Primary schools will continue to receive the £320 million PE and sport premium in the next academic year, the Department for Education has finally confirmed.
Schools will also be able to carry forward underspends 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”.
Asked for clarification, the DfE said it was relaxing ringfencing of the underspends cash, but there will still be caveats on what it can be spent on.
Ministers had remained tight-lipped on the future of the grant, despite growing calls for certainty from groups which support schools to spend the money.
But education secretary Gavin Williamson confirmed today that the grant will once again be available in 2021-22.
The premium is a ring-fenced grant for primary schools to improve the quality of PE, sport and physical activity. Since 2013, schools have received funding based on pupil numbers, and the average one-form entry primary school usually receives around £18,000 a year.
The grant is normally confirmed in the spring, but in the past two years, schools have had to wait until well into the summer term to find out whether they will continue to receive the money.
Williamson said he was “pleased to announce that we will continue to fund the PE and sport premium next year, so primary schools can continue to prioritise children’s physical wellbeing alongside education recovery”.
He said the investment would “build on our actions across government”, including its updated school sport and activity action plan, which is due out later this year, and £10 million of existing investment in sports facilities and swimming pools.
Underspends can be spent until July 2022
PE and sport premium underspends from 2020-21 and 2019-20 can be used until the end of July next year, the DfE said.
The government said this would help them “prioritise physical activities, sport and physical education with mental health and wellbeing support, or education catch up and tutoring”.
Further guidance, including on what the underspends can be used for, is expected soon.