Sports charities demand clarity on future of £320m PE and sport premium

File image of girls and boys playing football at school

The leaders of 40 charities and sporting organisations have written to the government demanding “urgent clarity” on the future of the £320 million PE and sport premium.

With less than six weeks to go until the end of the summer term for most schools, leaders are still waiting to hear whether the funding, worth £18,000 to the average primary school, will continue from September.

Charities have even reported that at least one council is advising schools to budget “on the assumption that this funding will not continue”.

In an open letter to education secretary Gavin Williamson, the organisations warned growing uncertainty about the funding was leading to a “scaling back of initiatives and of jobs” among groups that support schools to use the cash.

The uncertainty also comes at a “critical time for schools who are planning their provision for the next academic year”.

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.

In 2019, the continuation of the funding was announced in April, but last year schools had to wait until July for confirmation that they would continue receiving the cash.

Government promises confirmation ‘soon’

Ministers remained non-committal about 2021-22 funding when challenged this week.

Nick Gibb, the schools minister, said his department was “aware of the importance of giving schools as much notice as possible of future funding”, and would “confirm arrangements” for the premium in 2021-22 “as soon as possible”.

PE sport premium
Nick Gibb

The letter also warned that the delay was “leading to a reduction in planned provision and hampering efforts to leverage funding from the private sector to strengthen PE and school sport”.

“We are aware of at least one local authority advising schools to budget on the assumption that this funding will not continue,” they said.

“We appreciate the huge number of challenges government is tackling at the moment as we emerge from the pandemic.

“However, with young people’s recovery of such paramount importance, it would be devastating if the national effort to support the recovery of young people’s health and wellbeing was hampered by an avoidable delay in confirming funding for next year.”


The signatories

Ali Oliver MBE, CEO, Youth Sport Trust

Mark Gannon, CEO, UKCoaching

Huw Edwards, CEO, UKActive

Lisa Wainwright, CEO, Sport & Recreation Alliance

Sue Wilkinson MBE, CEO, Association for Physical Education

Lee Mason, CEO, Active Partnerships Network

Steve Peyman, COO, Chance to Shine

Sarah Mortiboys, MD, Dallaglio Rugby Works

Arun Kang, CEO, Sporting Equals

Beatrice Butsana-Sita, CEO, Greenhouse Sports

Stephanie Hilborne OBE, CEO, Women in Sport

Andy Dalby-Welsh, CEO, London Youth Games

Richard Norman, CEO, SportsLeadersUK

Vincent Britten & Alan Watkinson, co-Chairs, Schools Active Movement

Tom Harrison, CEO, England & Wales Cricket Board

Mark Bullingham, CEO, The Football Association

Scott Lloyd, CEO, Lawn Tennis Association

Bill Sweeney OBE, CEO, Rugby Football Union

Adrian Christy, CEO, Badminton England

John Boyd, CEO, BaseballSoftballUK

Stewart Kellett, CEO Basketball England

Georgina Usher, CEO, British Fencing

Alastair Marks, CEO (interim), British Gymnastics

Andrew Scoular, CEO, British Judo

Peter Hart, CEO, British Orienteering

Andy Parkinson, CEO, British Rowing

Ashley Metcalf, CEO, British Weightlifting

Lisa Pearce, CEO, British Wheelchair Basketball

Chris Jones, CEO, England Athletics

Nick Pink, CEO, England Hockey

Mark Coups, CEO, England Lacrosse

Fran Connelly, CEO, England Netball

Sue Storey, CEO, England Volleyball

Brendon Pyle, CEO, Golf Foundation

Marcus Capel, CEO, The Pony Club

Natalie Justice-Dearn, CEO, Rounders England

Ralph Rimmer, CEO, Rugby Football League

Jane Nickerson, CEO, Swim England

Sara Sutcliffe, CEO, Table Tennis England

Simon Hill, CEO, UKUltimate

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *