Developments In Primary Physical Education and School Sport

Primary PE and Sport Premium

Recently, there have been several items in the news regarding developments in primary school PE that will be of interest to both educators and students. Last week, the Coaching in Schools Portal was unveiled by Sports Coach UK to provide advice for head teachers on how to effectively recruit, develop and utilise coaches through government funding. Primary schools across England are receiving more than £150 million a year from the government to help improve physical education and sport, with an average £9,000 allocated to a typical 250-pupil primary school. PE and sport premium is already helping to transform PE lessons across the UK; enabling schools to buy new equipment, run free after-school clubs, offer additional training to staff, and hire extra coaches and specialist PE teachers.

To coincide with the launch of the website, Sport England (2015) has produced a series of short films to illustrate how some schools have use the extra money. The films offer a comprehensive guide to all aspects of physical literacy in primary schools and support their recent guidance documents on promoting best practice. Research by Sport England shows that since the funding was introduced, primary schools are now doing an extra 13 minutes of PE each week on average (now totalling 122 minutes) and more than 90% of schools report improvements in children’s health, behaviour and lifestyle.

The increased funding was part of a drive to ensure as many children as possible are participating in physical activity and given the guidance and resources they need to continue an active and healthy lifestyle into adulthood. With this in mind, Sport England and other national partners have collaborated with the Government to develop a vision for PE and School Sport: “All pupils leaving primary school physically literate and with the knowledge, skills and motivation necessary to equip them for a healthy lifestyle and lifelong participation in physical activity and sport.”

The Ministers To-Do List

The importance of sport in schools is further underlined this February in the launch of the ‘Minister’s To Do List’ project from the Sport and Recreation Alliance (2015). The project aims to provide incoming ministers with a list of priorities in the run up to the election, with a strong mandate from the Alliance’s members. The project is designed to highlight the many physical, social and economic advantages that the sports and recreation sector brings to the health of the nation, and offers a straightforward programme to any future government that would remove some of the obstacles the sector currently faces. Key Tasks on the To-Do List include:

  • Support for grassroots sport and recreation, such as community sports clubs (through a return from profits made by the sports gambling industry), and an 80% rate relief for all NGB-accredited clubs.
  • Increased investment in teacher training, PE and school sport: all physical education should be delivered by qualified teachers and coaches and continue to be assessed rigorously by Ofsted. Additionally, every school’s physical activity choices (both competitive and non competitive) must be wide enough to attract and engage children of all interest, abilities and motivations, and there should be more opportunities for students to be active in the natural world.
  • Local authorities to produce robust strategy for physical activity opportunities based on needs of the local community, outlining how sport and recreation will be delivered in their area. Local authorities should also create, protect and utilise accessible places where people can be active, and the rules regarding asset transfer should highlight the importance of physical activity to support this.
  • Retain the UK as a home of world-class sport and sporting events through a relaxation on rules for taxation of elite athletes and better intellectual property protection. The government should produce a strategy to protect the integrity and honesty of top level sport from corrupt betting, and make the secondary ticket market as transparent as possible through effective legislation and regulation.
  • Create a Minister for the Outdoors dedicated to maximising the full potential of the natural environment and delivering a long-term outdoor strategy for the UK. This strategy would be agreed by stakeholders and ensure the continued preservation and promotion of the nation’s paths, trails, waterways and coastline. The Government should place outdoor activity and green spaces at the heart of policies to improve national health.

The implementation of the above list would support the increase in physical activity in the UK and ensure that young people grow up with the confidence, opportunities and motivation to participate in sport and recreation.


Photo: Crosswinds Community

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