Boris: children should do two hours' PE a day


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The Independent Online

Boris Johnson put himself at odds with David Cameron yesterday as he suggested that children should have two hours of physical exercise every day at school.

London's Mayor, right, fuelled the row over sports provision by calling for a "thorough-going effort" to secure a lasting legacy from London 2012 by getting more young people playing sport.

The Coalition scrapped the previous government's target of two hours' PE a week in schools, arguing that sporting excellence was not produced by "box-ticking".

Asked about the two-hours-a-week target, the Mayor replied: "I would like to see the kind of regime I used to enjoy [at Eton] – compulsory two hours' sport every day … That is the sort of thing that would be wonderful for kids across this country."

Insisting ministers understood the public's renewed sporting appetite, he also suggested Olympic volunteers who had already been vetted to work with children could now help with school sports.

Mr Cameron said yesterday: "It has been a fantastic fortnight. Now we have got to make sure we get a real legacy out of this." He suggested this year's gold-medal winners could become ambassadors for their sports.

Ministers have been on the defensive on the funding both of élite sports and of schools sports. They are drawing up plans to boost participation and ensure Britain is strongly positioned to defend its record medal haul at the next Games.

Olympians, including the cyclists Sir Chris Hoy and Laura Trott and the shooting champion Peter Wilson have warned the nation's successes will be reversed if funding is cut back.

Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary, said: "We've learnt that targets don't always get you the results you want. It isn't just about targets – it's about culture, it's about empowering teachers, and getting an ethos inside schools, and it's about an understanding of the role of team sport, and the values that can give to young people."

Tessa Jowell, the shadow Olympics minister, called for a 10-year plan. She said: "We have got to make sure that the money continues."