During my appearance before the committee on 7 July I committed to providing additional information on how many PE lessons had been downloaded from Oak Academy, how the PE and sport premium is spent and the number of specialist PE teachers in primary and secondary schools. Subsequently the committee asked for further information on the facilities pilot and scheme. This information is also provided below.
Primary PE and sport premium monitoring
Schools are required to publish online the amount of PE and sport premium they receive, how it is being spent and the impact and sustainability of the improvements. School governors and academy trustees have a key role in providing strategic leadership, holding school leaders to account for both educational and financial performance and ensuring that money is well spent. Schools are ultimately accountable to the Secretary of State for Education for how they use the PE and sport premium funding allocated to them and are expected to spend the grant for the purpose for which it was provided.
To support schools to make the best use of their PE and sport premium grant the Association for PE, and Youth Sport Trust have worked together to produce a reporting template to support schools in their planning and reporting. Schools can also seek advice from their local Active Partnership on how best to use their PE and sport premium allocation.
Active Partnerships have collected data annually from a sample of primary schools nationally. In the 2018/19 academic year 6,210 primary schools’ PE and sport premium online reports were reviewed in total by the 43 Active Partnerships. The most popular areas where schools spent their PE and sport premium funding were: extending competition, extra-curricular clubs, professional development for teachers and deploying additional coaches. Other common areas of PE and sport premium expenditure are: equipment, additional health enhancing activities, transport, inclusion, shared or single school PE specialist teachers (with QTS), additional swimming, and facilities.
The Department collects data on subjects taught, numbers and qualifications held by teachers from a sample of secondary schools as part of the wider School Workforce Census. The data collection does not cover subjects taught in primary school because primary teaching is not generally delivered by subject specialists.
Data for 2019 report that 97.3% of PE hours taught in state-funded secondary schools were by teachers with relevant post-A level qualifications. In this context a relevant post A level qualification is a level 4 qualification or above in physical education, sports science, sports physiology, sports psychology or dance (including ballet).
To reduce burden on schools and local authorities during the COVID-19 outbreak, data on qualifications were not collected in 2020.
Online PE lessons available from Oak National Academy
The data below shows the number of lessons started on Oak National Academy per month for PE compared to other subjects. The other subjects are a mixed selection which have a different level of emphasis or time given to them in the curriculum. Although the PE numbers are comparatively lower, this in part reflects the smaller number of PE lessons available on Oak compared to other subjects and the amount of time typically given to them in the curriculum. For example, English has ten times as many lessons available on Oak compared to PE. Additionally, teachers had a variety of high-quality resources to choose from as support was made available from organisations such as the Association for Physical Education, Youth Sport Trust and Swim England.
Opening School Facilities pilot and wider rollout
In 2020 the Department invested £1.6m in 23 Active Partnerships and supported 230 primary and secondary schools to open their sports facilities outside of the school day. This investment broadened the availability of extra-curricular and out of school sport and physical activities for pupils and the wider community. Sport England oversaw the management of the Active Partnerships on behalf of the Department and reported back on the lessons learnt from these initial pilots.
This indicated that school facilities provide an accessible, safe, and trusted space and that they can deliver an appealing and welcoming environment for individuals to take part in activities, including those from under-represented groups.
Sport England found that many schools are already open for community use, but there is scope to increase that use. They noted that community programming tends to be ad-hoc, dominated by traditional sports clubs and very few schools have consulted with their pupils and local community as to the facilities they need. They identified the need for a local place-based approach to supporting schools to evolve their approach to reflect the needs of their local community.
The pilots found that schools are primarily driven to open their doors to strengthen links to the community, with income generation being a secondary motivation in most cases.
Sport England advised that further success requires commitment and capacity within schools and particularly by school leadership. A perceived or actual poor state of facilities or lack of facilities was another barrier that was identified, with small investments into nets, keypads and portable floodlights being suggested as ways to improve community provision and access.
A wider rollout of an additional £10.1m of funding began in March 2021 and learning from the pilot is being used. Most of this funding has now gone to schools, with investment and delivery plans in the process of being agreed with the schools involved in this programme. This funding is an opportunity for schools to connect with community groups and local sporting organisations that they have previously not had any working relationships with. Work is ongoing to use the funding to create sustained opportunities to engage in physical activity and sport beyond the school day.
Rt Hon Nick Gibb MP
Minister of State for School Standards
13 September 2021