“For our young people, it is important that we all understand the “value” of sport in their lives and the role that sport can play in helping to address issues around social justice and equal opportunities.

Regular involvement in sport can also assist in ensuring that our young people begin to see the advantages of a healthy lifestyle and do not become the “couch potatoes” of the next generation” said Trevor.

“Despite some stories to the contrary, sport and Physical Education in schools remains popular with the majority of young people. Sport helps to motivate many young people, and, for some, provides opportunities for success that are not achievable in other aspects of their lives” he said.

Trevor also asked for the support of local education authorities in sustaining the education support infrastructure that Sport England is building up. “Over the past three years we have worked with local government to ensure that every Local Education Authority has at least one education support post in place. Recent independent research in our Northern and East Midlands regions has confirmed the immense value of these posts in creating links between schools and sports clubs, leisure centers, sports Governing Body coaching programmed and holiday activity schemes.”

“The research evidence also shows that these posts are most effective if they are part of the Education Authority structure. A successful program has evolved within Wigan Education Authority through Sport England support for an Advisory Teacher post. The post, initially funded for a three year period, has been recognized as playing a vital role in creating links between schools and community sports providers. Wigan mainstreamed the position in 1999.”

“I want to urge you to do all that you can to sustain these posts in your own Authority areas and to help us to invest in this vital area of work.”

“The second type of support posts are the newly-created School Sports Coordinators, established through 60 million pounds of Government funding on top of 30 million from the Sport England Lottery Fund.”

“These school-based posts link together Specialist Sports Colleges, secondary schools and clusters of primary schools to make the most of local sporting opportunities and to help to develop the P.E. curriculum.

“We hope to have over 1000 appointed in the next two years, focusing on some of the most disadvantaged schools and communities. Within the North West, there are seven established schemes in Phase One of the program.”

“This provides the region with 144 School Sport coordinators working in a number of disadvantaged areas. Further work is currently being carried out to develop additional schemes in the on-going phases of the program.”

“Once again, I urge you to do all that you can to support this initiative and to foster the links that we are trying to create to give our young people even better sporting opportunities.”

“Finally, we would like to see Education Authorities more widely involved in the new Sports Partnerships that are being set up. Initially these 45 area Partnerships are helping to develop the Active Sports program and they are based around the county sporting structures which most of our sports Governing Bodies use.”

“Active Sports itself is a 10 million a year lottery program for young people, linking Governing Body coaching networks, local sports clubs and Local Authorities. Most of the Partnerships have now appointed a full-time “Partnership Manager” and we believe they can be a very effective force for sports development in the future.”

“In the North West, all five Counties have established Sports Partnerships. All five Partnerships are developing innovative and dynamic opportunities for young people who wish to enhance their skills and become further involved in their chosen sport.”

“Trying to work across 359 district Authorities and 159 Local Education Authorities has never been easy for my Regional colleagues, and we see these new Sports Partnerships as a real opportunity to forge better links with Local Government across the board. A chance that I hope you will help us to grasp to make the most of the sporting opportunities for young people in all of our communities.”

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