The Government have announced additional funding to support schools in providing high quality PE and sport to pupils and action to ensure that girls and boys have equal access to sport in school. Schools are being asked to ensure that girls are offered the same opportunities as boys during PE and extracurricular activities. Where schools are able to evidence and demonstrate their delivery against the Government ambitions of parity between the sexes in school sport, this will be acknowledged through the School Games Mark, an assurance scheme that recognises a school’s commitment to the development of competition across their school and into the community.
The Government are encouraging schools to offer a minimum of two hours’ curriculum PE time so that pupils can experience the benefits of regular exercise—from becoming healthier both mentally and physically to better academic achievement and improved attainment. With the support of the Football Association and other sporting organisations, the Government will identify schools that offer a minimum of two hours PE and equal access for girls to sport during curriculum time and additional extracurricular activities and will share good practice. This will help all schools to improve their provision despite wider pressures.
The Primary PE and Sport Premium will continue for academic years 2023-24 and 2024-25 with a total of over £600 million of funding across the two years, with funding provided by the Department for Education and the Department for Health and Social Care. The Primary PE and Sport Premium is provided to all primary schools in England, with an average of £18,000 per school. Schools must use the funding to make additional and sustainable improvements to the quality of PE and sport they provide, with eligible spending including teacher training, providing a wider range of sports to pupils and top-up swimming lessons. Schools will receive updated guidance this summer setting out how schools should be using the funding to the best advantage of their pupils. A new digital tool will also be introduced for schools to report on spending of their allocation of the PE and Sport Premium.
An additional £11 million per year to fund School Games Organisers is being made available for a further two academic years until 2025, provided by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department of Health and Social Care. This national network of 450 School Games Organisers works directly with their local schools to co-ordinate inclusive sport competitions across 40 different sports and activities.
The Department for Education is funding up to £57 million to deliver phase three of the Opening School Facilities programme which allows schools to open their sport facilities outside of the core school day, at weekends and during holidays. The programme is being delivered by consortium partners Active Partnerships, ukactive, Youth Sport Trust and StreetGames. Up to 1,350 schools across England will be targeted where the funding will have the most positive impact in their communities including for girls, disadvantaged children, those with special educational needs and disabilities and other groups who have lower participation levels in sport.
The Government’s announcement made on 8 March will be followed later in the spring by publication of the Government’s new sport strategy and an update to the School Sport and Activity Action Plan.