Physical activity is incredibly important to the development, self-esteem and health of primary school children. Unfortunately, the vast majority of kids across the country aren’t getting enough exercise every week. As well as leading to an increase in childhood obesity, a lack of exercise can make it harder for kids to concentrate in the classroom and can cause pupils to become less confident.
In an effort to increase the amount of exercise children in the UK do every day, the Government created the Sports Premium. A fund of £320 million, the Sports Premium has been designed to help primary schools improve their PE provisions and get their pupils moving. So is this money having a positive effect on the country’s children? We decided to find out.
Why do primary schools need PE money?
According to the experts, kids should exercise for at least 60 minutes every day. This activity helps them to maintain a healthy weight, develop their muscles and boost their confidence and concentration. However, a lot of primary schools struggle to provide their pupils with enough opportunities to get active. While some schools can’t find time during the school day for games, others don’t have the land or the facilities to give their pupils the space they need to run, play and race.
The Sports Premium fund, or PE Money, has been created in order to help schools improve their facilities. It’s hoped that, by investing in equipment, coaching and other sports essentials, primary schools will be able to better provide for their pupils. This should give the country’s kids more opportunities to exercise and introduce them to a variety of new and exciting sports.
How much money is available?
The Sports Premium is a fund of £320 million that’s been created by the Government to help schools improve their sports provision. Although there are a few exceptions, almost all primary schools in the UK are entitled to money from the Sports Premium pot.
Money is allocated to schools depending on how many eligible pupils they have. Schools that have 16 or fewer eligible students receive £1,000 per pupils while those with 17 or more get £16,000 plus £10 per pupil. For most primary schools, this is a significant amount of money and should go a long way to helping them achieve their sporting goals.
How can Sports Premium money be spent?
Schools that receive money from the Sports Premium fund have to use the money to make additional and sustainable improvements to the quality of the physical education they offer. This means that funds should be used to develop, or add to, the PE, physical activity and sport that a school provides and build capacity and capability within the school to ensure that improvements made now will benefit pupils joining the school in years to come.
There are five key indicators that schools should focus on when looking to improve their sports provision. These include providing targeted activities or support to involve and encourage the least active children and encouraging active play during break times and lunchtimes.
Schools should also be establishing, extending or funding attendance of school sport clubs, or broadening the variety offered, and adopting an active mile initiative. As the Government believes every child should leave primary school able to swim, the fund can also be used to raise attainment in primary school swimming to meet the requirements of the national curriculum.
The Sports Premium should allow schools to raise the profile of sport and use sport as a tool for whole-school improvement. By making sport an integral part of the school day, teachers can encourage their pupils to be active throughout the day and embed exercise into the school’s education.
In some cases, the reason schools aren’t providing enough opportunities for sport is a lack of confidence, or understanding, among teachers. The Sports Premium can be used to help educate teachers to give them the expertise they need to lead active sessions and encourage pupils to take part. Understanding just how important physical activity is to education should help to motivate teachers to get involved.
Is the Sports Premium having an effect?
Schools that receive money from the Sports Premium Fund are required to report their results to a central body. This makes it possible to assess the impact of the fund and the effect it’s having on schools across the country.
According to the Primary PE and Sport Premium Survey research report, 35% of schools reported an increase in time spent on PE between 2016/17 and 2017/18, while 64% reported no change. An impressive 33% of respondents said they’d used the fund to introduce new and different types of extracurricular activities, while 54% used the money to support existing afterschool clubs and activities.
The report revealed that schools mostly used the Sports Premium fund to buy new equipment or improve existing facilities. A whopping 92% of schools invested the money in this way, while 88% used the fund to upskill staff and 83% were able to boost extracurricular sport as a result of the funding. A large proportion of schools (75%) said they used the funding to increase physical activity across the curriculum and 71% said the fund allowed them to increase involvement with sport networks and competitions.
Overall, the Sport Premium has allowed a large number of schools to invest in PE when otherwise they wouldn’t have been able to. This has provided thousands of primary school pupils with opportunities to get involved and get active and has gone a long way to promoting exercise, sport and physical activity among the country’s children.
If you think your pupils could benefit from taking part in more sports and getting more active, we can help. Our inspirational team of athletes travels the country visiting schools and encouraging children to get involved. Find out more by exploring our site or getting in touch with a member of our team today on 01223 792200.