primary school PE
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Training for teachers, more varied activities, and new equipment to get classes moving are helping to usher in a ‘once in a generation’ transformation of primary school PE across schools in England

The Youth Sport Trust (YST), the leading children’s charity on a mission to pioneer new ways of using sport to improve children’s wellbeing and give them a brighter future, works with more than 6,000 primary schools and has been supporting many to help ensure the funding boost has the maximum long-term impact. Most prmary schools in England have now received Primary PE and School Sport Premium funding in the last couple of weeks.

It has set out five goals to improve children’s formative experiences of PE and school sport for a generation. At the heart of these bold ambitions is better support for primary teachers who currently receive an average of just six hours of initial teacher training in Physical Education.

Using the Primary PE and School Sport Premium, the YST believes it is possible to transform schools through:

  1. Every primary school teacher professionally developed to help children become physically literate by the time they leave primary school.
  2. Closing the gender and disability gap which sees girls and children with disabilities much less likely to participate in school sport.
  3. All coaches working in after-school sport to have been professionally trained in how to coach children as well as how to coach sport, with the introduction of nationally recognised training and standards for coaching children.
  4. Two hours of PE on the curriculum at every primary school with a focus on sporting activities as a vehicle for self-development. This should maximise the potential of PE and school sport to improve children’s performance in the classroom as well as their physical, social and emotional wellbeing.
  5. An Active School action plan for every school ensuring 30 active minutes per day for every pupil through active travel, active playgrounds and active classrooms.

Head teachers across the country have told YST how the funding will be vital in helping them make a sustainable and long term improvement to the quality, quantity and importantly impact of PE and sport on children’s wellbeing, learning and achievement.

Ali Oliver, Chief Executive of the Youth Sport Trust, said: “There is no doubt that this generation is facing a health crisis as childhood obesity levels soar and children experience the lowest levels of physical, social and emotional wellbeing on record. More money is being allocated to primary schools to help cut childhood obesity through the Primary PE and Sport Premium but if we do not support schools to spend the funding in the right way, it will be a wasted opportunity.

“By 2020, we want to see every primary school teacher professionally developed to help teach physical literacy with the same skill and passion as language literacy and numeracy. We know that for all the training a primary school teacher receives, they often get very little guidance on how to educate their pupils in and through movement, exercise and physical activity.

“Children’s first formative experiences of PE at primary school has an impact which can last a lifetime. Get it right and we will transform the life chances of a generation. Get it wrong and too many children will continue to miss out on the benefits that physical activity brings to their health, happiness and wellbeing.

”There is so much potential for what schools can achieve with this extra funding – it presents the best chance we have in a generation to really transform PE and harness its potential to improve children’s wellbeing.”

The average state-funded primary school now has 281 pupils on its role according to the Department of Education’s latest ‘Schools, pupils and their characteristics report’ – this means the average school could see more than £18,750 extra funding to help make PE fit for the 21st century.

How schools are spending the premium

Birmingham school, Paget Primary, has launched a ‘Sports Crew’ to engage more children in sport and physical activity and encourage them to be role models for younger children in the school. It is also boosting extracurricular opportunities for its children to get active and enjoy school sport with clubs before school, during lunchtimes and after school.

Before it received the funding, school attendance was below national average and there were key children who were displaying challenging behaviours and were becoming disengaged from learning. Now, the school is using the vehicle of sport to change attitudes and behaviours of staff, parents and children.

Its lunchtime staff have received training in co-ordinating effective play in each of the three key stages with further training for teaching staff also. As a result of staff training, teachers and teaching assistants are much more confident in delivering higher quality PE lessons.

The school also said it had introduced a whole school sports week as opposed to the traditional sports day.

Victoria Nussey, headteacher, said: “Since the appointment of a pastoral manager at our school for enrichment and motivation, Paget has gone from strength to strength. The children have gained a wealth of skills and experiences through PE and sport and have started to experience what success feels like which is filtering back into the classroom.”

Primary schools can use the funding to join the Youth Sport Trust’s primary school membership for PE, school sport and physical activity. The charity’s wide range of pioneering member benefits will transform the power of PE in schools across the country.

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