TOP ATHLETES last Tuesday joined more than half a million schoolchildren, teachers and parents in urging Prime Minister David Cameron to overrule Education Secretary Michael Gove and drop plans to cut funding for England’s 450 school sports partnerships.
Pupils demanded that a minister explain why the coalition has made funding for school sport in England one of the casualties of its cost-cutting.
Tim Loughton, the Children's Minister, faced tough questioning when he met a delegation of students before a protest at Parliament supported by hundreds of primary and secondary pupils and teachers from across England.
Olympic gold medallists Denise Lewis and Darren Campbell also joined the protest. Scores of elite British athletes past and present have written to David Cameron condemning Michael Gove's decision to stop the £162 million-a-year funding for England's 450 school sports partnerships (SSPs) at the end of next March as "illogical" and likely to damage young people's health and fuel childhood obesity.
The schoolchildren, led by Debbie Foote, a 17-year-old pupil from Grantham in Lincolnshire, handed in a petition signed by more than half a million people at Downing Street.
She said: "This is devastating news, not only for young people today, but for the future generations who will miss out on the fantastic opportunities SSPs provide."