Worries 5

My sport is orienteering and I am passionate about it. It is one of the sports that have decreased funding because it is not an Olympic sport and, I suspect, not a team ball game. Orienteering is largely an individual sport open to everyone whatever state of fitness they are in and however competitive they wish to be.

This is what the governing body of the sport British Orienteering says about it:

Orienteering is a challenging outdoor adventure sport that exercises both the mind and the body. The aim is to navigate in sequence between control points marked on a unique orienteering map and decide the best route to complete the course in the quickest time. It does not matter how young, old or fit you are, as you can run, walk or jog the course and progress at your own pace. Orienteering can take place anywhere from remote forest and countryside to urban parks and school playgrounds.  It’s a great sport for runners, joggers and walkers who want to improve their navigation skills or for anyone who loves the outdoors. Orienteering – The adventure sport for all!

The sport instills personal reliance, fitness, fairness, thought (It is called the ‘thought sport’) and in countries such as Norway, Sweden and Finland features on the curriculum in every school.

Money has just been removed from the School Sports Partnership (SSP) – Guardian article 20/11/10 – Mr Gove said:

SSPs was “neither affordable nor likely to be the best way to help schools achieve their potential in improving competitive sport”. Schools, he said, would from now on be able to decide their own sports policies, free from a “centralised government blueprint”.

So the specific money has gone … make up your own mind how you are going to move forward schools are told. PE in schools is not the same as recreational sport.

Mr Gove, this morning on BBC Breakfast, seemed only to refer to team games played with a ball and denigrated, rather callously, individual skill and dedication by using the example of ‘circus skills’ as something less worthy. Has he not heard of ‘Cirque Du Soleil’

So I checked the Olympic programme for 2012 and the sports ‘we’ are supporting:

ArcheryAthleticsBadminton, BasketballBoxing, Canoeing,

Cycling, Diving, Equestrian, Fencing,

Gymnastics, Handball, Hockey, Judo, Modern Pentathlon,

Rowing, Sailing, Shooting, Swimming, Synchronised

Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Triathlon, Volleyball,

Water Polo, Weightlifting, Wrestling

I don’t see any mention of these really important team ball games here – except hockey !! – and we don’t do the football !

The majority of these sports are individual sports, team backed, but essentially on the day are down to individuals performing on their own at the top of their capacity.

Hope that Mr Gove has not lost sight of this … giving choice is only valid if choice exists


Just as an aside … the video on BBC News this morning showing some boys playing football in a sports hall interested me. Firstly because it was used as a vehicle to suggest that ex-service personnel could become a wonderful resource as teachers (I assume that they will all have to have at least a 2.2 to qualify) and secondly because it appeared to me that the boys were playing in their ordinary school clothes!


Original image: ‘O-Ringen 2004: Day 5 (2353)
O-Ringen 2004: Day 5 (2353)
by: Ollie O’Brien

Released under an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License


And in his statement to the House today he only mentioned ‘TEAM’ sports … !!!

2 thoughts on “Worries 5

  1. Where to start? I’m in despair over this attitude to sport. I suspect, if he could actually enforce it, “rugger” would be the only game allowed, after all it’s character building to have your face trampled in the mud by a monster from year 11. He clearly believes that the Olympic sports at which we excell are best left to clubs and sports governing bodies and the rest of us should be standing on the touchline freezing our arses off cheering the 1st XV on a Wednesday afternoon.

  2. Does Gove ever take a peep out from behind his laptop full of statistics and realise what is actually happening?

    There are so many things (from the little amount I read) that are not so good in primary education, but to touch one of those activities that merges the gap between ex-curricular and curricular activities seems a little strange.

    But hey, the ‘statistics’ will probably make the government look good… and I hate to think what the British Olympic dream will look like 4 years down the line… but I suppose none of this will affect Eton so that’s OK.

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