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- 25 October 2013 00:00
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The School Games has given children’s sports in the UK a massive boost with latest figures showing that nearly 5.5 million school children are now eligible to compete; marking a huge increase of over 1.5 million from last year.
The new statistics from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) also reveal that there are over 13,500 schools signed up to the event – marking an increase of almost 5,000 from the year before when just over 8,300 were signed up.
This year’s School Games was considered a huge success as it culminated in a spectacular Finals competition in Sheffield and Culture Secretary Maria Miller has praised the huge increase in the number children involved in the initiative.
"It is fantastic to see so many schools signed up to the School Games which is a key part of Government’s £1 billion commitment to increase participation, improve grass roots sport and build on our Olympic legacy,” said Miller.
"The atmosphere at the Sheffield School Games last month was incredible and I saw for myself how it is transforming competitive sport in schools and helping create a sporting habit for young people that can last a lifetime.”
The latest figures show that a total of 5,220 have signed up to the School Games with the number having risen from 8,341 in 2011/12 to 13,561 in 2012/13.
It means that over1.5 million more students are now eligible to take part in the competition with the figure have increased from 3.8 million in 2011/12 to 5.4 million for 2012/13.
Last month, the 2013 Sainsbury’s School Games Finals in Sheffield saw 1,400 of the most talented school-age disabled and non-disabled athletes competing against each other in 12 current and future Olympic and Paralympic sports across eight venues in the city.
Following the event, the Culture Secretary announced that the prestigious 2014 Sainsbury’s School Games Finals will be hosted in Manchester, another city renowned for its passion for sport.
Similar to previous years, the 2014 Sainsbury's School Games Finals will have an opening and closing ceremony, medal presentations, drug testing advice from UK Anti-Doping and an athletes' village to create the look and feel of a major multi-sports event.
Aside from the School Games, the Government is investing over £1 billion of public money into grassroots sport, over four years, to improve facilities and strengthen sporting provision and opportunities.
Established in 2011, the School Games is a competition over four levels for school-aged children and designed to build on the success of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The programme aims to transform competitive sport in schools and get more young able-bodied and disabled people playing sport through class versus class and school versus school competitions along with county-wide sports festivals.
The programme is run by DCMS who work with the Department for Education, the Department of Health, Sport England, the British Paralympic Association and the Youth Sport Trust to deliver the School Games.
In 2012/13 there was a total of £51 million of public funding for the School Games.