Political Review - December 2019

YST Political Review
Headlines include the Queen's Speech and a commitment to investment in primary PE teaching, the sport sector's letter to the Prime Minister and an update on the government reshuffle.

Queen’s speech

Queen’s Speech commits to investment in primary PE teaching

Following the General Election, government set out its legislative agenda for the next year with the state opening of Parliament on 19 December. The policy paper published alongside the Queen’s Speech announcement includes a commitment from government to support and invest in PE and school sport. It says:

“To ensure children are getting an active start to life, the Government will invest in primary school PE teaching and ensure that it is being properly delivered. The Government wants to do more to help schools make good use of their sports facilities and to promote physical literacy and competitive sport.”

This goes someway to addressing calls that YST and the sport sector have put forward to government. In our joint letter to party leaders in November we called for every young person to enjoy an hour a day of sport and physical activity backed up by good quality teacher training and investment in school sport facilities.

During the General Election campaign, the Conservative party pledged to create a new fund to improve school sports facilities to encourage their use out of hours.

Queen’s Speech summary

Outside of the commitments around PE and school sport facilities, other areas of interest for us in the Queen’s Speech include:

Education

  • Every school will have more money for every child and Government will level up minimum per-pupil funding for secondary schools to £5,000, and primary schools to £3,750 next year, and £4,000 the year after.
  • Continued expansion of the free schools programme
  • Government will boost Ofsted inspection so that parents can be confident they have the fullest picture of quality at their child’s school. It will consult on lifting the inspection exemption so that outstanding schools are inspected routinely.

Health

  • A funding boost for the NHS to deliver its long-term plan which will see a £33.9 billion increase in cash terms by 2023-24
  • Modernisation and reform of the Mental Health Act.

Sport

  • Introduction of a Birmingham Commonwealth Games Bill which gives financial assistance to the organising committee and creates a civil offence for unauthorised association with the Games.

Inclusion

  • Government will publish a National Strategy for Disabled People in 2020 to ensure disabled people can lead a life of opportunity and fulfilment. The strategy, to be developed with disabled people, disability organisations and charities, will include housing, education & transport.

YST activity

Sport sector letter to the Prime Minister

Following the General Election, we sent a follow-up letter to the Prime Minister this week, reiterating our request for a meeting to discuss the priorities of the Government’s School Sport & Activity Action Plan and how we can help take them forward. The letter was co-signed by over 40 sport sector partners including National Governing Bodies. We set out our belief in the need to put Physical Education at the heart of the school curriculum and ensure every child has an hour a day of physical activity.

Reshuffle update

With a full reshuffle including a realignment of government departments expected in February, there was a small reshuffle of cabinet ministers this week. There were no changes in the Department for Education, Department of Health and Social Care and Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with retiring MP Nicky Morgan elevated to the House of Lords and keeping her position as Secretary of State at DCMS.

We wrote to Secretaries of State at the three departments to invite them to our 2020 annual conference and share the six asks we published during the General Election campaign:

  1. Put children’s wellbeing at the heart of policy development
  2. Set out a long-term, joined-up plan for school sport and physical activity which sits at the heart of a government plan for children’s wellbeing
  3. Transform the Physical Education curriculum to focus on physical literacy, healthy weight, mental health and character
  4. Extend after-school sport with a particular emphasis on improving the offer in school holidays
  5. Establish a network of locally-deployed school and community sport organisers
  6. Support targeted interventions for young people most likely to miss out on the life-changing benefits of sport and play.

Read about our policy asks in full and how they align with the campaigns of some of our partners on our website here.

Upcoming dates

Monday 23 December to Tuesday 7 January 2020

  • Christmas recess in the House of Commons and House of Lords

Thursday, 27 February 2020

  • YST Annual Conference and Awards Dinner 2020. Speakers include Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham.