PE department funding in schools

Guest blog from Will Grove

Head of PE at Broadwater School in Surrey and also supports PE across the Greenshaw Trust.

What is your biggest barrier to delivering the PE and sport you want to deliver?

This is a question I have asked the Heads of Department (HODs) in my Trust and others across the country. A regular answer which landed slap bang in the centre of that Venn diagram was “funding”.

Funding for:

–        CPD opportunities and teacher training

–        External coaches

–        Improving facilities

–        Equipment

–        Coaches and travel to fixtures, festivals and events

And the list goes on but this is usually swallowed up by replacing equipment and ensuring there is spare kit for pupils to even participate. These were also common answers to my initial question. Other answers included lack of knowledge, lack of confidence in delivery, lack of engagement/ uptake and consistency. It could easily be argued that all of these could be helped with the right level of funding.

Welcome extensions to funding have been granted for the School Games Organiser network (SGO), and PE and Sport Premium funding for primary schools in England from the DfE. While these support schools to some extent, it is usually necessary to raise further funding to make additional and sustainable improvements or buy more school sport facilities.

In the last two years we have successfully raised funding for equipment, coaching and CPD. We have explored a few funding streams which are accessible to schools and the only cost has been time.

In this short blog I hope to give you a few pointers and suggested avenues to explore that I have learnt along the way to hopefully save you time and increase opportunity for your students.

school sport facilities

Schemes resulting from funding

To give you an idea of what we have achieved, here are some of our schemes which have come from extra funding:

Web platform for girls’ well-being and relationship with activity

This new digital tool has boosted participation and confidence in our girls in year 9, 10 and 11.

External coaches

This has ensured consistency in extra-curricular activities during school hours and after school activities for all academic years, which means that there are always at least two clubs taking place every day.

Continuing professional development (CPD)

This ranges from webinars and courses with PE Scholar on teaching pe to practical days with various national governing bodies (NGBs) of sport.


We have bought extra and new equipment such as indoor cricket nets

Updated Fitness Centre

This now includes safer, more accessible and appealing equipment.

Spare kit

This is available for pupils who forget or do not have their own kit.

Strength and Conditioning coaching

Training sessions for our elite sports people.

Fitness centre

Important to note:

The important point here is that these were funded outside of our central budget. As stated before, it just takes a lot of time and hoop jumping to bring these things to fruition and I wonder what other subject areas face this to anything like the same degree?

Time to find the right funding

Time to fill in applications

Time to submit data.

You may need to also apply some creative thinking to how you can fit within the funding parameters.

My top three suggested avenues for funding

1. Engage with your Active Partnership

Ours is Active Surrey but you can find yours by following this link. Active Surrey have enabled us to offer football coaching to all our students, strength and conditioning sessions, multi-games and improve our provision through CPD opportunities with PE Scholar and NGB courses. A fantastic opportunity is the Opening Schools Facilities Funding (OSF) which is to enable the community to access your facilities and create a more active community. We created a Women’s Only Fitness hour which is held twice a week with a personal trainer. We were able to use the funding from Active Surrey to improve the quality and safety of our facilities plus ensure there was a qualified personal trainer to create good habits. This is free to all women in the community until March 2024.

2. Clubs are the key

We work alongside so many local clubs to create opportunities such as having a coach come in and deliver sessions for usdonations to improve facilities and allowing us to use their facilities. We have had Farncombe Cricket Club who hire our facilities contribute towards new indoor nets and in return we give them priority with usage. This has lead to our students receiving cricket coaching from February until the end of term with a professional coach. This increased our engagement in cricket and increased the number of students from our school going to clubs. They have also allowed us to use their cricket pitch during our cricket term, which has saved on the cost of maintaining our wicket.

3. Commercial Sponsorship

School facilities are hired out regularly and have a high footfall of people every week. We have used this to our advantage by offering sponsorship packages to local businesses. We then purchase a banner for them as shown below. We charge them a fee per year for it to be displayed on our Astroturf pitches. If your school is prominent on social media and sends newsletters home then this should be made known to businesses or potential sponsors. This has benefited us by the cash injection which we have used to cover minibus costs and coaching. It has also helped us get new washing machines and tumble dryers as one of our sponsors is a white goods distributor. This has saved us costs to buy new machines which means we can save our budget for more strategic PE items. This funding stream has also helped us gain a well being platform for our female pupils which includes blogs, journals and other resources that they can access. The cost of this is time and creating a simple package that businesses can explore quickly and know where their sponsorship is being used. We used a variety of packages but we found that the buy in from local business was low because they wanted to have their name attached to an initiative. We found that asking for sponsorship which affected the crowds instead of a kit which was worn by 15 footballers was more popular with the potential sponsors, plus it benefited our students as a whole. As any of us who teach commercialisation at A-level will know, it is important to consider brand and reputation so you will want to think carefully about which businesses you want to be associated with – for example the local vape shop or confectionary outlet might conflict somewhat with advice you are giving students. In the same way tobacco, alcohol, fast food and betting companies have faced challenges sponsoring sport at various times across recent history.

 Other opportunities

These are plenty more avenues you may wish to explore too. For example, funding from Sport England’s Small Grants Programme, your school governorsNGBsparish councils and are other levels which are there to be explored…and the obvious one is some sort of event your own students are involved in fundraising for (e.g. a colour run or non-uniform day but these also need to have a very specific purpose that supports your community)

Don’t let funding be the barrier to providing quality PE opportunities

I hope this short blog has given ideas and inspiration to access solutions and would love to hear how you get on.

For other examples of potential funding opportunities click here

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