Euro 2000 defeat was not their fault

21st July 2000 at 01:00
I FEEL that I must write on behalf of all physical education teachers to reply to KP Gormley (TES Letters, July 7). His claim that PE teachers are to blame for England's poor performance at Euro 2000 and his other views are somewhat misguided, and he has clearly failed to research any facts before committing pen to paper.

Does this country rely upon drama departments to produce Oscar winners or music departments to produce opera singers?

Sport is not taught in schools, PE is. Pupils are taught skills, how to apply skills, to evaluate performance and they learn about the health benefits of physical activity.

This lays the foundation for pupils to develop specialist interests, as they get older.

Hopefully this will then lead the majority to follow a physical activity at a participation level and the minority in turn to follow their own physical activity to a level of excellence.

Competition is an inherent part of the PE curriculum and is encouraged but is tempered by the need to ensure that all pupils are involved, learn from their experiences and develop as indviduals.

Soccer will be taught as an activity in most schools as part of the PE curriculum. This will be enhanced by work during extra-curricular clubs, inter-form and inter-school matches.

Thousands of PE teachers, supported by non-specialist teachers, give up their time to promote and develop soccer as part of such programmes, which are highly competitive.

School is not the only place where children are exposed to soccer. There are thousands of soccer clubs and courses, including the Football Association's centres of excellence, developing soccer in this country. Surely they should also take responsibility for England's poor showing?

To blame schools and PE teachers for England's lack of success at Euro 2000 is like blaming drama teachers for our failure to win best actor at the Oscars.

Finally, just what is wrong with pupils having fun on sports day?

John Matthews

Chief executive

The Physical Education Association of

the United Kingdom

Ling House, Building 25

London Road, Reading Euro 2000 defeat was not their fault

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