City’s sports reputation is growing in UK

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THIS week, Sheffield is once again in the national spotlight, hosting thousands of athletes and spectators in the UK School Games.

The event had its inaugural year in 2008 thanks to a grant from the Legacy Trust UK as part of the London 2012 Games.

And cities had to bid to host the school games. With a year to go to the Olympics, 2011 was the most sought-after year to host the games - and Sheffield outbid all the other cities.

This week, we will see a celebration of youth athletics in the many world-class sporting venues in the city.

That is one of the main reasons why Sheffield triumphed.

Sport is becoming synonymous with the city and it has venues to match its aspiration.

We have already shown what we are capable of by hosting the European Fencing Championships and World Student Games.

The UK School Games is another feather in our cap and one we should be proud to have.

However, we should not take it for granted.

Its success will also depend on the level of support the people of Sheffield show for the event.

We have 10 athletes competing in the games.

It would be a shame if they competed in half-empty stadia and venues. So why not spend some time this weekend supporting our athletes and showing the rest of Britain that we are proud of our sporting reputation?

Schools need a carrot and stick

SOME of Sheffield’s most struggling schools have it all to do if they are to climb out of the Government’s “danger zone” when it comes to GCSE pass rates.

Six schools failed to beat the “floor target” of 35 per cent of pupils achieving five A*-C passes.

And some of those schools went backwards, seeing their overall performance slip further below the target.

Praise should go to Parkwood Academy. Earlier this year it celebrated an Ofsted inspection that noted improvements had been made at the school. This has now been reflected in a better exams performance.

But for those who are going in the wrong direction, they will find themselves in an unwelcome spotlight.

The Government is set to make the target still higher next year. What is unclear is at what stage it will step in to take action.

But it is all very well threatening action. What it must do is provide investment and additional funding for struggling schools to help them to make a difference.