Health and fitness in primary schools received a boost when the Department for Education announced it was doubling the amount of sports funding to £320million a year.
The money will help improve the quality of schools’ PE and sport provision across the country. The Government published the allocation for the funding guidance for the scheme, alongside case studies showing how some schools have delivered a real impact for pupils through sports and physical activity. The PE and Sport Premium is designed to improve healthy lifestyles among pupils and tackle childhood obesity. A multi-department approach has been taken by the DfE, who are working with the Department of Health and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to make sure children are healthy and active.
Minister for Children and Families Robert Goodwill said: “We want to make sure all children have a healthy and active lifestyle and it’s vital that we encourage this in our classrooms. That’s why we have doubled the Primary PE and Sport Premium to £320million per year to improve the quality of PE and sport in our schools. I’m also pleased that more pupils will benefit from our new £100million Healthy Pupil Capital Fund, which will help improve facilities, such as sports halls and playgrounds.”
The DfE published suggestions on how schools should spend the sports funding, with examples including: providing staff with professional development, mentoring, training and resources to help them teach PE and sport more effectively; hiring qualified sports coaches to work with teachers to enhance or extend current opportunities and to embed physical activity into the school day through active travel to and from school, active playgrounds and active teaching.
Sports halls, playgrounds, kitchen and dining facilities can be improved by the sports funding
Public Health Minister Steve Brine said: “Investing in school facilities such as sports halls, playgrounds, kitchens and dining facilities will undoubtedly make a significant difference to children’s health across the country. The school environment is critical in shaping a healthy lifestyle, which is why we are using the money from the soft drinks industry levy to double the PE and sport premium. This is another positive outcome from our world-leading Childhood Obesity Plan.”
The DfE said that healthy eating, physical activity and sport not only help tackle childhood obesity, but can also have a positive impact on pupils’ behaviour, attendance, concentration and attainment, helping children to reach their potential.
The Government is delivering a series of actions to improve children’s health. Alongside the doubled PE and Sport Premium, it previously invested £100million through the Healthy Pupils Capital Fund to facilitate improvements to children’s physical and mental health by increasing and improving access to and use of relevant facilities, such as kitchens, dining facilities, changing rooms and sports facilities.
As part of its wider programme of work, the DfE said it is also investing a further £26million in breakfast clubs in schools, particularly in deprived areas. The DfE said, “This money will encourage innovation and kick-start or improve breakfast clubs in at least 1,500 schools, with a focus on increasing provision for disadvantaged pupils in Opportunity Areas.”