School sport is set to be transformed this autumn when the government’s new £150 million funding package comes into play.
The cash will go directly into the hands of primary headteachers to spend on improving sport and physical education (PE) for their pupils. Now, during School Sport Week, schools are being urged to ensure they are not left at the starting line in September.
Children’s Minister Edward Timpson has today written to every primary school to alert them to a new online information source to help headteachers decide how to spend the cash.
Edward Timpson said:
Giving every child the opportunities they need to stay fit and healthy and to excel at sport is an Olympic legacy we can all be proud of.
Headteachers know their pupils best and we trust them to spend this money on what will benefit their schools pupils most - from organised football tournaments to new hockey sticks or buying in PE specialists and expert coaches.
We have published advice today as it’s vital schools start planning now how best to spend this money to ensure their pupils benefit as much as possible once the new term begins.
The funding - which works out at around £9,250 for an average primary school of 250 pupils - is ringfenced and must be used to improve PE and sport. Within that headteachers are free to use the money how they choose
The pack published online today includes case studies of primary schools that excel in PE and sport, advice from organisations including Sport England and the Youth Sport Trust, and suggestions for how schools could spend their share, including:
- hiring specialist PE teachers or qualified sports coaches
- running sport competitions or increasing participation in the School Games
- providing cover or professional development so more teachers are trained in PE
- buying new equipment, from football kits to tennis racquets
- providing places for pupils on after-school sport clubs and holiday clubs
- pooling money together with other local schools
In addition to the funding boost, the government has announced a pilot teacher training programme which will for the very first time bring in 120 new primary teachers who specialise in teaching PE.
Public Health Minister Anna Soubry said:
The overwhelming benefits of exercising more are clear. With a third of children overweight by the age of 11, boosting sports provision in schools will help us tackle this country’s obesity problem.
That is why the Department of Health is contributing £120 million to encourage children to get up and active as much as possible.
With inactivity costing the NHS more than £1 billion a year we cannot afford to let our children grow up without access to sport and exercise.
Notes to editors
- In March the government announced the £150 million package, with the money coming from the Department for Education, the Department for Health, and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
- Schools will be held to account for how they spend the sport funding by Ofsted and in future will be required to include details about their sporting provision on their website so parents can compare schools.