The Ofsted report makes for more interesting reading on the progress of Government funding that has been ring fenced for improving the quality of PE and sport in primary schools.
The report found that In the majority of the 22 schools visited, headteachers were using the additional funding to make improvements to PE and sport for pupils. Employing sports coaches or specialist teachers to teach PE and extending the range of extra-curricular sports activities were the most common uses of the funding. Providing staff with professional development in PE was also popular with the schools.
There is positive news here as the Youth Sport Trust strongly believes that investing in the professional development of teachers plays a crucial part to ensuring the investment is a success. Only last month the Chair of the Youth Sport Trust, Baroness Sue Campbell responded to a Department for Education survey on how the investment was being used and said: "This funding is clearly having a positive impact and it is crucial that this continues. Schools should be using the investment in sustainable solutions and I firmly believe that means investing in existing teaching staff or ensuring that staff are developed professionally.”
The Ofsted report has also highlighted that few schools were using the funding to improve pupils’ health and wellbeing, especially those known to be overweight. The Premium is part funded by the Department of Health and improving health outcomes should be a key consideration for schools when deciding how to use the money most effectively. At the Trust, we believe that it is fundamental that every child has the opportunity to develop their ’physical literacy’, or basic movement skills, in order for them to develop the competence and confidence necessary to live active healthy lifestyles. Ensuring that children develop these skills at a young age will have a considerable impact on their health and wellbeing as they grow into adulthood.
These two recent reports demonstrate that positive progress is being made, however it is important to remember that the sample size for this latest report was particularly small, and only looks at schools known to be performing well in PE. Over the next few weeks the Youth Sport Trust is expecting to learn more from its own school sport survey that was conducted earlier this year. We are hoping that this will give a wider indication of the current PE and school sport picture and highlights areas where there is high quality provision and where more action is required.