Transport for Disabled Children in London (Supplementary) [3]

Session date: 
April 17, 2006
Question By: 
Dee Doocey
Organisation: 
Liberal Democrats
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

I do have a concern about timing. I understand what you are saying but we can give you the information before it becomes public; that is not a problem at all. I am sure you must share my concern that the inability of these children with disabilities to be able to access sports facilities is likely to have a direct impact on our ability to produce Paralympian athletes. You have now seen the information. You are aware that, for example: teacher training does not include any training at all in disabilities; trainee teachers who are teaching physical education (PE) in schools have very little information on what equipment is available to help disabled children; and they are not able to recognise talent and any talent they see they have no idea what to do with it because there is no clear pathway to international competition. You are aware also that the Government say that every child should have two hours of quality PE every week, but that for disabled children only 20% of them are reaching these targets.

Bearing that in mind, and wearing your hat as one of the key players on the Olympic Board, do you not think that if something is not done very quickly and implemented very quickly, it is going to be too late to do anything at all for the Olympic Games?

Answer

Answer for Transport for Disabled Children in London (Supplementary) [3]

Answer for Transport for Disabled Children in London (Supplementary) [3]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

The reality is that most probably all our athletes who will participate in the 2012 Games and Paralympic Games are already identified. The average age of somebody at the Olympics is about 23. The key thing about the Olympics is that if you get it right and make real structural changes and changes to attitudes, you lift yourself up onto a higher level of achievement, and as the Australians demonstrated, you will then find you do better at subsequent Games.

When I read under Chatham House Rules the stuff you sent me, it struck me that overwhelmingly this is all stuff in the domain of the boroughs and to some degree of Government. I am quite happy to facilitate my links with the Government to try to see what we can do to try to drive some of this stuff forward, but I think what we would need to do, once your report is close to publication, is that we should have a meeting between the boroughs and TfL and yourself to see what we can do, because the bulk of this impacts on them. We are happy to help working through Dial-a-Ride, but Dial-a-Ride really is not the answer to all of this or other changes we can make.

Overwhelmingly it seems to me looking at this that it was primarily going to have to be borough-led and clearly the boroughs will be making assessments about their new priorities. It is most probably a good time to get in and see them about this. I am happy to be doing that jointly with you.