Primary school sport

Q: My football mad 8 year old is at our local primary and doesn’t play any competitive sport. Is there anything I can do about this?

A: What a sad question! And how frustrating! The National Curriculum for Key Stage 2 stipulates the inclusion of competitive sports - alongside all kinds of other criteria for developing physical skills and strengths. So, you have every reason to go to your school and point this out - taking it to the school governors, if need be, or beyond to whoever owns or runs your school. Of course, physical activity doesn't have to be competitive to be energetic, challenging and good fun but we are well past the days when educationalists frowned on the fostering of competition so it's hard to see how anything - even lack of space - could justify this.

However, some schools are so strapped for space that it makes team games - or almost any games - a considerable challenge so, while this is being sorted out, you may need to look for opportunities to play sports - football included - outside of school. Many local authorities or private sports enterprises run football clubs for youngsters on Saturday or Sunday mornings in local parks or on common land. Some borrow the facilities of better-provided- for local schools - often secondary schools or colleges. A quick Google around your local area - sports fields, sports clubs and local authority sports facilities should help you identify opportunities for games of all kinds - particularly football.

In the last resort, your son will be far from alone in wanting to belt about a muddy pitch as often as possible. Advertise in your local paper, on local websites, on supermarket boards - or even on your school's parent portal, if any. You'll soon meet other enthusiasts and willing coaches too - though remember to check on the DBS status of anyone you actually employ to take on this role. Best of luck!