Sunday, April 11, 2021
Home SPORT Athletics PE sport premium finally gets confirmation for the coming school year

PE sport premium finally gets confirmation for the coming school year

The government has responded to calls from campaigners and confirmed the primary physical education and sport premium for the next school year. The PE premium is a ring-fenced top-up to school funding which helps ensure every primary school-age child gets 60 minutes of physical activity a week. The £320m fund has been in place since 2013 but had not been confirmed for September, leaving schools uncertain as to their planning for the year.

A series of athletes including Sir Mo Farah, Hannah Cockroft and Manu Tuilagi wrote to the government two weeks ago calling for the premium to be confirmed, their calls backed by a number of youth and sporting charities and organisations.

On Sunday the education secretary, Gavin Williamson, confirmed the money. “During these challenging times, it has become clearer to me than ever the importance of keeping active and how it benefits not just our physical health but also our ability to pay attention, our mood and our mental health,” he said.

“I know that many children will have missed time spent outdoors with their friends – that’s why it’s so important that ahead of a full return to school in September, schools get the certainty they need to prepare their PE and sports activities for next year.”

Unspent money from the funding for the previous year, interrupted by the pandemic, will also be rolled over. It follows research showing that lockdown has hit the levels of physical activity among children, especially the most vulnerable.

The chief executive of Sport England, Tim Hollingsworth, laid out the needs the premium must help address. “We welcome the confirmation of the investment,” he said. “It’s never been more needed given the massive disruption to children’s activity levels during lockdown. Our research shows that the number of children meeting the chief medical officer’s guidelines has dropped from almost 47% to 19%. Over a third of children say they’ve had less chance to be active because schools are shut.”

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Labour’s shadow sports minister, Alison McGovern, criticised the government for being slow to confirm the funding. “I am relieved the PE sport premium funding has finally been confirmed but I am furious the Tories have once again played politics with our kids’ health,” she said.

“Every year kids from low-income backgrounds fall behind their peers health-wise and this summer is set to be even worse, so the PE sports premium is even more important. But this is not new money. The delay was another example of the government being slow to do the right thing.”

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