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Devizes charity slams U-turn on school pitches
6:00pm Saturday 25th August 2012 in News
Devizes based charity Bag4Sport has hit out at Government plans to make it easier for schools to reduce the size of their playing fields.
Charity co-founder Andy Trusler said: “It seems ridiculous that in the wake of the Olympics when everyone was focusing on getting more young people taking part in sport the Government has just announced this change.”
Bag4Sport Foundation was launched last November by Olympic gold medallist Tessa Sanderson to fundraise to help grass roots sport and talented youngsters.
But just days after the Olympics ended it was announced the Government is to relax restrictions on how much playing field land schools need, which would pave the way for them to use pitches for classroom development. Mr Trusler, who also runs APT Electrics on the Roundway Business Park, said: “During the Olympics we heard from everyone including Lord Coe and top athletes saying how important it was for children to take part in more sport and how the Government was going to make school PE lessons a priority.
“But just days later we heard about the changes to playing field requirements and it just does not seem to make sense.
“Schools need to be leading the way in encouraging youngsters to take part and if they have less land earmarked for sports pitches fewer children will be able to participate.”
Bag4Sport has donated £500 to the Camp Xtra holiday sports scheme run at Devizes School this summer.
Mr Trusler said: “Devizes School is a sports college and so recognises the importance of PE but not every school is going to be thinking the same way.”
At the moment, rules say schools must provide between 2,500 and 75,000 sq metres of space for team games depending on the numbers of pupils.
But under the new rules, which come into effect in October, schools must merely provide ‘suitable outdoor space’ for physical education and play. Actual dimensions of land will become a guideline rather than law.