STAFFORD and Stone’s Olympic legacy could be cut short when a school sports fund comes to an end next year.
A teacher release fund, first introduced in 2010, that allowed PE teachers to spend time outside the classroom encouraging take-up of competitive sports in primary schools and building a network of schools to increase inter school competition, will come to an end in 2013.
Partnership development manager of the Stafford and Stone School Sports Partnership, Steve Glover, said he was concerned at the effect the removal of funding would have in the area after the boom in young people participating in sports seen in the early part of 2012.
He said: “Right now, every secondary school gets £7,500 a year to fund a teacher-release position one day a week.
“PE teachers in Stafford and Stone use that time to organise sporting and athletic competitions for their schools and the feeder primary schools they work with as well as working with each other to develop competition across different schools.”
He said with one year left on the fund he was worried how teachers, who have risen to the opportunity in the area, could hope to continue the good work they had started.
“Everyone has one year left on the teacher release programme,” he said. “I’m already trying to arrange to meet teachers and representatives from the schools to try to work out what we can do.”
He said, initially, teachers were expected to carry on doing the same job they had been doing, but without the funding that made it possible.
“That’s not going to happen,” he said. “It just won’t be possible.” Mr Glover said he feared with less organised competitive sport available, the children would suffer and that as their physical activity was reduced, issues like childhood obesity and poor health would increase.
He said the teacher release fund went directly to the school and was meant for school games but could be spent however the school wanted, adding that schools currently using the fund for sport included King Edward VI High School, Walton High School, Blessed William Howard, the Weston Road Academy, Sir Graham Balfour High School Stafford Sports College, Christ Church Academy and Walton Priory Middle School.