Speed-read: The DfE’s 9 school sport plan commitments

PE sport premium sports day

The government has today published its School Sport and Activity Action Plan. Here’s your trusty Schools Week round-up of what the DfE has actually promised to deliver.


1. Teaching hubs to specialise in PE training

Sport England will provide £1.5 million to boost the number of Active Partnerships to help schools open up their facilities after the school day and during holidays.

The DfE will also provide £500k to “test new approaches” to improve the “strategic direction and delivery” of PE and school sport through the use of teaching schools.

That includes choosing designated teaching schools to support primaries make best use of the primary PE and sport premium, improve access to high-quality PE CPD, and facilitate greater sharing of best practice for delivering high-quality PE lessons.

Schools are also “encouraged” to try out a range of options such as lunchtime sports clubs to boost physical activity take-up outside of the classroom.


2. ‘Innovative’ pilots to boost activity levels

Regional trials will be launched in September to fund “new and innovative” approaches to driving up activity levels (in school time and outside).

Schools will work with sports providers and groups to put in place a “coordinated offer of sport, competition and activity”. However the “scale and structure” of the pilots will be determined by the amount of cash negotiated as part of the spending review.


3. A PE premium toolkit is potentially on its way

The DfE will “look at” how to give schools access to a toolkit to support effective use of the PE and sport premium, and update national guidance.

A Schools Week investigation last year revealed schools are misusing the funds, and the government has now admitted there is “more we can do to make sure that schools are using funding appropriately and as effectively as possible”.

The pupil premium toolkit has proved popular by helping schools spend their money in the most effective ways.


4. £1m to get more girls playing sport

Sport England will provide £1 million of National Lottery funding to develop a new digital resource for use in schools, to be launched next year, under the commitment to empower girls to take up sport under the This Girl Can campaign.

The DfE will also invest £400,000 next academic year to get more pupils to take part in sport volunteering programmes.


5. Messaging for teachers to push ‘at least 60 minutes a day’ phrase

The government “will commit” to raise awareness about the importance of youngsters to take part in at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day (they want it to become as popular as the ‘5 a day’ fruit and veg phrase).

But the only real action outlined is to produce “simple and clear” messaging for parents and teachers. More details will be published in an update to the plan later this year.


6. ITT review to include PE

The DfE’s review of initial teacher training has been included and rebadged as a commitment to also ensure PE teachers have the best training to deliver high-quality lessons. The government will also work with unions to share examples of best practice.


7. More advice for better swimming lessons

Government will work with national bodies to identify barriers to provide high-quality swimming and water safety lessons and then provide “further support” to ensure all pupils learn how to swim.

This will seemingly be based on publishing the findings from the Inclusion 2020 project, where five “local innovation” SEND swimming and water safety partnerships are being trialled.


8. ‘Healthy schools’ rating scheme finally published

The government published its ‘healthy schools’ rating scheme last week (just the two years later than promised). The sport plan states the scheme will “celebrate the positive actions” of schools delivering good health and wellbeing provision by giving them awards.

However one sector expert said the watered-down scheme is “pointless” after initial plans to involve Ofsted were ditched.


9. £2m for 400 new satellite clubs

Sport England will provide the funding for an increase in after-school clubs. They will target 14 to 19-year-olds in disadvantaged areas and aim to “bridge the gap between school, college and community sport”.

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  1. Schools can only offer sufficient PE if they have adequate facilities. But free schools have been allowed to open with limited facilities for sport. These include the much-praised Michaela Community School which was judged Outstanding despite having few opportunities for PE. This sends out the wrong message that PE doesn’t really matter.

  2. Dan Wilson

    The £1.5m to open school facilities is for the existing network of 43 Active Partnerships, not to develop new ones. APs work across a county to connect, influence and provide sport for communities and schools and already have a significant (if largely unrecognised) role in school improvement. More info about Active Partnerships is at