Primary schools should use their PE Sport Premium to create a positive legacy of active lifestyles rather than use the cash to plug holes in shrinking budgets.
With schools receiving typically in excess of £20k through this annual windfall the need to support day to day sports activity rather than longer term initiatives is tempting.
But Gary Palmer, London’s Sport’s Specialist Advisor for Children and Young People, believes the health of future generations requires school sports staff and managers to be forward thinking.
He told the London Sport website: “Use your funding to make additional and sustainable improvements to your PE, school sport and physical activity offer that will encourage the development of healthy, active lifestyles both now and in the future.”
Mr Palmer recommends schools should not use funding to employ coaches or specialist teachers to cover planning, preparation and assessment time, nor to teach the minimum requirements of existing PE curriculum.
The survey work conducted for Sport England implies Gary Palmer’s view is well-founded and that creating a positive legacy of sporting activity is a must to support future generations.
Sport England’s Active Lives for Children and Young People study revealed 71 per cent of children aged seven to 11, and 65 per cent of those aged 11 to 16, strongly agreed that exercise and sport was good for them.
This survey also identified the close relationship between physical activity and positive social outcomes, with the most physically literate children demonstrating increased levels of happiness, resilience and social trust.
Despite this evidence, together with the clear cost to the NHS through rising obesity costs, only 43 per cent of children and young people aged between five and 16 meet the national recommendation of taking a minimum of 60 minutes of physical activity each day.
Many schools building a longer-term strategy to embedding positive physical activity are opting to invest in covered outdoor sports canopies to create all-weather pitches.
Although the Pupil Sport Premium cannot be used directly for capital projects such as all-weather canopies, this type of facility is perfect to building capacity and inspiring positive behaviour change in a sporting context.
Sport England’s Community Asset Fund should be investigated by schools wishing to seek grant support to add this to their strategy.
Streetspace is a specialist in providing tensile membrane canopies for schools – which are a great alternative to traditional-built sports halls because of the lower cost but with no compromise in quality.
Ideal for schools and multi-use games area, the Sportspace365™ canopy provides the perfect cover with shading on hot, sunny days and a waterproof area to continue sports and activities during wet weather.
The canopy provides a large bright and airy space free from obstructive columns enabling it to be used for a wide variety of social events and learning opportunities.
To find out more visit www.streetspacegroup.co.uk or to view the Community Asset Fund visit https://www.sportengland.org/funding/community-asset-fund/
- Streetspace case study: https://bit.ly/2X4Qb6Y
PE Sport Premium fact-file
- Schools with 16 or fewer eligible pupils receive £1,000 per pupil.
- Schools with 17 or more eligible pupils receive £16,000 and an additional payment of £10 per pupil.
- Schools must use the funding to make additional and sustainable improvements to the quality of their physical education, physical activity and sport.