1000 Scottish schools have no outdoor sports facilities

More than 1,000 Scottish schools '“ including eight per cent of secondaries '“ have no outdoor sports facilities, it has emerged.

Tuesday, 3rd January 2017, 7:12 am
Updated Monday, 9th January 2017, 12:01 pm
Labour South MSP Daniel Johnson.

Figures from SportScotland, the national agency for sport, show 40 per cent of schools are without any kind of outdoor provision.

Scottish Labour said the figures reflected SNP cuts to local authority budgets, but the Scottish Government said that £168 million had been invested in sports facilities over the past ten years.

According to correspondence between SportScotland and Labour, 1,040 Scottish schools have no outdoor sports facilities, including 43 per cent of primaries, eight per cent of secondaries and 77 per cent of schools for those with additional support needs(ASN).

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Labour said SportScotland had cut investment in school sport by £1.3m last year, down from £14.9m in 2014-15 to £13.6m in 2015-16.

The party’s education spokesman, Daniel Johnson MSP, said: “Having access to outdoor sports facilities isn’t just about finding the next Andy Murray, it’s about cutting the attainment gap with healthier children more likely to do well in the classroom.

“We also know that Scotland has made almost no progress in tackling childhood obesity in the last ten years. Access to outdoor sports facilities should be part of the solution.”

The Scottish Government said it was investing in a range of areas to encourage healthy lifestyles, including £149m in free school meals for all primary 1 to 3 children and £11.6m to support schools to meet manifesto commitments on PE. It has also made a commitment to roll out the Daily Mile initiative, which encourages schoolchildren to run for a mile each day.

Sports minister Aileen Campbell said: “Ninety-eight per cent of primary and secondary schools across Scotland are now providing at least two hours or two periods of PE a week. That is a key part of our sport strategy for children and young people.”