UK & World News

  • 24 February 2014, 17:51

Sport Stars Slam Gove's School Punishment Plan

Leading athletes are among thousands who have condemned Michael Gove's decision to punish children with exercise.

More than 8,000 people have signed a petition against the education secretary's guidance that lists "extra physical activity such as running around a playing field" as a recommended punishment.

Marathon runner Paula Radcliffe has called the guidance "totally ridiculous".

Meanwhile, triathlon champion Chrissie Wellington said the punishments would teach a generation of children to "loathe" sport.

Writing on her website, she said: "Using physical activity as a punishment is outdated and inappropriate.

"It will entrench lasting fear and loathing for sport amongst children and young people, running the risk that they will carry a negative attitude to physical activity throughout their lives."

The petition was set up by former head of Conservative Future, Gavin Megaw, and calls on the education secretary to remove the guidance.

He said: "It sends the wrong message that physical activity, in particular running, is a negative action and not something to enjoy rather than something that ensures a healthy mind and body."

Carrie Lynch, head teacher at designated sports college Great Baddow High School, said: "We want young people to value health and fitness throughout their lives so we certainly would not want them to perceive exercise as a punishment."

Announcing the guidance earlier this month, Mr Gove said teachers must "get tough" on pupils.

"Our message to teachers is clear - don't be afraid to get tough on bad behaviour and use these punishments," he said.

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