The UK government has confirmed that the PE and Sport Premium will continue to run during the academic year 2021-22, resulting in around £320m being invested in school-based physical activity.
Designed to encourage children to play more sport and increase both their physical literacy and social skills, the Premium will offer schools opportunities to improve the quality of PE teaching.
The Premium provides a ring-fenced, top-up to school funding to ensure every primary school-age child gets at least 60 minutes of physical activity a week.
Builds on the government's School Sport and Activity Action Plan, the funding can be used by schools alongside any money leftover from the PE and Sport Premium grant this year or last.
Announcing the funding, education secretary, Gavin Williamson, said: "Schools can continue to prioritise children’s physical wellbeing, alongside education recovery.
"Children’s physical health has never been more important and this investment will build on our actions across government to support this activity – including through our School Sport and Activity Action Plan, and our £10.1m investment helping school sports facilities and swimming pools."
Commenting on the government's announcement, Huw Edwards, CEO of industry body, ukactive, said: "At a time of great hardship and challenge, this funding will go a long way in ensuring that a firm focus on the health and wellbeing of our children and young people is central to school life from September.
“Schools sit at the heart of communities and are critical settings for supporting children’s health and wellbeing.
“This continued funding will enable schools and their wider workforce to maximise and diversify the physical activity options available, supporting children to be as active as possible before, during, and after the school day.
“Fun, meaningful and inclusive physical activity should be a normal part of children’s daily school routines to provide a platform for lifelong participation – from the commute to and from school, engagement in high-quality PE lessons and varied extra-curricular programmes, to active breaks and physically active learning.
“While this is a positive step, it is important that with a commitment to this funding comes a renewed focus on accountability and evidence, best practice and sector-wide collaboration.
“There must also be an emphasis on supporting the most vulnerable children and young people at a time when inequalities have been greatly exacerbated by COVID-19.
“As we welcome this announcement, ukactive urges the government to use this as an opportunity to empower governors, headteachers, school staff and their wider communities to plan for the long-term, as part of a national strategy and whole-school community approach to improving the health of children and young people.”
Sue Wilkinson, CEO of the Association for Physical Education, added: "We're delighted that the Primary PE and Sport premium will continue for an additional year, and that schools will be able to carry over any underspend.
"This will enable schools to plan for sustainable solutions to ensure that all their children will be able to access high-quality PE and physical activity. Now more than ever, we must place PE front and centre in schools, to prioritise all children’s physical, emotional, social and cognitive wellbeing and development – and we believe schools will be a key driver in achieving the best outcomes for all."
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