School sport partnerships are continuing to be successful in increasing the amount of time pupils spend taking part in PE and sport.
A survey of almost 11,500 schools involved in the new partnerships showed that 69% of pupils now take part in two hours or more of PE and school sport each week, compared with 62% in partnership schools a year ago.
The government wants all children to do at least two hours of PE and sport a week in school by 2010. There are interim targets of 75% achieving the standard by 2006 and 85% by 2008.
School sport partnerships bring together primary, secondary and special schools in networks that benefit from extra staff and funding. At the time of the survey, 54% of schools in England were in partnerships. This should now have risen to 75% and all schools are expected to be within a partnership by 2006.
Participation figures at secondary schools are running ahead of those at primary schools. The survey for 2004-2005 showed 75% of secondary pupils meeting the two hour target compared with 64% of primary pupils. It concluded that extra effort would be needed to engage key stage 1 pupils and those reaching the end of secondary school if continued progress was to be made.
An Ofsted report found that the partnership strategy had made a positive difference to PE and sport in schools. Inspectors found that, whilst the majority of schools visited were committed to providing two hours of PE, there were considerable variations between schools. In primary schools KS1 pupils received less PE than those in KS2 and more time was allocated in KS3 in secondary schools.