Investing for our children’s future

State of the Estate report shows nearly 60% of schools agree or strongly agree that the current level of investment in PE facilities at their school is insufficient.

The State of the Estate special report, commissioned by the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) examined the provision and condition of school building and infrastructure of over 900 UK schools. Research has shown that the condition of a building has a substantiative impact on the wellbeing, attainment, and behaviour of pupils and staff. Despite this, a recent report by the National Audit Office found that over 700,000 pupils are learning in a building which requires a rebuilding or major refurbishment.

In the attached report, you can see a breakdown of key areas within the school estate, including IT Infrastructure, Classrooms, Science facilities and more. The section on PE facilities was based on more than 350 responses and showed that more than half of schools reported issues with changing facilities and only 15% said they had well resourced playing fields that are in good condition.

Asked to comment on these findings for the report, CEO Ali Oliver said:

The Youth Sport Trust passionately believes improving children and young people’s wellbeing is a national priority. Nearly every day seems to bring a new story or statistic about children’s declining mental and physical health and wellbeing, serving to highlight just how much young people are struggling at the moment. The UK’s Chief Medical Officers recommend children and young people should be active for a minimum of 60 active minutes a day. However, currently only 47% of children meet this target.

Healthy, happy children learn better and being physically active not only facilitates positive physical and mental health, but also provides access to skills such as teamwork, communication and leadership, helps foster a sense of wellbeing, and drives educational attainment.

Every child has the right to be physically active and we believe schools are uniquely placed to provide opportunities to all children, including through PE and school sport. However, as this report shows, nearly 60% of schools agree or strongly agree that the current level of investment in PE facilities at their school is insufficient and may lead to significant challenges in the future.

Delivering on a long-term plan to increase children’s activity level requires investment in school facilities, so all children are empowered to develop their physical literacy and have an active start in life. Not only can this help in providing high-quality, enjoyable PE and school sport experiences, but by also providing greater access to facilities outside the school day, we can deliver more opportunities for children and young people to be physically active to support them to achieve 60 active minutes each day."

Published on 29 February 2024