Sport boss critical of school funding cuts

editorial image

BANBURY MP Sir Tony Baldry has responded to criticism of Government plans to end school sports partnerships.

Carl Hamilton, who leads the North Oxfordshire School Sports Partnership (NOSSP), has exchanged letters with Sir Tony Baldry over the size of school budgets for 2013-14.

Mr Hamilton, who is based at Banbury’s Blessed George Napier School in Addison Road, fears around 150 primary school sports competitions could be lost in the Banbury and Bicester area if the Government goes ahead with plans to cut funding for school sports co-ordinators next summer.

He also said lunchtime and after-school sports could be lost, as well as training for PE teachers.

In an exchange of letters with Sir Tony, Mr Hamilton drew attention to “...the strength of feeling amongst the Great British public regarding the importance of sport.”

In his response, Sir Tony confirmed school sports partnerships’ funding would end in August, but said schools would still get funds they could spend on sports co-ordinators under the new National Schools Funding Formula.

He told Mr Hamilton he was asking for the same funding twice, adding, “...if the head teacher and governors of Blessed George Napier consider that they should release a member of the secondary PE department to carry out the role of school sports co-ordinator, then that in the future will be a matter for the head teacher and governors of Blessed George Napier to determine.”

In his response, Mr Hamilton said he did not think schools would be able to continue re-leasing PE staff.

He said contributions from schools and local partners had kept the NOSSP going so far, but added: “Sadly this will prove almost impossible from August 2013 without the Teacher Release money.”

The partnership covers seven secondary, 45 primary and and three special schools. It has received government funding for the past nine years.

Much of the money is spent on staffing and coaching for sport enjoyed by all secondary and primary school pupils in Oxfordshire. The cash pays for two full-time staff – Mr Hamilton and an assistant – as well as for supply teachers throughout the school year.