08 March 2023

Major Government funding announcement & commitment to PE and school sport

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Today, on International Women’s Day the Government is setting out new standards for equal access to sports, making it clear that girls and boys should be offered the same sports during PE and extracurricular time in schools.

The package, outlined below, will help to boost equal opportunities in PE and school sport both inside and outside the classroom, delivering on promises made by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Education Secretary Gillian Keegan to the Women’s Euro 22 winners the Lionesses.

The full package being announced today includes:

  • Over £600 million across the next two academic years (2023-24 & 2024-25) for the continuation of the Primary PE and Sport Premium – a funding commitment to improve the quality of PE and sports in primary schools to help children benefit from regular activity
  • Schools to deliver a minimum 2 hours of curriculum PE – with more support being offered through a refreshed School Sport Action Plan
  • £22 million for two years of further funding for the School Games Organiser network (SGO) - Annually the 450 strong SGO workforce supports 2.2m participation opportunities for children including 28,000 competitive school sport events
  • Equal access to sports in school – setting out that offering girls and boys the same sports, where it is wanted is the new standard
  • Up to £57 million funding for the 'Open Sports Facilities' programme - to open up more school sport facilities outside of school hours especially targeted at girls, disadvantaged pupils and pupils with special educational needs
  • A new digital reporting tool for Primary PE and Sport Premium – to support schools in using the funding to the best advantage of their pupils
  • Expansion of the Schools Games Mark - to reward parity of provision for girls

The Primary PE and Sport Premium is designed to help children get an active start in life by improving the quality of PE and sports in primary schools. Headteachers can choose how best to spend this funding including on teacher training, offering more opportunities for pupils to take part in competition and widening the range of sports for both boys and girls.

Schools will receive updated guidance this summer setting out how to use the funding to the best advantage of their pupils. A new digital tool will be introduced for schools to report on their spending of the Primary PE and Sport Premium and allow the Government to understand where further guidance is needed.

Schools will be asked to offer a minimum of two hours curriculum PE time and Government will provide support to schools on how to do this through the upcoming refresh of the School Sport Action Plan.

Alongside this work, Ofsted will be publishing a report into PE in the coming months, which will inform future inspections and set out what they believe is possible in terms of offering high quality PE and equal access to sports.

The Government is also providing security for the School Games Organisers (SGO) network, with the commitment of funding until the end of the summer term 2025. The 450 strong SGO workforce offers over two million opportunities to participate in competitive sports. The programme delivers on the Government’s ambition to ensure that all children and young people, no matter their background, can be active.

This is part of the Government’s commitment to improve access to sport for everyone. £300 million is being used to build or improve thousands of grassroots football and multi-sport facilities across the UK by 2025.

Being active in childhood is vital to long-term wellbeing and physical and mental health. This major investment will help more children to keep fit, have a healthy start to life and will help save the NHS money in the years ahead.

Up to £57 million in funding will be used to allow up to 1,350 selected schools around England to keep their sport facilities open for longer for after-school activities (Opening Schools Facilities programme), especially targeted at girls, disadvantaged children and those with special educational needs.

afPE's CEO, Sue Wilkinson MBE said:

"afPE is delighted at the news from the Department for Education regarding continued investment into physical education and school sport. The commitment to extend the Primary PE and Sport Premium funding by over £600 million for an additional two years, to the end of the academic year 2024/25 is welcome news and should be celebrated by the sector. This will enable all primary schools to plan effectively and efficiently on how best to address their needs. At a time of on-going challenges it is absolutely critical that schools have the resources to address the physical, emotional, social and cognitive development of all pupils.

"We ask all head teachers and senior leaders, to use their ring fenced funding to make a difference through physical education, school sport and physical activity. Whilst all are different, they are inextricably linked and provide the route map to achieve effective and wider outcomes for pupils."

"A free webinar will be available to all, to discuss the implications of the Primary PE and Sport Premium funding and provide support to complete the website reporting/review template, TBC in the week beginning March 20th."


Youth Sport Trust welcomes Government announcement for critical school sport funding

Responding to the news, Youth Sport Trust CEO Ali Oliver MBE, said:

“The confirmation of this funding is absolutely vital to the growth and development of a vibrant school sport culture in schools which, in turn, is fundamentally important to children’s health and wellbeing. Schools in England will be relieved they now have the certainty needed to plan PE, sport and physical activity provision for the next two academic years.

“We have consistently called on Government to make a longer-term commitment to funding sport in schools, for the establishment of a national ambition for children’s activity levels, and for more accountability around the outcomes of the Primary PE and Sport Premium. Today’s announcements are really important in ensuring investment is strategically planned, coordinated locally, and is targeted toward those groups who need it most. 

“Our vision is every child, regardless of gender, affluence or ethnicity, can access the benefits that come from play and sport. Active children are not only healthier and happier, but they also perform better in the classroom.