Sports funding will continue after U-turn

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SPORTS campaigners in Bourne are celebrating after the Government backtracked over plans to cut funding for school sports partnerships.

This week the Government announced that it had decided to continue funding the partnerships until the end of the academic year in July, and that it would make £65m available in 2011/12 and 2012/13 to ensure one PE teacher per school is released for one day a week to organise sports activities.

South East Lincolnshire School Sports Partnership which covers Bourne costs £290,000 a year to run, and representatives from Bourne were outraged when the Government announced that it would axe the £162m sports partnerships across the county from March next year.

Earlier this month they joined thousands of pupils, teachers and Olympic athletes to march on Downing Street to convince Prime Minister David Cameron to change his mind.

Development manager for Lincolnshire South West School Sports Partnership Vincent Brittain said: “It’s fantastic news for PE and sport, but the devil will be in the detail.

Development manager for South East Lincolnshire Lee Farrell said: “We will need to know how much funding will be available to us.

“At the moment there are a lot of figures flying around about how much funding will be available, but at least we know there will be some funding although evidently at a much lower level.”

The partnerships were introduced to encourage sports in primary and secondary schools, and they pay for coaches, events and PE staff.

They also fund representative pupils from secondary schools who act as sports ambassadors in their areas.

In the future the partnerships may have to be funded by the schools in the area themselves to ensure their survival.

Mr Farrell said: “This half turn from the Government will enable a limited infrastructure.

“I think the march and petition and lots of support from teachers and athletes seems to have worked, but we won’t know the extent of the implications for a while.”