Al­ways a priv­i­lege to hear what school pupils have to say

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - COMMUNITY -

IT IS al­ways a great plea­sure to visit schools in my con­stituency and I was de­lighted to be asked to meet and talk to some year six pupils, re­cently, about my role as a mem­ber of par­lia­ment and my ex­pe­ri­ences when in gov­ern­ment.

This is a slightly younger age group than some of the dis­cus­sion groups I at­tend at lo­cal schools, but it is very im­por­tant for ev­ery MP to rep­re­sent ev­ery­one and thus it is a priv­i­lege to have the chance to hear the views of pupils like th­ese.

When I visit pri­mary schools, it is clear that many of the pupils take an ac­tive part in a range of sports. Re­ports pub­lished in Septem­ber and Novem­ber this year have pro­vided ev­i­dence that the first tranche of £150mil­lion fund­ing for pri­mary schools has given more chil­dren the chance to be phys­i­cally ac­tive and to en­joy sport. The sec­ond tranche of three is be­ing al­lo­cated to schools this Novem­ber.

The PE and sport pre­mium al­lows head­teach­ers to re­cruit spe­cial­ist PE teach­ers, buy new equip­ment, of­fer a wider range of sports or pro­vide free after-school clubs.

Nine out of 10 schools have been able to im­prove the qual­ity of their PE lessons. More than 90 per cent of pri­mary schools say the chil­dren’s health, be­hav­iour and life­styles have got bet­ter as a re­sult. On av­er­age, the schools min­is­ter said, a pri­mary school with 250 pupils will re­ceive about £9,000 a year to spend on sports pro­vi­sion.

Given the chance, most chil­dren en­joy learn­ing to swim. How­ever, the Am­a­teur Swimming As­so­ci­a­tion said at the be­gin­ning of Novem­ber that more than 1,000 pri­mary schools don’t pro­vide swimming lessons. They added that nearly half of pri­mary school chil­dren can’t swim a length un­aided.

Learn­ing to swim is not only an en­joy­able pas­time, it can, lit­er­ally, be life-sav­ing. Hope­fully more pri­mary schools can be en­cour­aged to help chil­dren learn this skill.

Do­minic Grieve MP for Bea­cons­field

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