within five years they will be expected to provide a minimum of two hours physical education per pupil each week. And pound;1 million from the lottery has already been made available for secondaries to appoint sports co-ordinators to work with feeder primaries.

The sports council will also step up efforts to increase young people's participation, while encouraging authorities, schools and clubs to implement the youth sport strategy published two years ago.

The council will argue that school sport needs considerably more support, and that this means giving teachers time off, back-up, recognition and remuneration.

The revised strategy will also suggest primary teachers need more comprehensive pre-service and in-service training in physical education.

Ministers are likely to insist enough Lottery cash has been freed up to make a start on reaching the targets. But the council is expected to comment on the effects of cuts on physical education budgets and the repercussions for sport.

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