Opening school sports facilities after hours

The DfE has allocated £1.6 million to help schools use their sports facilities outside the school day, with the aim of giving children more sporting opportunities, as well as additional income for schools

After-school clubs provide some of the best opportunities for children and young people to participate in sport and physical activity.
Leasing premises to external organisations outside of teaching hours will enable schools to generate additional income and will also open the amount of sporting opportunities available for young people and the community.
To this effect, the Department for Education has allocated £1.6 million out of a £2.4 million pot going towards improving sports activities and PE teacher training.
The Active Partnership Network, supported by Sport England, will set up partnerships between schools and local sport providers, encouraging them to open up their sport facilities for fun and engaging sporting competitions, after school clubs and holiday activities.
The fund will provide sporting opportunities across the country including in North Yorkshire and County Durham, Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes, Greater Manchester, London and Gloucestershire.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Getting children active from a young age helps them build confidence and learn skills they will use in later life. Many schools already open up their facilities so their communities can benefit and I want to encourage even more to do so.
“By backing schools with this extra money we can make more fun activities available all year round - everything from football to dodgeball – to help children find a sport that they will enjoy and which will keep them healthy.”

Access to sport

“It is absolutely right that every child, regardless of background, has the chance to learn how to run, jump, throw, and catch to develop a healthy lifestyle,” comments Sports Minister Nigel Adams.
He continued: “As we outlined last year, our School Sport and Activity Action Plan will mean that all children have access to at least 60 minutes of daily physical activity through quality PE, sport sessions, clubs and facilities inside and outside of school hours.
“By opening up school sports halls and playing fields to sports clubs and the wider community, we will increase opportunities, particularly for those with the least access and from the most deprived areas and deliver on our manifesto commitment.”
Health Minister Jo Churchill said: “We all know that exercise has huge benefits for both our physical and mental health - this is especially important for our children and young people as they grow and develop.
“Sports and physical activity can inspire and empower young people to fulfil their potential and live longer, healthier lives, and it’s fun. This fantastic investment will ensure thousands more children have access to the right facilities.”
The new investment builds on the government’s bold manifesto pledge to level up opportunities for young people across the country and create a £1 billion fund for more high quality wraparound and holiday childcare places. Through the plans, parents and carers will benefit from an extended school day, helping to accommodate working patterns after school, at the weekend and during school holidays.
Sport England will update its ‘Use Our School’ resource, which provides guidance and support for schools on opening up facilities, including modelling potential financial benefits.
What’s more, Sport England will invest £2 million to create 400 new ‘satellite clubs’ across the country to get more young people in disadvantaged areas active.
The clubs, which target 14 to 19-year-olds, aim to bridge the gap between school, college and community sport. Already, the 6,500 active clubs in England have helped over half a million young people to get active, particularly girls, who make up 57 per cent of participants. Satellite clubs offer 58 different sports (including multi-sport clubs) and nine per cent are specifically focused on inclusivity for young people with disabilities.

Improving teaching

In addition to the funding to support extended hours for school sports facilities, nine teaching schools known for their expertise in sport in different parts of the country will share a £500,000 grant to trial new ways to engage the least active pupils and help to develop the skills and confidence of PE teachers.
In further efforts to drive up the importance and quality of PE lessons, these nine teaching schools will test new ways to provide high-quality PE lessons that meet Ofsted’s new inspection framework, which requires schools to create opportunities for children to be physically active across the day.
With volunteering rates among young people having increased in recent years, the Department for Education will also award a grant worth £20,000 for Birmingham to increase the number of youth volunteers in the community, ahead of the Commonwealth Games hosted by Birmingham in 2022. This is part of a £300,000 funding package to encourage volunteering opportunities in other parts of the country.
The investments, totalling £2.4 million, forms part of the government’s push to make sport and exercise an integral part of pupils’ daily routine, boosting their physical health, mental wellbeing, character and resilience.
Lee Mason, Chief Executive, Active Partnerships said: “This funding is a great opportunity to better understand how we can support all types of secondary schools to open up their facilities during evenings, weekends and holiday periods for the benefit of their school children and local communities. Schools are trusted sites within local communities and are the ideal place for people of all ages to be more active.
“By the end of this project, we will know more about the barriers schools face when trying to open their facilities for community use and how to support schools to overcome these challenges. We will also identify and celebrate schools who are placing their facilities at the heart of their community and the impact that this is having on both school and community life.”
Mike Diaper, Sport England’s Director of Children and Young People said: “A significant amount of community sports facilities are found in schools. This new funding will help support schools to open up their facilities beyond the school day so they can be used for as long as possible by young people and the wider community and link schools up with great local activities.
“The 19 Active Partnerships around the country will working with local schools to make it easier, overcome some of the obstacles and share best practice – in what will be a win-win for pupils, community members and local sports clubs.”


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