A “Schools Olympics” pitting pupils from around the country against each other could be introduced by a future Conservative government and would replace the existing UK School Games, which feature competitors of school age, but do not actually involve teams or individuals from rival establishments.
Jeremy Hunt, the shadow secretary of state for culture, media and sport, is considering proposals which would see schools compete against each other in a variety of events at local, county and regional levels, before a national championships was held in a major UK city.
At the culmination of the Games, one school would be crowned with the accolade of the sportiest in the country.
Mr Hunt said “We all know how important competitive sport is in teaching children about values like discipline and picking yourself up when things go wrong.
“But the best way to make sure it really takes root in our schools is by tapping into the competitive instincts all schools have to do well against their rivals.
“At the moment school sport league tables are patchy at best – a more rigorous system would allow the return of national school sports championships in many more sports.”
The last UK Schools Games were held in Bristol and Bath in August, and featured nine sports including athletics, hockey, swimming and table tennis. In most events, competitors were selected according to their standing in existing county sport structures or via the youth sections of national sports bodies.
Mr Hunt believes that the Games would be far more meaningful if schools were pitted against each other, rather than the competition being open only to children who were already elite athletes.
He said that the event would be a fitting way to mark the run up to the 2012 London Olympics.