A basis for fitness or sloth

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A basis for fitness or sloth

    A basis for fitness or sloth? Youth sport and PE in France and UK

    ( A4, 57 pages )

    Michael F Collins

    Institute of Sport and Leisure Policy, Loughborough University

    FrancoBritish Council, London April 2003



     Page 1. INTRODUCTION 1

    Structures for PE and sport in the two countries 2


    Income, poverty and participation 9 Social class and opportunity 10

    Youth in society 120

    Health and exercise 11

    Sport for all or sport for good? 12 Plurality of provision 13

    Global influences of individualisation, professionalisation and elite sport 14


    The development of PE and school sport in the UK 17 PE and school sport in France 22 The current state of PE in Western Europe 26

    PE, physical activity and PE for sport 27

    PE, school sport and lifelong participation 89

    Government intervention in school sport 89

    School sport policy in France 37


    Sport for health 41

    Sport and social inclusion 41

    Sport and education 42

    Employment in sport 43

    Sport increasing community safety/ reducing crime, especially among youth 443


    Franco-British similarities and contrasts

References 51




    1. The sports system in England 4

    2. Sports Structures in France 6

    3. Individualisation of British sports activity 1987-96 15 4. The sports development continuum 30

    5. Participation in sport and physical activity by gender 32 6. Sports participation increasing or decreasing 1987-96? 32 7. Sports club membership in England 36

    8. Activity typology of English schoolchildren, 2002 49


    1. Public expenditure on sport 8

    2. France and UK: demographic projections 2000-2050 8 3. Child poverty in Europe 9

    4. Facets of PE in Western Europe 26

    5. Youth Sport Trust programmes 31

    6. Sports participation by English young people in school years 2-11 in and

     outside school 2002 33

7. The government’s PE, School Sport, and Club Links Strategy 35

    8. Sports participation amongst 15-24 year olds in France, 2000 37

     Most popular sports among 15-24 year olds in France, 2000 37 9.

    10. Key features of Positive Futures 45

    11. Franco-British similarities and differences in context 47 12. Franco-British similarities and differences in school PE and sport 49 13. Franco-British similarities and differences in sport for good 50



    This section looks at

    ; the importance of sport in the economies of England and France

    ; national and local structures for delivering sport

    ; government spending on sport

    Physical Education or PE is concerned with learning the basics of movement: running, jumping, throwing, catching, and kicking. Sport is the application of these skills in rule-bound and often competitive disciplines. Ancient cultures trained their male youth for

    thcombat and war, but the concept of PE was first coined by Locke in the late 17 century.

    This paper undertakes a brief comparative review, within the limitations of available data and studies, which, as we shall see, are not inconsiderable. No chapter on France,

    1for example, exists in the compendium Worldwide trends in youth sport or the

    2Worldwide survey of the state and status of school PE . We shall draw on official

    documents in UK from two ministries in particular - the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Department for Education and Skills (DfES), and the main agency, Sport England (SE); in France the equivalents are the Ministère des Sports (MS) - (formerly MJS - Ministère de Jeunesse et du Sport) and the Ministère de l’Éducation Nationale (MEN). International sports matters (representation on international bodies, supporting elite squads, attracting major events and handling drug abuse) are the responsibility in Britain of UK Sport; in France these are part of the sports ministry’s remit.

    The MJS began in 1921 as the department responsible for physical education and (apart from a short period as part of a Ministry of Free Time) has been allied with youth or Education under 81 governments; by contrast, in England sport was the responsibility of the Department for Education until 1966 and from 1990 to 92, but otherwise has been linked first to local government ministries and then to culture. Indeed from 1966 to the mid 1990s links with education were not close, a situation rare across the world.

    It should be said that there are sports councils and overseeing ministries for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; it is not that these are not important, but the historic complexity, now increased by devolution, defies adequate treatment in this short report, and many policies are similar; therefore I confine discussion to England.


    Sport is now big business; in 2000 in England it generated ?14.6bn, 1.5% of the total valued-added to production (on which VAT is levied), just over 1% of household

    3; this is larger than the motor industry or income and nearly 2% of employment

    furniture or breadmaking and half as big again as agriculture. In France, sport is of a similar scale and importance, in 2001 providing 1.7% of GDP (?25.4 bn), and rather

    4,5more 1.6% - of household consumption. Like most European states, both countries

    had a net import balance of sports goods.

Structures for Sport and PE in the two countries

    Both countries have well-developed amateur sporting systems, Britain’s having started life slightly earlier. The British scene is particularly complex, because there are governing bodies for UK, GB, England, Wales, Scotland, northern Ireland individually, and all-Ireland; devolution is, if anything likely to see new non-English bodies forming. In England alone there are over 470 bodies for over 100 sports; these affiliate about 150,000 small single-sport clubs; a 2003 estimate puts membership at 5.3m in England (perhaps 6.25 million in the UK or 8.5% of the population). In France things are a little simpler, with eighty National Sports Organisations; 10 million people (22.7% of the population) are members of clubs associated with National Sports Organisations, and 12.5% say they compete. The confederation for sport in England is the Central Council for Physical Recreation (CCPR), founded in 1935 and covering outdoor, non-competitive sports and dance. The French equivalent is the Comité Nationale Olympique et Sportive Française (CNOSF). The British Olympic Association was

    formed prior to the London Games of 1908 and its French equivalent soon afterwards, in 1911. The commercial sector in both countries is growing; there are some large conglomerate companies, hotel and retail and fitness chains but, overwhelmingly, private establishments are small and medium-sized enterprises (with a maximum 250 workers), with many micro-enterprises (fewer than 10 employees) especially in sports

    67retailing, services and outdoor activities see Collins, 1993 and Viallon et al 2003.

    Local authorities in England operate at two levels, county and district, though a new regional level may be emerging; in France there are three levels régions, départments

    and municipalities/communes. The last five UK governments have taken increasingly tight control of local spending and direction of local policies, even though sport and


    leisure are permissive rather than mandatory services, and so standards and quality vary widely. In contrast, in 1982 local governments in France were given powers to promote sport and tourism and, have taken these up with varying degrees of vigour: 80% of them provide sports facilities and 49% sports development programmes.

    In the UK nationally sport now falls (with a clutch of leisure-related functions each with a junior minister) under the aegis of the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS - founded in 1990 as the Department of National Heritage). PE is still the responsibility of the Department for Education and Skills, but with the DCMS becoming very active in school sport, the two Departments are having to work closer

    8 has together. Almost every UK government, most recently Tony Blair’s in Game Plan

    tried to simplify the labyrinth, depicted in its current form in Figure 1. When first formed in 1966 the Sports Council was intended as an independent advisor 'at arms length ' from politics, but under four conservative governments from 1979 to 1997 and Labour since the arm has shortened, through control of budgets and increasing numbers of directions and overarching strategies, so that now Sport England and UK Sport are agencies of Her Majesty’s Government, clearly not intended to question, much less

    9resist its will . There are no laws mandating and regulating sport like those in France and many other countries.

    The Sports Council for the bulk of its existence privileged 'Sport for All' (through promoting and grant-aiding local facilities and programmes) with around two-thirds of

    9its budget, the rest going to elite sport and international events; a proportion and sums

    that the National Governing Bodies and Olympic interests complained were toosmall. In the 1980s sports science coaching and medicine programmes were promoted with professional bodies, and then in 1993 the international functions were separated and given to UK Sport, leaving Sport England with domestic responsibilities, but still 90% of the sporting population and budget. As a result of co-sponsoring a National Fitness

    10Survey in 1992, the Sports Council had started working with health interests. But John Major’s Minister for Sport radically changed the priorities and remit in 1995, removing fitness


Figure 1: The sports system in England insert from Game Plan

    and health issues as ‘someone else’s business’ and leaving Sport for All (which it saw as a costly and inchoate task) by implication to local authorities (despite their reduced budgets).

    11 were: school and The priorities set out in the 1995 report Sport: Raising the Game

    youth sport, supporting and developing talent, and ensuring that the riches of the new National Lottery (which quadrupled the Sport Council’s budget by adding ?200m a year)

    were spent well on these programmes. The new Labour government from 1997 increased and elaborated on the school programmes (see below), introduced a English


    Institute of Sport for supporting elite athletes, modelled on that in Australia, by means

    12of regional centres established at universities, sought to strengthen volunteering and

    sought to use sport as a lever to fight crime, help regeneration, and combat social

    138exclusion. A further review Game Plan (2002) sought to use mass sport as a tool for

    improving health, for evolving a more effective system for identifying and developing sporting talent, and as a credible means of selecting major events for public support. It also sought to rationalise the structures, and the nearest and easiest means of doing that was to remodel Sport England, which in becoming a more strategic distributor of resources will have its staff halved.

    In France the system is more straightforward, and clearly hierarchical (Figure 2). Certainly since they have the power to recognise and certificate coaching, teaching, lecturing, animation, and fitness instruction staff, to licence practioners, and to approve programmes for grant aid, the French ministries are more ‘hands-on’ than thier English

    counterparts. Sport has been twinned with education and youth for most of its life, sometimes as a sub-department, (though for a short time in the 1970s itwas part of a short-lived Ministry of Leisure and Free Time). In 2002, however, the two functions were separated. Both Ministries (Sport and Education) will now have inspectors and staff in regions and departments, paralleled by Sports Federation and Olympic structures. The voluntary bodies in France have traditionally less autonomy, since, at least until 1985, in selecting French teams and organising events they were acting as agencies of the Government. After that date they were given more direct responsibility. In 1992 issues around football riots, violence on the pitch and drug abuse led to a new Sports Act which empowered the Minister of National Education to supervise professional clubs, oversee health and safety issues at venues, and support athletes’ health. The 80 national sports bodies affiliate some 165,000 clubs, which, as in England, are mainly singlesport and small, but with a few more multi-sport clubs. The MS

    licences participants some 13.8 million, of whom 14% are soccer players, 10% tennis

    players and 7% skiers.


    14 Figure 2: Sports Structures in France (scan and modify from Hardman, 1996)

    Influenced by practice in Scandinavia, Sport for All activities in France only developed after 1972, through programmes delivered regionally. The target areas were health, senior citizens, handicapped people and workers, and the training of sports teachers in these new programmes (1,000 were certified by 1999). National Plans Four to Six, ending in 1975, promoted the building of local indoor, outdoor and open country facilities, including sport tourism resorts. Recent programmes have extended to women and young people at risk, whereas in England these have been the responsibility of the Home Office . The MS contributed some ? 2m to events annually.


Table 1: Public expenditure on sport

    level England 2000 (?bn) France 1999 (?bn)

    Central Government 2.83 1.0*

    MEN 2.08

    MJS 0.50

    Other Ministries 0.05

    Emplois-jeunes SPORT 1.10**

    Local authorities 23.3 7.82

     Régions 0.27

    Départements 0.52

    Communes 7.01

    Emplois-jeunes SPORT 0.10**

    TOTAL 24.3 64.5

     * not including spending on school sport ** shared sources: 3,4

    Even if educational spendingwere included, Table 1 would show substantially higher public spending on sport in France. The French MEN spending figure includes sport and swimming in primary schools (?0.35bn), secondary schools (?1.58bn) and of the STAPs degrees in Higher Education (?0.21bn). The MS’s budget in 2003, up by 1.3% from 2002, included:

    ; ?60m for health and safety in sport including anti-doping measures and an

    epidemiological study of sport and health

    ; ?200m for realigning the role of sport in social cohesion, including new local

    contracts with communes to reduce youth crime (?2.36m), and efforts to

    increase employment in NSOs (?0.75m)

    ; funds for promoting the quality and international ranking of French sport, and

    ; funds for modernisation of MS’ sports facilities and increasing the numbers and

    expertise of sports professors and inspectors (MS Dossier des Mois

    Nov 2002).

    The rest of this report is in three main sections: the first looks at the demographic and social issues affecting PE and sport; the second at participation in and out of school and the policies and practices that affect it this is ‘sport for sport’s sake’; and the third at youth sport ‘for social good’ – that is, any evidence that sport contributes to health, education, social inclusion, regeneration and safer and more cohesive communities.


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