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Every headteacher I spoke to wanted more control of their


budgets and to set their own priorities and targets, without being interfered with by the Local Education Authority


locate the combined, streamlined office set up away from the high rental areas of central London. “In this era of looking increasingly hard


at the bottom line, it didn’t make sense for the two organisations to occupy sepa- rate London offices with separate back office functions. Particularly when the only people who interact with govern- ment are the CEOs and occasionally the directors,” Robertson explains. “The crucial thing, is that I’m pretty


satisfied with the operation of both UK Sport and Sport England. There are things that they could both do to im- prove but broadly speaking they are both good bodies and perform well. “We’ve been through the whole CSR


Above: Hitting targets at the Street Games and Coca Cola partnership. Above right: School cricket promotion


would guarantee £111m annually – the same level as Olympic sports receive now – in the run-up to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. “We [the DCMS] told the Olympic


sports we would do everything in our power to protect elite athlete funding so I’m pleased to confirm that this is now in place,” he said.


Sharing the load However, in the face of these cuts in Exchequer funding – Sport England has seen its budget reduced by a third and UK Sport by 28 per cent – the solution is to merge the two organisations and


Issue 4 2010 © cybertrek 2010


process collaboratively – they were both at the press briefing and we’ve worked through the implications day-by-day, hour-by-hour with the CEOs of both or- ganisations. It makes perfect sense to ensure that the maximum amount of money that goes into them, goes out to sport at the front line. In other words, put them together under one roof in a location where it costs less than an ad- dress in central London.” Robertson said that a number of


potential sites had been discussed, par- ticularly those that would co-locate the combined office with other centres of sporting excellence – suggesting that the Sport England-owned sites such as Lilleshall or Bisham Abbey National Sport Centres have come into consideration, as well as an office within the Queen Eliza- beth Olympic Park development.


Lost opportunity? The biggest victim of the spending review, is the loss of Department of Edu- cation ring-fenced funding for Youth Sport Trust (YST)-led School Sport Part- nerships (SSP), which the organisation warns could “put the future of school sport in jeopardy and betray the prom- ises made to secure the London 2012 Games, with less than two years to go”. However, Robertson is keen to point


out that the funding hasn’t actually dis- appeared. “Sport in school is delivered by PE teachers, who are funded by the Department of Education – that remains 100 per cent untouched,” he says. “Every time I stepped into schools, as I


did regularly in opposition, every single headteacher I spoke to wanted more con- trol of their budgets and to be able to set their own priorities and targets – without being interfered with by the department or the Local Education Authority.” Understandably, the YST has publicly


condemned the loss of direct SSP fund- ing, stating that it had exceeded every target set by the previous government to engage more children. In an open letter to the Secretary of State, Michael Gove, the trust highlighted the fact that in 2002 only an estimated 25 per cent of all five- to 16-year-olds participated in two hours of PE and sport each week, with particular challenges being faced at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 4. By 2009, this had increased to 90 per cent with signifi- cant improvements throughout all Key Stages. This, it stated, was “mostly due to the tireless efforts of the professional


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