Former education secretary, Michael Gove, caused a furore in February by issuing guidance for teachers stating that 'extra physical activity such as running around a playing field' should be used as punishment in schools. Now his successor, Nicky Morgan has written a private letter to David Moorcroft, interim chair of the Run Group, stating that she's asked for this guidance to be removed.
After making the statement, Gove was derided by many high-profile figures in the running world and a petition was launched to have the guidance removed, gaining 10,000 signatures.
In the letter to David Moorcroft, Morgan writes: “I share your view that it threatens to have a negative impact on the sport and on the view young people take of it. One of my priorities as Secretary of State is to encourage schools to do what they can to build the resilience and character of our young people, and I see sport as playing a crucial role in this. I have therefore asked officials to revise the guidance immediately and to remove any suggestion that running might be used as a form of punishment. A new version of the document – minus the offending clause – will be issued on the Department’s website by the end of the week.”
David Moorcroft commented: "Well done Nicky Morgan. She understood from the start why this mattered and has delivered a change on an issue that could have had a negative impact on running for future generations. As a former PE teacher who remembers the ‘bad old days’, the inclusion of such a sanction had been particularly disappointing given the Olympic and Paralympic Legacy objective of encouraging participation in school sports and wider society. I am delighted that has now been rectified.”