In the third of a four-part series into how East Lancashire can capitalise on the success of our athletes in the London Olympics, local government reporter Bill Jacobs asked a range of people across East Lancashire for their three wishes about how to get children involved in sport and find the next generation of medal winners from the area.

David Whyte, principal of St Wilfrid’s Academy, Blackburn

  • Specialist PE ambassador for small groups of primary schools contributing to an area-coordinated approach to identify and develop talent.
  • Regional opportunities to offer a variety of training camps during holiday periods with top coaches.
  • Schools and clubs need to forge closer links whilst our best athletes should be drawn to other sports rather than being sucked into being almost successful footballers. 

Brendan Loughran, principal, Darwen Aldridge Community Academy and Specialist Sports College

  • Plan and establish a network of secondary schools specialising in sports.
  • We need a community approach where these schools place specialist PE staff into primary schools and there is support available to establish local school and sports club partnerships.
  • Promoting and supporting elite practice – bring highest quality coaches into schools.

Jim Bowen, Accrington teacher turned TV and radio personality

  • We need to put a greater emphasis in schools on competitive sport not just with other schools but within the schools as the real world is competitive.
  • More dedicated physical education and sports teachers.
  • Greater respect in schools for PE and sports as part of the curriculum - the same as for maths, English and other academic subjects.

Wayne Hemingway, a Blackburn designer

  • A change of media emphasis from empty-headed celebrities who have achieved nothing to people who have worked hard to achieve like our Olympic sports stars.
  • A shift in emphasis in schools means of measuring achievement from just in terms of achievement in GCSEs, English, Maths and A-levels to a wider measure.
  • Paying state teachers to supervise after-school coaching and Saturday matches.

Janet Walsh, head teacher of Colne Primet High School

  • Further development of the School Sports Partnership Scheme – to also involve an element of brokerage for schools to contact or make links with sports people who can do work in schools.
  • A review of legislation which constrains some aspects of school sport – eg teachers’ minibus driving eligibility.
  • Help schools in encouraging the ‘sporting’ nature of supporting all competitors in a match or event.

Samantha Murray, Clitheroe’s 2012 Modern Pentathlon Olympic silver medallist

  •  More interschool sports competitions.
  • More people joining the Ribble Valley Modern Pentathlon team in Clitheroe.
  • Closer links between schools and sports clubs so that parents and children can find out how to access their local clubs.

Sophie Hitchon, Blackburn Harrier and Burnley’s 2012 Olympic shot put finalist

  • I would like to see more sports available for children to try at school to help them find what they are naturally good at
  • More competitive sport in schools
  • More funding for sports clubs, to make it cheaper for participants.

Steven Burke, Colne’s 2012 Olympic gold-medal winning cyclist

  • Now the Olympic Games have come to an end, I hope what the cycling team in particular has achieved will inspire people of all ages to ride their bikes.
  • More coverage in the media of bike races and events.
  • Future Olympians from Lancashire achieve Olympic glory

Helen Tyson, school games organiser for Burnley School Sports Partnership

  • Continuation of secondary teacher release funding - local specialist secondary PE teachers to support primary schools to deliver high quality PE and School Sport – after the academic year 2012/13.
  • Cross Party Government Policy that places PE and School Sport as a priority alongside English and Maths, with a committed allocation of time for children to participate in school sport – both competitive and recreational.
  • Investment in a School Sport Coaching Programme that trains, deploys and funds coaches to deliver specialist sports coaching in schools.