altSeptember 30 - British hopes of Olympic judo medals have been boosted by news that the number of schools teaching the sport has rocketed by 50 per cent.

According to a Government study 13 per cent of schools now offer training in the martial art compared to eight per cent six years ago.

Teachers have become increasingly switched on to the sport’s array of health benefits and promotion of discipline and respect.

The study, carried out annually by the Department of Education, also showed small drops in the proportion of schools offering more traditional games.

Schools currently host judo through the British Judo Association’s Enjoy Judo programme where British Judo coaches deliver tailored classes through breakfast clubs, curricular activity, lunch time and after-school classes.

They also work in conjunction with British Judo’s School 2 Dojo programme which is supported by Sport England. The programme establishes strong ties between schools and a local judo club which provides an outlet for pupils, who have been equipped with the fundamentals, to practise the sport to a higher level.

In May the programme reached the milestone of linking 500 schools with neighbouring judo clubs.

Daniel Griffin, British Judo’s Children and Young People Development Manager, believes the results bode well.

"These results are very encouraging," he said.

"We’re delighted to see the impact of schemes such as School 2 Dojo where we take pupils into community clubs to participate or volunteer in all areas of the sport."

British Judo, which has adopted the motto of ‘judo for all’, has members ranging from five to 85.