February 10 - Youth Sport Trust (YST) chief executive John Steele has claimed the upcoming British Government announcement on additional funding for school sport is vital but that there has been great work in place for a long time which has largely gone unseen.
Education Secretary Michael Gove is set to make the announcement on the issue this week as his Department for Education (DfE) assume responsibility for school sport in England.
The announcement comes following widespread calls for more investment in school sport to help continue the legacy drive of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics with the Youth Sport Trust hopeful of more investment at primary school level.
But despite its importance, Steele claimed it only represents part of push to boost school sport across the country.
"We all want to see the right decision made by Government in this announcement but I do want to stress that it doesn't mean that nothing is happening at the moment," Steele told insidethegames.
"It simply isn't the case that people are waiting for the Government announcement by sitting around and doing nothing.
"The good work is carrying on.
"It was there prior to London 2012 and it has been continuing after.
"That good work could actually be a real platform, alongside the Government funding, for something very special for school sport.
"So of course it is important, but whatever the announcement, there are committed people out there that are continuing to do great things for school sport and we will be supporting them no matter what.
"The Government announcement must not be the totality of the picture despite its obvious importance."
Gove's DfE have often come under criticism from the physical education sector, particularly in their first Comprehensive Spending Review in October 2010 when they announced the entire £162 million ($260 million/€190 million) funding for the School Sports Partnerships would be axed.
The move was met by such a fierce wave of protests from teachers, pupils and Olympic athletes that the Government had to partially backtrack on the decision and reinstall some of the funding for a period.
But with the upcoming announcement set to offer a funding increase, Steele claimed the key is continuing to build off the success of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
"Keeping the momentum of London 2012 in terms of legacy is crucial right now," he said.
"There is some great work going on even in a difficult environment, and a real belief and passion in the ability of sport to change young people's lives.
"Of course Government support is crucial, but there is a lot more to it than that.
"So the real challenge we now face is to ensure that enthusiasm and passion for sport is not lost, especially amongst young people, and Government investment is just one part of that."
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