Charity welcomes Government announcement for critical school sport funding

Today the Government has announced over £600 million of ringfenced funding to support primary school physical activity and sport, alongside an additional £22 million of funding for the nationwide network of 450 School Games Organisers.

Both sets of funding will provide support for the next two academic years and will help schools in England to ensure PE and school sport are inclusive, engaging and fun for all young people, allowing every child the opportunity to compete.

Recent research conducted by the Youth Sport Trust highlighted the potential impact should the funding not have been confirmed. This included an increase in children leaving school unable to swim, and three in four schools (73%) unable to maintain their current physical activity and after-school sport offer, at a time when fewer than half of all young people in England meet the minimum recommended activity level of 60 minutes a day.

The Youth Sport Trust has been concerned about the lack of evidence around the impact of the Primary PE and Sport Premium to date, and so welcomes the announcement today which also includes a recommendation of two hours of curriculum PE delivery as a minimum as well as improved accountability through a new digital financial reporting tool.

In conjunction with the renewed Primary PE and Sport Premium and School Games Organiser funding announcement, Government has today released details of a new £57 million investment to allow schools to open their sports facilities outside of school hours. As well as supporting schools to provide more out-of-school opportunities for young people and communities, this should specifically benefit those most underserved by current provision, and children from the lowest income households. 

The School Games Mark, delivered by the Youth Sport Trust, which encourages and recognises breadth, quality and accessibility of sport and physical activity in schools is also being extended to drive greater parity of provision for girls.

The priority today being given to projects encouraging women and girls to be more active is significant, and it builds on the work of the Youth Sport Trust since 2019 supporting the FA and Barclays to give more girls equal access to football within PE and extra-curricular school sport.

Responding to the news, Youth Sport Trust CEO Ali Oliver MBE, said:

“The confirmation of this funding is absolutely vital to the growth and development of a vibrant school sport culture which, in turn, is fundamentally important to children’s health and wellbeing. Schools in England will be relieved they now have the certainty needed to plan PE, sport and physical activity provision for the next two academic years.

“We have consistently called on Government to make a longer-term commitment to funding sport in schools, for the establishment of a national ambition for children’s activity levels, and for more accountability around the outcomes of the Primary PE and Sport Premium. Today’s announcements are really important in ensuring investment is strategically planned, coordinated locally, and targeted toward those groups who need it most. 

“Our vision is that every child, regardless of gender, affluence or ethnicity, can access the benefits that come from play and sport. Active children are not only healthier and happier, but they also perform better in the classroom.

"However, to realise this vision, we hope to see government quickly follow this announcement with a coherent and joined-up strategy through a renewed School Sport & Activity Action Plan. We remain concerned about the capacity of the locally embedded School Games Organisers to meet school needs and young people’s ambitions. On average each organiser is tasked with supporting 53 schools, based on the current funding formula. This is unrealistic in the two to three days a week they are given. We also believe a national ambition for every child to meet the Chief Medical Officer's recommendation of at least 60 active minutes every day for children 5 – 18 years of age, would galvanise and inspire a broader effort to help primary and secondary age children recover from the consequences of the pandemic and the demands of an increasingly digital age.

“At this time, I would like to express our thanks to all the individuals and organisations who have been working behind the scenes to secure this funding commitment. I would also like to reassure schools who have questions about what this announcement means for them, we will work with our education, sport and health partners to publish further information and a package of support as quickly as we can.”

In order to provide schools with more details on what the funding announcement means for them, the Youth Sport Trust is hosting an online briefing on Tuesday 18 April. Please see the details below:

School Sport Funding Announcement – What it means for schools
Tuesday 18 April, 4pm to 5.30pm

The event will cover:

  • Overview of the latest announcements
  • Update on the PE and Sport Premium and the latest accountability requirements and tools to support this
  • Equal access to sports in schools – what does that mean for you?

This event is open to all schools including members and non-members of the Youth Sport Trust. Please share the registration link amongst your networks. Register here.

Published on 8 March 2023