Sport Pupil Premium pushes out volunteers in favour of qualified coaches

Extra funding for sports in primary schools has been extended to 2020, but could mean the end of volunteers working on school sports a retired teacher has warned.

The PE and sports premium was set up in 2013 to help primary schools boost school sports and boosts budgets by £150 million per year.

But speaking at a Westminster Education Forum (WEF) event, former PE teacher David Woollaston, who offers his services on a voluntary basis to schools, said volunteers for the subject are being “lost” because specialist coaches are now being employed.

He questioned if a “plan” was in place for 2020 when the funding ends and coaches would need to be paid for from within squeezed schools budgets.

Panellist David Turner, development lead for children and schools at sports coach UK, admitted he “doesn’t really know” what would happen after 2020 but said schools need to focus on creating “sustainability” in their use of the fund.

“What we need to do is ensure that the use of outside coaches is sustainable based on the fact that there may well be no funding beyond 2020,” Mr Turner said.

“We were quite lucky in the comprehensive spending review just before Christmas, but we might not be so lucky again, so we need to look at how we can most effectively use the coaches now.”

He added that primary PE teachers should use the assistance and expertise of outside coaches, but should still be the leader in lessons so they “develop the skills and confidence to teach the subject on their own”.

The DfE released a report in December after a two-year study investigating the impacts of the premium in 40 schools since its launch.

It revealed that two out of three schools used the funds to employ sports coaches. A large proportion (81 per cent) also used it to up-skill existing staff.

The number of schools with a specialist PE teacher also increased from 30 per cent before the premium to now 46 per cent.

But Sport England, who work with the government to support the premium fund, said: “No paid specialists or volunteer coaches and leaders should replace the teacher for curriculum delivery.

“However, we are supportive of qualified volunteers or paid coaches working in schools to support and enhance the experience of young people in getting a high quality PE and school sport offer.”

Schools in the study said investing in staff training was their top priority in sustaining the impacts of the premium.

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