SPORT is not taken seriously by government and many disabled children are still sent to the library during PE at school, former Paralympian Baroness Grey-Thompson said today.

The Redcar-based 11-time Paralympic gold medallist, who was recently overlooked for the post as chairwoman of Sport England, told the House of Commons Education Committee that some sports have fewer disabled children competing now than when she was a child.

She said: "Certainly towards the end of my career and even now what were seeing is in some sports less disabled children competing now than when I was 12, before the world Paralympic was invented. My sport, wheelchair racing, theres very few girls competing."

Baroness Grey-Thompson said many mainstream schools did not know how to teach disabled children sports, saying: "Still an awful lot of disabled children are sent to the library because teachers don't feel equipped or able, in many cases, to integrate them properly into lessons."

Last month, Labour figures including former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott accused Tory peers of blocking Baroness Grey-Thompson's appointment as the next chairwoman of Sport England, the Government's sports funding body.

The peer said today that if she had been made chairwoman, her priority would be sport teacher training and physical activity in schools.

She said sport is not taken seriously, adding: "I think it's always seen as something lovely and when we have a successful Olympics and Paralympics, you know, the athletes get turned out, but because it's hard to do I think it gets sometimes ignored in the years in between."

Baroness Grey-Thompson said it would be impossible to get the Department of Health and Department for Education ministers in a room together to discuss sport and said: "We're trying to save money because of tough economic times, the obesity bill is just going to keep rising, welfare benefits will just keep rising and actually sport, physical activity can do an awful lot to challenge and help those things."