The primary PE and sport premium is a huge investment by government into primary PE and school sport provision – and is one of the biggest commitments we have seen for a generation. Kate Thornton-Bousfield, lead of PE and achievement at the Youth Sport Trust, dispels the myths around the funding and offers some sound guidance on how to make use of it to transform PE in your school
For many schools the prospect of where to spend the doubled £320m funding correctly is a daunting task. With ever-tightening budgets, and cuts to funding elsewhere, it’s a concern, in some cases, that this funding is not being spent appropriately.
As outlined by Ofsted in its review of obesity, healthy eating and physical activity in primary schools, we agree there’s a need for a better formal assessment of PE which would help keep parents informed of their children’s physical development. We hope the review will help to form the basis of a more robust assessment of how schools are harnessing the power of physical activity to improve young people’s health, wellbeing and readiness to learn.
Creating a worthwhile legacy
In recent months, through our network of more than 4,200-member schools, we have been hearing how they are hesitant on how best to spend this funding. As a national children’s charity, with the interests of young people at our core, we want to ensure it is used to create a legacy – after all, it gives us the best chance we have in a generation to really transform primary school PE and sport.
We know that the funding will continue into the 2018/19 academic year. Schools are free to choose how to spend the investment but must use it to make additional and sustainable improvements to the quality of PE and sport they offer. The government has not confirmed an end date for the investment; however, we are seeking to support schools over the coming months to ensure they can maintain the impact that the funding has made and thus ensure there’s sustainable, high-quality PE, school sport and physical activity beyond the life of the funding. So, what should schools be using the premium for?
Schools SHOULD use the premium to:
- develop or add to the PE and sport activities which they already offer;
- build capacity and capability within their school to ensure that improvements made now will benefit pupils joining the school in future years.
Schools should NOT use the premium to:
- employ coaches or specialist teachers to cover planning preparation and assessment (PPA) arrangements – these should come out of schools’ core staffing budgets;
- teach the minimum requirements of the national curriculum PE programmes of study, including those specified for swimming.
What support is on offer for schools?
To support schools in planning for sustainable impact, and to report against the government’s five published key indicators, the Youth Sport Trust was commissioned by the DfE to develop a template alongside the Association for Physical Education. You can download the template – which you can find on our primary PE and sport premium guidance page – to help plan, monitor and report on the impact of spending.
The charity has also worked with a group of primary headteachers to develop a toolkit for schools. The purpose of the toolkit is to use key questions to challenge practice and support in the planning process. It’s a free, step-by-step, interactive resource, broken down into five short sections which can be used by schools to evaluate their current position and to support them in deciding what actions need to be taken to ensure sustainability.
Each section has a powerful video message from a primary headteacher articulating important considerations, outcomes and solutions. It provides a framework for schools to undertake a self-review and contains a series of prompts and examples of how to maximise the impact of the PE and sport premium funding against your school’s priorities.
Panel: Key questions to ask children in your primary school
A ‘Yes’ to these four questions from every primary age child would mean that schools had invested wisely and in the best interests of children. It is not too late to invest in a healthy future for them and the continuous school improvement this brings with it.
- Do you have confident and capable class teachers who lead you in your PE and sport in school?
- Do the adults in school help you keep active for at least 30 minutes per day, every day?
- Do you take part in competitive sport more than you did before?
- Do the adults in school provide a wider range of ways for you to be physically active, including opportunities to try different sports?