Schools to get £10m 'Olympics'

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The Independent Online

The Government will announce plans today to create a national schools games contest styled on the Olympics to tackle what it sees as the decline in competitive sports among children.

The Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, and the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, will promise that the £10m national competition will revitalise competitive sport. All schools in England will be "encouraged" to take part in the scheme, although it will not be mandatory. The competition will not extend to other countries in the UK.

Children will compete against each other in regional run-offs, vying to qualify for national finals that will be held in the run-up to the 2012 Games. Paralympic-style events will also be held in parallel to ensure children with disabilities can take part.

Competitive sport "encourages teamwork, dedication and striving to be the best that you can be," Mr Hunt said.

The new funding will only pay for the costs of administering the competition, rather than investing in sport infrastructure such as saving playing fields from being sold off.

The Government has yet to release further details, but it is expected that Sport England will give £10m a year to the project, which will run at least until the Olympics.