Primary school PE could be ‘transformed for a generation’ by new funding

Training for teachers, more varied activities, and new equipment to get classes moving are helping to usher in a ‘once in a generation’ transformation of PE in primary schools.
PE and sport premium will create lasting legacy in primary schools

Every primary school is set to have its Primary PE and School Sport Premium funding doubled by government, with the money set to be received this month.

The Youth Sport Trust (YST), the leading children’s charity on a mission to unlock young people’s potential through the power of sport, works with more than 6,000 primary schools and has been supporting many to help ensure the funding boost has the maximum long-term impact.

It has set out five goals to improve children’s formative experiences of PE and school sport for a generation. At the heart of these bold ambitions is better support for primary teachers who currently receive an average of just six hours of initial teacher training in Physical Education.

Using the Primary PE and School Sport Premium, the YST believes it is possible to transform schools through:

  1. Every primary school teacher receiving support and training to help children develop their physical literacy.
  2. Closing the gender and disability gap which sees girls and children with disabilities much less likely to participate in school sport.
  3. All coaches working in after-school sport to be professionally trained in how to coach children as well as how to coach sport, with the introduction of nationally recognised training and standards for coaching children.
  4. Two hours of PE on the curriculum at every primary school with a focus on sporting activities as a vehicle for self-development. This should maximise the potential of PE and school sport to improve children’s performance in the classroom as well as their physical, social and emotional wellbeing.
  5. An Active School action plan for every school ensuring 30 active minutes per day for every pupil through active travel, active playgrounds and active classrooms.

Head teachers across the country have told YST how the funding will be vital in helping them make a sustainable and long term improvement to the quality, quantity and most importantly, the impact of PE and sport on children’s wellbeing, learning and achievement.

Ali Oliver, Chief Executive of the Youth Sport Trust, said:

“There is so much potential for what schools can achieve with this extra funding – it presents the best chance we have in a generation to really transform PE and harness its potential to improve children’s wellbeing.

“This generation is facing a health crisis as it experiences the lowest levels of physical, social and emotional wellbeing on record. So we must be ambitious.

“By 2020, we want to see every primary school teacher professionally developed to help teach physical literacy with the same skill and passion as language literacy and numeracy. We know that for all the training a primary school teacher receives, they often get very little guidance on how to educate their pupils in and through movement, exercise and physical activity.

“Children’s first formative experiences of PE at primary school has an impact which can last a lifetime. Get it right and we will transform the life chances of a generation. Get it wrong and too many children will continue to miss out on the benefits that physical activity brings to their health, happiness and wellbeing.”

The average state-funded primary school now has 275 pupils on its role according to the Department of Education’s latest ‘Schools, pupils and their characteristics report’ - this means the average school could see up to £18,750 extra funding to help make PE fit for the 21st century.

How schools are spending the premium:

Manchester school, St John’s RC Primary, is launching its ‘St John’s Year of Cycling’ to promote cycling to the whole community. And it will be bigger and better than ever as a result of the premium funding.

Bronwen O'Donoghue, head teacher, said: “Our students already do at least 60 minutes a day physical actively but the premium will mean that our year of cycling is bigger and better than originally planned. We can have a greater focus on Active Travel given the road issues surrounding the school.

“As part of our initiative it will mean that each child will have a five week onsite coaching cycling block, access to an offsite cycling experience at either the velodrome, BMX track or Longford stadium, access to balance bikes, BMX bikes and mountain bikes, and link with our local clubs - Simply Cycling and Manchester Triathlon club as pathways to community cycling.

“We will also be able to continue teacher professional development and investment into assessment so we know the progress and achievement of our pupils.”

Holy Family School in Surrey is among the top 5% of schools nationally where academic progress and attainment is exceptionally high. Head teacher, Steve Tindall, has put the school’s rising success over the last three years down to its integrated PE & sports programme. But it would not be possible for the school to continue developing children through sport without the extra funding the premium will bring.

He said: “Our PE and sports programme has contributed fully to this success as we merge and utilise key sporting values and principles within our academic curriculum. Children who enjoy sport are positive and this leads to a resilience and determination in class. Without this additional funding, we simply could not afford to run so many potentially effective programmes, interventions and projects.”

The school reported last academic year that 96% of its upper KS2 children attended extra-curricular sports clubs and more than 90% of children across KS2 attended extra-curricular clubs.

Holy Family Primary have also used active maths lessons to engage a variety of pupils and staff. Read their case study here.

In the same way that children learn to read and write as a core skill – the Youth Sport Trust is raising awareness of physical literacy to ensure that all children are taught the equivalent ‘ABCs of movement’.

Cardwell Primary School in Woolwich, south east London, will receive an extra £19,600 funding as a result of the PE premium. Anna Sullivan, head teacher, said the premium funding her school will receive will help it take a step closer to achieving better physical literacy by investing in the up skilling of teachers and developing their confidence in delivering sport.

She said: “We will be able to employ a PE teaching assistant to offer additional support to pupils and staff in PE lessons, lead sports activities during playtimes, and offer additional extra-curricular sports activity. The funding also means that we can offer swimming booster sessions so that all pupils leave the school being able to swim.

“Another huge difference the money will make is ensuring the playground has specialist equipment so that children can develop their physical skills and game tactics during playtimes. It will make all the difference too for children to be able to compete in inter school competitions and sports events outside of school with the correct kit and equipment to further inspire them.”

For more information on how the Youth Sport Trust can help primary schools to achieve better physical literacy by 2020 visit Youth Sport Trust Resources and Learning is a new range of resources,  e-learning and face to face training developed to hep tackle the complex and demanding challenges across the whole school. For a range of solutions available to support your school, teachers and young people, please visit our resources and learning area of the website.

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