183.This chapter begins by looking at ways to make sport and physical activity more fun and enjoyable. We then turn our attention to delivery of PE and school sport including use of the PE and Sport Premium. We also look at initiatives to help children and young people to be active throughout the day and ways to improve links between schools, clubs and communities.
184.Attitudes towards physical activity that we develop as children often track into adulthood. Providing a positive, inclusive and fun environment for children and young people will equip them with the skills, motivation, and confidence to become active adults. When we talk about making sport fun and enjoyable, we are referring to delivery through PE and school sport as well as external provision outside school.
185.Laura Cordingley, CEO of Chance to Shine, a national cricket charity, highlighted four principles for fostering enjoyable and inclusive sport environments for young people:
186.Oliver Scadgell, Participation Director for the LTA, told us that being able to demonstrate progress is important for children. StreetGames told us that to maximise engagement with young people they focus on “The Five Rights”—the right time, place, price, style and people.
187.We heard about the need to provide a wide range of activities for children to try. Ali Oliver, CEO of the Youth Sport Trust, told us that “the best chance we have of helping young people fall in love with moving” is to harness a broad range of activities. Mark Hardie, former CEO of Access Sport, a sport charity which provides opportunities to underrepresented demographics in sport and recreation, told us that Access Sport had attracted young disabled people, those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and ethnic minorities through non-traditional activities including BMX cycling, American football, baseball, and dance. Students from St Aiden’s School, Harrogate and New College Leicester told us that they would like the opportunity to try other sports during PE and would like more say in what those sports are.
188.Mads Andreassen, Head of Activity Development at the Norwegian Sports Confederation, told us that in Norway they have a Children’s Rights in Sport statement which incorporates the principles of safety, mastery, influence, the freedom to choose whichever sport you want, ensuring that competitions are open for everybody, and that family income is not a barrier to participation. Norway also limits exposure to competition before age 13 to give more attention to developing skills and having fun. The British Mountaineering Council argued that schools should offer a broader range of activities including individual activities and activities that are not competitive.
189.We heard mixed views about the extent to which children enjoy competition. For example, Logan, a student from New College Leicester told us that competition can take the fun out of sport for those who “just want to play casually”, while Alec from St Aidan’s Church of England High School suggested that competitive sport allows students “to be at their best and try their hardest”. The former Minister for School Standards, Department for Education, the Rt. Hon. Nick Gibb MP, stated that “there are some children who prefer to be physically active, which does not involve competitive sport, and we need to make sure that we cater for those children as well.”
190.Sport and physical activity, both inside school and outside school settings, need to be fun and engaging. Where possible, schools should allow children the choice of what sort of activities they would like to take part in including the option to take part in non-competitive activities.
191.PE and sport in school constitute the principal experience of physical activity for most children and young people. Schools introduce a variety of sports and play a vital role in establishing habits around physical activity. Conversely, negative experiences in PE and school sport have the potential to disengage young people. In this section we look at the low value placed on PE and school sport; teacher training; the need to embed physical literacy in PE; and how to create an inclusive environment.
192.PE is a foundation subject and is compulsory under the National Curriculum at all key stages, although there is not an established minimum for the number of hours PE should be taught. Schools maintained by the local authority must follow the National Curriculum. Academies and free schools do not have to, but they are required to provide a broad and balanced curriculum that promotes the physical development of pupils.
193.The aims of the National Curriculum for PE are to ensure that pupils:
194.The DfE, DCMS and DHSC published the School Sport and Activity Action Planin 2019 as a “statement of intent” for on-going collaboration and commitment to physical activity in school. It sets out three objectives:
195.We heard that PE and school sport do not receive the recognition that they deserve and that the low value placed on PE results in lesson times being reduced.
196.Terry Graves, a former Head of PE and an adviser and consultant for the Association of Physical Education, told us that core subjects get preferential treatment resulting in subjects like PE getting “squeezed in terms of time and resources.” Tom Feighan, a primary PE teacher, told us that pupils get two hours a week for PE lessons and “very often” even that gets taken away if “they need to do extra maths or because the hall is being used.” Ali Oliver cited findings from the DfE workforce survey which reported that 53,000 hours of physical education had been lost in our schools in the last 10 years.
197.Sport England told us: “We are concerned that some schools are sacrificing time in the curriculum designated for PE in order to redeploy resources towards core curriculum subjects”, adding that “this presents a very real threat to the physical literacy, health and wellbeing of the next generation, and must be halted as a matter of urgency.”
198.Several witnesses called for PE to be made a core subject of the National Curriculum to elevate its status. Terry Graves suggested that making PE a core subject would alleviate the “lack of funding, lack of time and resources, lack of specialist PE teachers in primary schools, [and] lack of specialist teachers with high-quality curriculums in secondary schools”. Baroness Campbell of Loughborough, Director of Women’s Football at the FA, also called for PE to be made a core subject telling us: “I genuinely believe that if youngsters are not physically literate, physically well, emotionally balanced and socially integrated by the age of 10 and 11, you are constantly on retrieval.”
199.A symptom of PE being under-valued is that it is not effectively monitored or evaluated. Ali Oliver told us that PE is not assessed, benchmarked or tracked, and as a result “young people can come out of 11 years of physical education with nothing tangible to demonstrate what they have learned and acquired.”
200.Dr Durden-Myers, Past Chair of the International Physical Literacy Association and Senior Lecturer in Physical Education, Bath Spa University and University of Gloucestershire, recommended that Ofsted holds senior leaders of schools accountable for health and wellbeing, physical education and school sport. Sue Wilkinson MBE, Chief Executive Officer of the Association for PE, suggested “a framework to ensure that what is on offer in PE, school sport and physical activity is regulated”. Other organisations including the RFU and the LTA also called for greater inspection by Ofsted of PE and physical activity offers within school.
201.Tim Hollingsworth OBE, CEO of Sport England, said that more could be done to measure and evaluate the delivery of sport in schools through the lens of Ofsted or another mechanism, and with more focus on children’s activity and wellbeing.
202.A good teacher or coach can make the difference between a negative or positive experience which can shape a child’s attitude towards sport and recreation for life. To be able to deliver enjoyable and engaging offers, teachers must receive proper training, be confident, have access to resources and equipment, and have the support and backing of the school’s leadership.
203.We heard that teachers are not getting nearly enough teacher training in PE and that the problem is particularly acute at primary level where generalist teachers often deliver PE. Dr Durden-Myers told us that primary teachers are getting “as little as six hours’ training in physical education” and that it was “not surprising” that many do not feel confident or competent to deliver PE. Professor Edwards, Professor of Sport, Exercise and Nutrition Education, University of Nottingham, agreed, noting that primary teachers “often had bad experiences themselves, which are perpetuated”.
204.Steve Waide, a PE consultant, said that trainee primary school teachers receive “3 to 6 hours max” during their teacher training. Matthew Rhymer, a secondary school PE teacher, told us that many newly qualified teachers received only one-hour of training on delivering PE lessons during their teacher training course which in turn has a negative impact on the attitude to PE of those teachers. Tom Feighan told us that on his teacher training course “we had two hours’ worth of PE … and I ended up teaching it to my course because I had the eight years previous experience”.
205.A consequence of having poorly trained, unconfident teachers is that pupils do not learn the importance of physical activity and are denied crucial opportunities to improve their fitness. Significantly, the Centre for Movement and Occupational Rehabilitation Sciences told us that PE lessons are “very inactive compared to UK guidelines” and pointed to its own research which showed declines in pupil aerobic fitness, strength, power, endurance and other measures related to coordination in recent years. Dr Atherton, Adviser at the Behavioural Insights Team, told us that the lack of physical activity in PE lessons can be attributed in part to a lack of teacher confidence. She recommended wider dissemination of tips to support less confident teachers on how to increase activity in lessons.
206.Dr Durden-Myers recommended that “routes into teaching need to be followed up with career-long professional learning” that enables both new and established teachers “to respond to the changing challenges they face in education.” The Youth Sport Trust called for a professional development programme to help teachers “better develop physical literacy and educate through physical activity and sport”. Dr Atherton said that there could be more provision for specialists in primary schools.
207.The Government told us that it has provided £500,000 to nine teaching schools “to test new ways to support schools to deliver high quality PE, improve and coordinate the PE CPD (Continuing Professional Development) for teachers and support primary schools to maximise their PE and Sport Premium funding.” Graham Archer, Director for Qualifications, Curriculum and Extracurricular at the Department for Education, told us that progress relating to the 2019 School Sport and Activity Action Plan has included work on “teacher training, CPD and whole-school approaches” to enable teachers to improve the design and delivery of PE and sport in schools.
208.As noted in Chapter 3, physical literacy is best delivered in schools as it is during childhood that children develop the skills, confidence and attitudes towards sport and recreation that they will carry into adulthood. We have noted that Wales, New Zealand, Australia and others are already incorporating physical literacy into their national curricula because having positive experiences and learning basic coordination and competence during childhood is more likely to lead to a love of movement.
209.Ukactive called for PE to be underpinned by physical literacy. The Youth Sport Trust recommended focusing on physical literacy through building the confidence and competence of young people so they enjoy playing sport. Tim Hollingsworth said that a child’s physical literacy is much more important than them playing an individual sport or focusing on an individual skill.
210.Dr Durden-Myers said that she “would like physical literacy to be at the centre of physical education, with the provision of clearer guidance and local networks to support senior leaders, generalist teachers and PE specialists to deliver a high-quality physical education offer.”
211.Sport England told us that it plans to increase its focus on the importance of physical literacy and that developing physical literacy “is a focus for government, schools and the sport and physical activity sector alike.”
212.In Chapter 3 we discussed the need to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for sport and recreation. This principle necessarily extends to PE and school sport.
213.Stonewall and Mermaids told us that 14 per cent of LGBT+ pupils, including 29 per cent of trans pupils, are bullied during sports lessons and 54 per cent of LGBT+ pupils ‘frequently’ or ‘often’ hear homophobic, biphobic and transphobic language in sports lessons. They called for LGBT+ inclusion guidance for schools and community sports groups to encourage LGBT+ young people to participate in sport and recreation inside and outside school.
214.Women in Sport told us that 64 per cent of girls quit sport by the time that they reach puberty. Girlguiding told us that their 2020 Girls’ Attitudes Survey found that girls’ and young women’s choices of sport and recreation decrease as they get older, with 91 per cent of those aged 7 to 10 saying they have the same choices as boys, falling to 51 per cent aged 11 to 16, and to only 40 per cent for those aged 17 to 21. The survey also found women’s enjoyment of physical activity, sport and PE also declining as girls get older.
215.Goalball UK told us that inclusion in sport for blind and partially sighted children “remains a pipe dream” and called for better and inclusive training as part of the curriculum for teachers and for more consistent engagement between schools and clubs. Simon Roadley, a teacher in a special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) school in Leicester, told us: “Quite often our young people come to us having had a bad experience within mainstream [education], where lessons are very sport focused”. Evelyn Roberts, a former wheelchair basketball player for Great Britain and now a PE teacher at an SEND school, suggested that there needs to be more inclusivity embedded into the curriculum for PE, sport and education for teachers to think about how they can include somebody with a disability in activities.
216.Several witnesses drew a link between teacher training and raising awareness of the need for inclusion. Baroness Campbell of Loughborough and Women in Sport noted that teacher training could be adapted so teachers are aware of the needs of girls and young women. Simon Roadley noted that teacher training is crucial for ensuring that the delivery of PE can be inclusive, with PE teachers needing confidence to adjust lessons to facilitate the participation of all students including students with special educational needs and disabilities.
217.We also heard how segregation of girls and boys in PE and sport can reinforce stereotypes, undermine confidence and limit choices. Erin, a student at New College Leicester, explained that, in older year groups in her school, girls and boys are segregated in PE. She told us:
“When it was unisex where I lived before, it was more fun because we didn’t have any stereotypes. Every single time we did PE we played together therefore there was no reason to think of stereotypes because we see each other playing.”
218.Filip, another student from New College Leicester, told us that gender stereotypes can affect boys and shared his experience of receiving negative comments when taking part in dance or gymnastics.
219.However, Francesca Clarke and Lily MaCaulay-Hick, sixth form pupils at Cranford House School, argued that mixed classes can reinforce gender stereotypes and undermine confidence. They suggested providing opportunities for girls-only teams or groups, and more female coaches. Brianne Turner, a qualified teacher and former Head of PE, told us that she had run after-school clubs just for female pupils which she said helped boost confidence.
220.Segregated sports can lead to limited choice and gendered options which may not appeal to everyone. Katie Allen, a female Basingstoke school student, Professor Eric Anderson, Professor of Sport, Masculinities & Sexualities at University of Winchester, and Stacy Hart of the Women’s Equality Party told us about a successful petition led by Katie Allen to be allowed to play with the boys’ football team at her school. They noted that segregated sports perpetuate damaging stereotypes, limiting potential, and discouraging participation. Ali Oliver noted that, in her experience as a PE teacher, if some of the girls do not enjoy netball in year 7 “they certainly would not like it by year 11” and noted that narrow options can lead girls to decide that they do not like organised sport.
221.Nick Gibb MP explained that schools should ensure “a diverse and challenging PE curriculum that suits the needs of all pupils” with boys and girls provided equal opportunities to participate in comparable sporting activities.
222.We believe that the physical literacy of children should be valued as highly as their literacy and numeracy. To this end, the Department for Education must designate PE as a core subject across all key stages to ensure that it receives adequate time and resource. The Department for Education must establish expected standards for the delivery of PE and school sport. The quality and delivery of PE and school sport must be assessed during Ofsted inspections of schools.
223.We are disappointed and alarmed to hear that some primary school teachers are entering the profession with only a few hours’ training in delivering PE lessons and physical activity. The Government must work with teacher training providers to ensure adequate time is allocated in teacher training courses to build knowledge and confidence in the delivery of PE, and to assess trainee teachers’ understanding of physical literacy.
224.Schools should always provide pupils from all backgrounds and abilities with a safe environment where they can feel comfortable and free from judgement or criticism when exploring sport and recreation activities. When reviewing the School Sport and Activity Action Plan, the Department for Education should include guidance for schools to ensure that all pupils can try a wide range of sports and activities. Guidance should also be provided to schools to support the participation of young disabled people.
225.The PE and Sport Premium (PESP) was set up to provide primary schools with funding to improve the quality of PE, physical activity and sport. Since 2017–18, revenue from the soft drinks industry levy has been used to double the value of the PESP from £160 million to £320 million. The budget for the academic years 2020–21 and 2021–22 stood at £320 million.
226.Schools must use the PESP “to make additional and sustainable improvements to the quality of the PE, physical activity and sport offered.” This includes the provision of external, specialist coaches to broaden the range of activities within the school setting, provide specialist tuition in specific sports and facilitate after-school clubs. The PESP should not be used to employ coaches or specialist teachers to cover lesson preparation and assessment arrangements, or to teach the minimum requirement of the National Curriculum.
227.The PESP is most often used to provide specialist support, Continuing Professional Development for teachers, or after-school clubs. It is also commonly spent on buying new equipment or improving facilities. Schools must publish details of how they use the PESP funding on their websites each year along with the impact it has had on pupils’ PE and sport participation and attainment.
228.Dr Durden-Myers told us that some schools have effectively utilised the PESP, increasing provision of activities such as swimming which can be an expensive activity to facilitate. Simon Roadley explained that his school uses the PESP to bring in external coaches who will work alongside the teacher in delivering the lesson, building their confidence.
229.The PESP is often used to bring in external coaches. When used well, an external coach can provide specialist teaching of a sport, help build teacher confidence and enable a school to broaden the range of activities it offers to pupils. However, we heard that the quality of external providers can vary and that if overused it can lead to a reliance on external providers and undermine the confidence of teachers to deliver PE and sport opportunities in the long-term.
230.Dr Durden Myers told us: “In the primary sector, PE is predominantly being outsourced to coaching companies. That leads to a narrowing because they are not specialists in the range of curriculum activities.”
231.Hon. Grant Robertson, Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand, Minister for Sport and Recreation and Finance Minister, told us that New Zealand has recently moved away from schools procuring external provision in some cases because use of external providers was creating a “confusing environment for schools and teachers” and impacted on teachers’ confidence.
232.Dr Durden-Myers highlighted that the PESP has been used to cover lessons whilst teachers use the time for planning, preparation and assessment which is contrary to the conditions of the PESP. Tom Feighan told us that his school utilises the PESP to bring in external providers for their specialism. However, he warned that use of external providers “is probably not going to be sustainable for your PE provision in the long term” if teachers are not involved and learn from the provision.
233.We heard concerns relating to funding of the PESP being confirmed at short notice and allocated on a year-by-year basis. Simon Roadley told us that this had led to uncertainty when planning PE lessons for the forthcoming academic year. Ali Oliver called for the Government to make their intentions clear for the future of the PESP at an earlier stage in the academic cycle to allow schools to plan for the use of PESP funding. The Government confirmed on 17 June 2021 that funding would continue for the forthcoming 2021/22 academic year, fewer than three months before the end of the academic year.
234.Nick Gibb MP told us that schools can bring in external coaches, but they are meant to team teach with the existing staff. He added that it is “about upskilling the teachers and making a sustainable change for the long term in that school and not simply to use it to provide teaching of a particular lesson and then they move on”.
235.We heard concerns relating to the quality of the external providers. Dr Durden-Myers noted that there are “some fantastic coaching companies out there” but warned that there is “a lack of regulation” around outsourcing and warned of potential “child protection and safeguarding issues”.
236.Sue Wilkinson of the Association for PE agreed, telling us that the PESP has been less effective when coaching is not delivered by “appropriately qualified people”. Dr Iain Lindsey, Benjamin Rigby, Professor Brett Smith, Dr Emily Oliver and Dr Caroline Dodd-Reynolds said that “engaging and, if not, regulating private providers working in primary schools is needed to address some poor practices and to sustainably improve provision.”
238.Nick Gibb MP told us that organisations including Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA), ukactive, the Youth Sport Trust, the Association for Physical Education and Sport England published guidance in 2019 “to help schools to know what to look for, for example when employing coaches for children outside school.”
239.Despite the significant sums of money that have been allocated to the PESP, there remains little accountability of schools in how that money is spent.
240.Research commissioned by the Sport and Recreation Alliance found that for the academic year of 2017–18, only 59.3 per cent of sampled primary schools were fully compliant with DfE requirements to publish their overall allocation of PESP funding and a full breakdown of spending (or prospective spending). A further 11.8 per cent of sampled schools had no information on their websites that detailed PESP spending.
241.Dr Durden-Myers told us there have been reports of “widespread misuse of the PE and sport premium funding”. Simon Roadley told us that there is a lack of clarity amongst teachers on how the PESP should be spent.
242.Ali Oliver told us that approximately £1.8 billion has been spent on the PESP, but in the absence of any agreed outcomes it was difficult to know what impact it has had.
243.In their evidence, Dr Lindsey et al highlighted previous academic research by Dr Lindsey which found that there are ongoing concerns about the influence of Ofsted inspections in effectively holding schools to account for the spending of the PESP.
244.Nick Gibb MP told us:
“We want to give schools discretion about how they spend the money, and we hold them to account by asking them to provide a report on how they have spent the money. There is clear guidance about how they should spend the money”.
245.Nick Gibb MP also told us that school governors and academy trustees have a key role in providing strategic leadership, holding school leaders to account for financial performance and ensuring that money is well spent.
246.The Department for Education must guarantee funding for the PESP for the long-term, ensuring that it is maintained at least at the current amount of £320 million each year, and ensure that schools are aware of their allocated funding well in advance of the forthcoming academic year to ensure that they can plan for effective use of the funding.
247.The Department for Education must provide schools with adequate guidance for finding qualified external providers of sports coaching and how to utilise them effectively to build teacher confidence in delivering sport offers. The Department for Education must develop an accreditation scheme for external providers who deliver sport in schools to improve accountability of external provision and ensure that the highest safeguarding standards are maintained.
248.The Department for Education needs to monitor PESP spending and outcomes better to ensure it is getting value for money. Failures by schools to publish their PESP spending and outcomes must be investigated by Department for Education.
249.PE lessons alone will not deliver the amount of physical activity that children need, nor will they instil a lifelong love of physical activity or teach children that being active needs to be part of everyday life.
250.FYI and Sky Kids commissioned a survey of 1,000 children about sport and physical activity. Two-thirds of children said they would like to do more exercise and three-quarters of respondents said that they rely on school for some or most of their physical activity. Nigel Harrison, CEO of the Yorkshire Sport Foundation, told us: “We know that children are more active at school than they are at weekends or in the evenings and school holidays”, especially in some poorer areas.
251.Dr Atherton recommended increasing physical activity in the school day through a wider rollout of the Daily Mile programme. The Daily Mile is a social physical activity, with children running or jogging for 15 minutes. Professor Dame Marteau, Director of the Behaviour and Health Research Unit at the University of Cambridge, called for every opportunity to be taken to be physically active during breaks and touted the concept of “active homework” in which children are prescribed physical activity to undertake at home. Dr Atherton suggested schools plan with students how to incorporate physical activity in their post-school life before they leave.
252.The Welsh Institute of Physical Activity, Health and Sport called for better education on how an active lifestyle differs from “being sporty”, including aiding children and young people’s understanding of what constitutes vigorous activity. It suggested lessons on active lifestyles within the curriculum and noted that this may require a change to teacher education. The Youth Sport Trust called for a daily physical activity guarantee and a weekly active after-school sport guarantee for every child.
253.We heard that the family environment can influence how active children are throughout the day. Dr Ferguson told us: “Building a coherence between school-parent-child is vital to promoting and encouraging sport and recreation at a young age”. The MRC Epidemiology Unit at Cambridge University noted that family-based physical activity is effective in increasing young people’s activity levels.
254.However, Professor Edwards noted that “school is often the crucial area” because if the family does not encourage physical activity then the school environment may be the only place in which the child undertakes it. Professor Edwards said that it “amplifies the inequality between children who are in a more active family and those who are not.”
256.To support children to be active, the Minister for Sport, Health and Wellbeing must work with the Department for Education to launch a campaign to encourage and inspire parents to be active with their children outside of school.
257.Leaving education, whether at 16, 18 or 21 years of age, is a key drop-off point when many people stop playing sport or being physically active. For schools, links with local sports and recreation organisations can provide opportunities for children and young people to discover activities available in their communities and increase the likelihood that children and young people will continue to be active in adulthood through participation in local sport and recreation organisations. However, witnesses from NGBs and community sports clubs told us that working with schools is difficult, with few incentives for schools to devote time and resource to establishing links with clubs in their community.
258.Hon Grant Robertson told us that Sport New Zealand has developed the “Balance is Better” programme which aims to reduce drop-off rates among those aged 12–18. He explained that the Balance is Better programme shifts the focus away from winning and specialising in a particular sport towards participation, having fun with friends and developing a love of an interest in sport that will carry through into adulthood.
259.Dr Durden-Myers called for “responsive curricula that utilise what is available in the local community … to empower individuals and devolve responsibility to them to become physically active in their own environment and local community.” The Sport for Development Coalition called for “school-community links to provide a weekly after-school sport guarantee for all young people.”
260.Dr Fahlén, then Associate Professor at Umeå University, Sweden and Visiting Professor, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Norway, told us how schools in Sweden regularly bring in sports clubs to promote themselves in schools which can establish links with community clubs for young people. Dr Skille, Professor of Sport Sociology, Faculty of Social and Health Sciences, Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, Norway, told us that schools advertise local sport clubs to children at the start of the school year and this often leads children to trying those clubs shortly afterwards.
261.We heard that schools can be doing much more to link with clubs and facilities that offer opportunities for disabled children. Morgan Woods, a T33 wheelchair racer, told us that he attended a mainstream school where he was excluded and his role in PE was “holding the high jump for the other boys and girls”, whilst across the road there was a disabled needs school that “had all the stuff and equipment” that would have allowed him to be active during PE and sport lessons. Azeem Amir, who plays blind football for England and Great Britain, told us there are blind football and goalball clubs “begging for schools to reach out” to them, and that schools need to network together and with local clubs to learn how and where to access facilities with specialist equipment for disabled students.
262.We were told that establishing connections between schools and clubs has become more difficult since the decline of School Sports Partnerships (which are summarised in Box 3). Mark Hardie told us that that it is now “far more difficult for clubs to connect with schools, which have to do it on a very individual basis”. Ian Halliday, a Level 2 UK Athletics coach, told us that School Sports Partnerships were “instrumental” in helping deliver competition, building links between primary and secondary schools and signposting children towards local clubs.
School Sport Partnerships (SSPs) were established in 2002 following the launch of the Physical Education, School Sport and Club Links strategy. SSPs aimed to increase the quality and quantity of PE and sports opportunities for young people by establishing networks of primary, secondary and SEND schools with a specialist sports college. The Youth Sport Trust was appointed to help deliver the strategy and had helped create 450 School Sport Partnerships across England by 2008.
In October 2010, the Department for Education announced that ring-fenced funding for SSPs would cease after March 2011 to allow schools to concentrate on competitive school sport. Schools were free to continue to work in partnership to deliver school sport if they wished, but they were not required to do so.
263.Nick Pink, CEO of England Hockey, told us that it has become more difficult for NGBs to forge links with schools since the decline of School Sport Partnerships and suggested that a national plan could embed opportunities for NGBs to work with schools to provide talent pathways for children.
264.Dr Lindsey et al told us that enhancing pathways from schools to participation outside schools requires “the commitment of greater resource and human capacity within schools or else amongst other local organisations.” They suggested Active Partnerships alongside local education agencies could lead on improvements to the delivery of sport in schools including by facilitating school-club ties.
265.There are positive examples in which NGBs have worked with schools and adapted their sports to attract younger players in a fun and inclusive way. For example, the FA told us about its Football for Fun and Fitness programme targeting school-age girls and the FA Shooting Stars which delivers physical activity through imaginative play and storytelling. The FA argued that sport for children and young people needs to be delivered “in tandem” across school, community and home. The RFU similarly emphasised the importance of linking schools and community sport.
266.The Minister for Sport, Tourism, Heritage and Civil Society at DCMS, Nigel Huddleston MP, told us that there is “a very mixed pattern around the country” in regard to how NGBs work with schools, although he has “a very sincere commitment from the governing bodies about wanting to get closer to schools.”
267.Approximately 49 per cent of grass pitches and 76 per cent of sports halls in England are located on school sites. Creating links with the community and bringing in local clubs and organisations during and outside school hours to host activities is an effective way to introduce children and young people to a broader range of activities in their communities, and to enable local clubs to engage the next generation of participants.
268.Ali Oliver of the Youth Sport Trust argued for the creation of schools as multi-sport hubs in the community, which offer an extended school day to its pupils and can “drive closer links between schools and clubs” and form a route for students to those clubs.
269.Terry Graves explained that his school had established links with local community sports clubs through renting their facilities at low cost and that his school received funding from the local Active Partnership to cover the cost of caretakers being on-site.
270.Lee Mason told us that many schools “want to reach out to their community”. The Active Partnerships said that efforts to open up school facilities “should sit in a wider policy context which encourages schools to be more outward looking”.
271.AoC Sport said colleges also have high-quality facilities and over 100,000 students studying sports courses making them an ideal channel for delivering sport and physical activity opportunities.
272.Nick Gibb MP told us that “there are challenges and barriers” for schools to open up their facilities such as the ownership of playing fields, and infrastructure issues such as ensuring that changing rooms are compliant with disability access requirements. He drew attention to the DfE’s pilots with 23 Active Partnerships and Sport England in 2020 to work with approximately 230 primary and secondary schools to resolve barriers to opening up school sport facilities. He noted that the Government has allocated £10.1 million to expand the pilot to all 43 Active Partnerships. He told us that the earlier pilot had helped to rebuild community links between schools and local sports clubs and that the expansion of the pilot “is a major initiative to open up assets that lie silent after the school day finishes”.
273.Some sports and local clubs have established positive partnerships with schools, but there is considerably more potential for schools and local sports clubs to connect and work together to encourage more participation in grassroots sport.
274.The Department for Education must work with NGBs to support the delivery of tuition and sport offers by local clubs. This can establish links between schools and wider community and grassroots sport and physical activity opportunities for children and young people.
275.We are encouraged by the efforts made to support the opening of school sport facilities to their communities. However, we do not believe that progress is being made swiftly enough in this area and there remains significant untapped potential which restricts the availability of sport facilities to community sport clubs and the wider population.
276.We believe that with the right support, schools can open their facilities to local communities. The Minister for Sport, Health and Wellbeing will need to work closely with the Department for Education, local authorities and Active Partnerships, including through the Strategic Forum, to identify, engage with and support schools and other educational institutions, such as colleges, to open their facilities to local clubs and their communities.
273 (Laura Cordingley)
274 (Oliver Scadgell)
275 Written evidence from StreetGames ()
276 (Ali Oliver)
277 (Mark Hardie)
278 Notes of engagement event with school students
279 (Mads Andreassen)
281 Written evidence from the British Mountaineering Council ()
283 (Nick Gibb MP)
284 House of Commons Library, Physical education, physical activity and sport in schools, Briefing Paper, , 17 December 2019, p 3 and Department for Education, ‘National curriculum in England: framework for key stages 1 to 4’: [accessed 15 November 2021].
285 Department for Education, ‘National curriculum in England: physical education programmes of study’: [accessed 15 November 2021] and HC Deb, 28 June 2011,
286 The plan applies to England only because health, education and grassroots sports policy are devolved matters. In Scotland there is a Physical Activity Delivery Plan, in Northern Ireland, Sport Matters, and in Wales, Healthy Weight, Healthy Wales all of which are based around the principle that physical activity is good for physical and mental wellbeing.
287 Department for Education, Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, and Department of Health and Social Care, School Sport and Activity Action Plan (15 July 2019), p 3: [accessed 15 November 2021]
288 Department for Education, Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, and Department of Health and Social Care,
291 (Ali Oliver)
292 Written evidence from Sport England ()
294 (Baroness Campbell of Loughborough)
295 (Ali Oliver)
296 (Dr Liz Durden-Myers)
297 (Sue Wilkinson)
298 Written evidence from the RFU () and the LTA ()
299 (Tim Hollingsworth)
300 (Dr Liz Durden-Myers)
301 (Professor Kim Edwards)
304 Written evidence from the Centre for Movement and Occupational Rehabilitation Sciences (MOReS), Oxford Brookes University ()
305 (Dr Kathryn Atherton)
306 (Dr Liz Durden-Myers)
307 Written evidence from the Youth Sport Trust ()
308 (Dr Kathryn Atherton)
309 Written evidence from HM Government ()
310 (Graham Archer)
311 Supplementary written evidence from ukactive ()
312 Written evidence from the Youth Sport Trust ()
313 (Tim Hollingsworth)
314 (Dr Liz Durden-Myers)
315 Written evidence from Sport England ()
316 Written evidence from Stonewall and Mermaids ()
317 Written evidence from Women in Sport ()
318 Written evidence from Girlguiding ()
319 Written evidence from Goalball UK ()
322 (Baroness Campbell of Loughborough) and written evidence from Women in Sport ()
326 Written evidence from Olly Deasy, Francesca Clarke and Lily MaCaulay-Hick ()
328 Written evidence from Katie Allen, Professor Eric Anderson and Stacy Hart ()
329 (Ali Oliver)
330 (Nick Gibb MP)
331 Department for Education, Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, and Department of Health and Social Care, , p 15
332 House of Commons Library, Physical education, physical activity and sport in schools, Briefing Paper, , 17 December 2019, p 3
333 DfE, ‘Guidance: PE and sport premium for primary schools’ (28 October 2021): [accessed 15 November 2021]
335 Ofsted, Obesity, healthy eating and physical activity in primary schools (July 2018): [accessed 15 November 2021]
336 DfE, Primary PE and Sport Premium Survey: Research Report (July 2019): [accessed 15 November 2021]
337 House of Commons Library, Physical education, physical activity and sport in schools, Briefing Paper, , 17 December 2019, p 10
338 (Dr Liz Durden-Myers)
340 (Dr Liz Durden-Myers)
341 (Hon Grant Robertson)
342 (Dr Liz Durden-Myers)
345 (Ali Oliver)
346 DfE, ‘Guidance: PE and Sport Premium for primary schools’ (28 October 2021): [accessed 15 November 2021]
347 (Nick Gibb MP)
348 (Dr Liz Durden-Myers)
349 (Sue Wilkinson)
350 Written evidence from Dr Iain Lindsey, Mr Benjamin Rigby, Professor Brett Smith, Dr Emily Oliver and Dr Caroline Dodd-Reynolds ()
351 (Lee Mason)
352 (Nick Gibb MP)
353 Sport and Recreation Alliance, The PE and Sport Premium: An assessment of primary schools’ spending and reporting (2019), p 1: [accessed 15 November 2021]
354 (Dr Liz Durden-Myers)
356 (Ali Oliver)
357 Iain Lindsey, Sarah Metcalfe, Adam Gemar, Josie Alderman, and Joe Armstrong, ‘Simplistic policy, skewed consequences: Taking stock of English physical education, school sport and physical activity policy since 2013’, European Physical Education Review, vol 27, issue 2 (May 2021): [accessed 15 November 2021], see also written evidence from Dr Iain Lindsey, Mr Benjamin Rigby, Professor Brett Smith, Dr Emily Oliver and Dr Caroline Dodd-Reynolds ().
358 (Nick Gibb MP)
359 Supplementary written evidence from Rt. Hon. Nick Gibb MP ()
360 Written evidence from FYI and Sky Kids ()
361 (Nigel Harrison)
362 The Daily Mile, ‘About the Daily Mile’: [accessed 15 November 2021]
363 (Professor Dame Theresa Marteau)
364 (Dr Kathryn Atherton)
365 Written evidence from Welsh Institute of Physical Activity, Health and Sport ()
366 Written evidence from the Youth Sport Trust ()
367 Written evidence from Dr Kyle Ferguson ()
368 Written evidence from the MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge ()
369 (Professor Kim Edwards)
370 (Hon Grant Robertson)
371 (Dr Liz Durden-Myers)
372 Written evidence from the Sport for Development Coalition ()
373 (Dr Josef Fahlén)
374 (Dr Eivind Å Skille)
376 (Mark Hardie)
377 Written evidence from Ian Halliday ()
378 Youth Sport Trust, ‘Our Story’: [accessed 15 November 2021]
379 Ofsted, School Sport Partnerships - A survey of good practice (June 2011): [accessed 15 November 2021]
380 See Appendix 4, note on the roundtable discussion with CEOs of NGBs and experts
381 Written evidence from Dr Iain Lindsey, Mr Benjamin Rigby, Professor Brett Smith, Dr Emily Oliver and Dr Caroline Dodd-Reynolds ()
382 Written evidence from the FA ()
383 Written evidence from the RFU ()
384 (Nigel Huddleston MP)
385 Sport England, Sport England Annual Report and Accounts 2017 to 2018 (11 July 2018), p 16: [accessed 15 November 2021]
386 (Ali Oliver)
387 Supplementary written evidence from Terry Graves ()
388 (Lee Mason)
389 Supplementary written evidence from Active Partnerships ()
390 Written evidence from AoC Sport ()
391 (Nick Gibb MP)
392 Ibid. See also written evidence from HM Government () and Sport England ().
393 (Nick Gibb MP)