How to spend it: A guide to Primary PE & Sport Premium

In light of Minister Nadhim Zahawi’s announcement on the Primary PE and Sport Premium funding at our Conference this week, Chief Executive of YST Ali Oliver blogs about how schools can create a lasting legacy.

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.

In recent months we have been hearing from Heads who want to maximise the investment but are unsure as to how to achieve the greatest impact for their pupils. As a national children’s charity with the interests of young people at our core, we want to ensure the Primary PE and Sport Premium makes the greatest impact, not just today, but that it is literally transformational in terms of difference it can make in generations to come. 

Our blog highlights ways to invest the money and signposts some of our resources and training.

Five key visions to consider

The five key visions below are what we believe this funding could achieve and in so doing, equip schools with the knowledge, skills and infrastructure to create high quality opportunities for all children and young people to enjoy the life changing benefits PE, sport and physical activity can bring. We ask that primary school teachers and senior leadership teams consider these when allocating the minimum £16,000 funding per school.

  1. Support every classroom teacher with further training to help children develop physical literacy
  2. Close the gender and disability gaps which exist in participation in physical education and sport
  3. Introduce national standards for coaching children in sport
  4. Every school to offer two hours per week of physical education with a holistic focus on physical and emotional development
  5. Active school plans in place for 30 active minutes per day for every child through active travel, playgrounds and classrooms.

If when deciding where your funding will be spent you can link back to any of these five visions – we believe you will be making a difference not only to pupils in your school today, but to those who will join you in years to come.

It is so important to achieve a legacy with this funding, especially when we consider the statistics below:

  • 33% of year 6 pupils are overweight or obese
  • 10% of 5-16 years-olds have a mental illness
  • One in 11 children say they are unhappy
  • 200% increase in the number of children experiencing test or exam stress
Investing in professional development for your staff

Better support is needed for primary teachers who, according to our research, currently receive an average of just six hours of initial teacher training in physical education.

Upskilling your workforce is a really important way to create a legacy from this funding. Worryingly, what we’re seeing instead, is fewer teachers delivering physical education since this investment began. Many schools have decided to contract third-party providers to deliver Physical Education and they are replacing or displacing teachers rather than professionally developing classroom teachers to equip them with the knowledge and inspiration to deliver. While this may feel helpful in the short term if your staff lack confidence or a passion for Physical Education, in the long term it is de-skilling your teachers who may struggle to return to Physical Education teaching as and when this investment concludes.

As far as we know at this time, the Primary PE and Sport Premium is here for four more terms (the summer term of 2017/18 and for the coming academic year) so our priority must be transforming things so children entering the school in 2020 see as much benefit from the Premium as those in primary schools today. We firmly believe if schools want to deliver some of the outcomes that are so important to young people’s wellbeing and ultimately their success in the classroom, it is essential to help every teacher believe they can teach Physical Education as well as any other subject. 

(It is also important to note, the government guidance around spending of the PE and Sport Premium does allow for qualified coaches to work with teachers to enhance or extend current opportunities, but it does not allow for coaches or specialist teachers to cover planning preparation and assessment (PPA) arrangements).

If you only have one PE enthusiast or lead within your school, consider investing in your lunchtime supervisors and teaching assistants to ensure children are encouraged to be active throughout the school day. And if you are using coaches to upskill your workforce and work alongside your teaching staff, the Youth Sport Trust and Association for Physical Education have developed guidance for schools which can be found here.

We are also in the process of introducing child-centred training for children’s coaches in the school sport environment with UK Coaching. TOP Coach responds to the need to increase activity levels in young children and a growing demand from head teachers for an easily recognizable accreditation mark. The programme will give clarity and confidence to parents, schools and community organisations when looking for specialist child coaches in the school environment. You can find more information on it here.

Addressing a whole school approach to physical activity

One of the best ways to effect change through the Primary PE and Sport Premium is through a whole school approach to PE, physical activity and school sport. Schools that encourage children to be active by default through integrating physical activity into every aspect of school life are leading the way. We have developed an Active School Planner and Active 30:30 resource to get you started when looking at how you can use a whole school approach.

Using the funding for other subjects like maths

This funding doesn’t just have to be ringfenced for PE lessons. Have you considered how to enhance your children’s learning by thinking outside the box and encouraging other lessons to be active lessons as well?

For example, we can both engage pupils more effectively and improve their concentration in maths by making lessons more active. Look at Active Maths and Maths of the Day programmes which can help you to do this. Active Maths is written in line with the maths curriculum and the solutions available will help guide school staff to deliver engaging and innovative leaning. It allows children to access an alternative learning style which is particularly effective with young people who find more traditional methods challenging. By drawing on their enthusiasm for sport and physical activity, using active maths can help to raise attitudes and increase attainment in this core subject.

How to evidence the impact of the Primary PE and Sport Premium funding

We were commissioned by the Department of Education to develop a template alongside the Association for Physical Education to help you plan, monitor and report on the impact of your spending. You can download the template found on our resources page to record your activity.

Want more information?

As a national children’s charity, the Youth Sport Trust focuses its training, resources, support for teachers and headteachers, on how to help schools improve wellbeing, develop life skills and support pupil achievement through Physical Education, physical activity and school sport.

For additional support, you can become a Youth Sport Trust member school. Our membership scheme offers schools a wide range of solutions, networking and learning opportunities to help practitioners to use PE, physical activity and school sport to improve the outcomes for all young people, no matter what their ability. The best way to start planning is to access our Quality Mark.

To find out more information visit

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