School Guide was delighted to learn this week that the Department for Education finally announced that schools will be able to carry forward unspent budget from this year and last so they can “prioritise physical activities, sport and physical education with mental health and wellbeing support, or education catch up and tutoring”.
For primary schools, the funding is ring fenced for improving the quality of PE, sport and physical activity.
A recent study by Schools Active Movement found that 84% of schools had identified a decline in children’s physical fitness following the long winter lockdown and the move follows our School Guide campaign to #PrioritisePE, backed by former Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies.
Education Secretary Gavin William said he was pleased to announce the PE funding "so primary schools can continue to prioritise children’s physical wellbeing alongside education recovery."
40 charities and sporting organisations wrote an open letter to the government two weeks ago to demand “urgent clarity” on the future of the unspent PE cash that looked set to the lost. Originally, plans for funding were not set to be announced until July and this meant schools would have no time to plan for September.
Victoria Bond, founder of School Guide and mum of two secondary school boys, says:
"This news is a brilliant boost to our campaign to get kids moving again after months of being stuck at home. I speak to hundreds of parents every week and many of them tell me they are as concerned about lost fitness as lost learning.
Next stop now is Ofsted.
If PE was inspected alongside maths and English, it would ensure all schools prioritise physical health which we know goes hand-in-hand with mental health and performing better in the classroom. When we look at official school data, both Wales and Scotland have measures to check the standard and amount of sport being offered by schools. England is lagging behind and this is a ticking time bomb for the physical health of our children.
Schools and parents need to work together to ensure our children know how important it is to be physically active each day. We all know the 5-a-day message but how many of us know that it's recommended that school age children move for 60 minutes each day? This doesn't need to be in the form of organised sport. A garden playdate with trampolining is just as valid as a game of footy."
Read more about our campaign to #PrioritisePE and get Ofsted to inspect sport in schools: