PE funding - a success?
8 Sept 2014
If someone gave you £9,000 a year for a few years, then asked: "is this extra cash doing you any good?" what do you think you'd say?
Would it be something along the lines of it's had "a big positive impact", perhaps? Or even "a little impact"?
In its £150 million a year PE and sports premium, the DfE gave all state primary schools around £9,000 each last year, and plan to continue to do so every year until 2020. So when schools were asked about how they spent it, which of the above answers would you expect them give?
Wrong: in a Nat Cen study, two thirds said there has been only "a little impact" on confidence, healthier lifestyle or physical fitness. A quarter felt that there had been no impact at all on improvements in other academic subjects.
Meanwhile, where the coalition has been particularly keen on supporting disadvantaged children via its education policies, this funding is even less likely to have a benefit on these students, according to the report (though it seem to confuse behaviour with behaviours, in this respect - and doesn't give any numbers).
A headteacher told us, in a recent focus group discussion, that she had "all this money just sitting there" because the school didn't know what to do with it. She went on to explain that she had allocated the funding to something that she was spending it on anyway - notably support staff. This may be reflected in the report's finding that "seventy per cent of schools reported making changes to who delivered curricular PE lessons as a result of the funding".
The report - and the DfE - have found some very positive things emerging from this resport, but there are some strange numbers in it about schools have used the funding, notably:
86% have spent it on training
76% ("over two thirds") have spent in on new resources
74% have spent in on extra-curricular activities
67% have spent in on employing a new sports coach.
Which means that schools have (said they have) spent it on a bit of everything. Perhaps a little more guidance on what to have spent it on might have resulted in a bigger (perceived) impact.
70% of schools have "made changes to curricular PE staff" resulting in around half of schools now having specialist coaches. This is likely to be because support staff have received training on how to teach PE, which subject they now support during and after school.
The challenge now is to support them in having a bigger impact in schools: £9,000 a year is a huge amount of money for primary schools only to achieve "a little" impact.
Recent blog posts