Tower Hamlets pupils take fight over sports funding to Downing Street

Tower Hamlets students will demonstrate against cuts to school sports funding outside the Houses of Parliament tomorrow (December 7).

After the Government announced its intention to scrap the �162m funding for school sports partnerships (SSPs) in October, a national campaign against the decision has gathered pace.

Around 100 pupils and former pupils from secondary schools and sixth-form colleges in Tower Hamlets will join potentially 2012 students from across the country in Westminster tomorrow.

A national petition, which has been signed by around 5000 people in Tower Hamlets, will be handed in at Downing Street by a group of six students, including Shuheb Karim, 18, a student at Sir John Cass Sixth-form College in Stepney Way and a former pupil at Stepney Green Maths and Computing College in Ben Jonson Road.

He has previously spoken in front of the International Olympic Committee and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Olympic double gold-medallist Dame Kelly Holmes and former sprinter Darren Campbell, who took Olympic gold for the 4 X 100m relay in 2004, will join the group.

The petition will also be handed to Tim Loughton MP, the Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families and students will demonstrate in the Old Palace Yard.

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Chris Willetts, manager of the Langdon Park School SSP, one of two in the borough, will accompany Tower Hamlets pupils.

He said: “We’re very conscious that it should be controlled and we want to show that involvement in sport produces responsible young people.

“The best outcome would be that there is no change in the level of investment.”

SSPs create sports programmes for primary and secondary schools and also allow PE teachers to take time away from curriculum teaching to develop sports competitions and out-of-school clubs.

Speaking in the House of Commons last Wednesday, Prime Minister David Cameron said a new policy on school sports would be unveiled soon.