My colleague Laurie Bidwell and I are seeking a briefing from officers of the council regarding Pathways to Sport. This comes after a debate on a report by the Health and Sport Committee which took place in the Scottish Parliament last week.
Pathways into Sport
Scottish Labour's spokespersons for Leisure, Arts and Communities, Councillor Richard McCready, and Education, Councillor Laurie Bidwell, on Dundee City Council today called for assurances that Dundee City Council's attitude towards sport is joined up. They were speaking after the Scottish Parliament discussed a report from its influential Health and Sport Committee on 'Pathways into Sport'. They have requested a meeting with officials in the Education and Leisure and Communities Department of Dundee City Council to discuss the issues raised in the report.
Councillor Richard McCready said, 'The provision of sports facilities is an undervalued aspect of the work of the council. It is easy to dismiss as an 'extra' which can be cut in times of economic hardship. Clearly these are difficult economic times but we also need to take a long term view of things. The promotion of sport can have an impact on health, educational attainment and economic activity, we should not underestimate its importance. I hope that the Education and Leisure and Communities departments of the council will be able to reassure us that the issues being raised in the Scottish Parliament's report are being dealt with in Dundee.'
Councillor Laurie Bidwell said, 'PE is an important part of the education syllabus, it is important that we get it right for Dundee's children. Our school estate, which has been improved by the schools built under our watch, is a great resource for the promotion of sport both during the school day and for local communities outside the school day. I think that there is a lot which we are doing in Dundee which is to be commended, I hope that we can have the opportunity to look at the recommendations from this Cross-Party Group of MSPs and see what we could do better in Dundee.'
The main recommendations of the Scottish Parliament's Health and Sport Committee are set out below, further information on the Committee's investigation can be found at http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/s3/committees/hs/inquiries/pathwaysintosport/index.htm
The Scottish Government should not sign off any new local authority single outcome agreement that does not feature the two-hour target unless the local authority has already met the target of the Scottish Government and is content that the local authority is firmly on track to meet the target by August 2010. If any school is unable to meet the target by August 2010, the headteacher should be obliged to provide a report stating the reasons why this is the case. Each primary school pupil should receive a physical literacy assessment to ensure that by the time each pupil reaches secondary school they have the necessary skills to learn specific sports. Pupil report cards should refer to a pupil’s physical literacy skills. There is still a very real need for a general upskilling of all primary school classroom teachers in the teaching of PE. 2. Active Schools
The Scottish Government should organise a conference on the Active Schools programme to ensure that this programme is taken forward to 2011 and beyond. 3. The need for integrated, local sports provision
Each local authority should have a sports strategy that includes the following elements: - Teaching of PE and transition into sport outside of school;
- Facilities including (1) the maintenance and upgrading of facilities and (2) improving access to local authority facilities, including use of the school estate; and
- Capacity building in local sports clubs.
The Committee believes there is a need for a national initiative led by the Scottish Government of sportscotland to ‘unlock the potential’ for schools to be more widely used by the wider community.