Government unveils school sports action plan


Education secretary Damian Hinds has unveiled plans to get more youngsters playing competitive sports in school. 

Mr Hinds outlined proposals for a school sports action plan at the Conservative Party Conference that will seek to train more sports teachers and coaches to boost sports opportunities for pupils.

Set to be published next spring, a number of high profile sports organisations, ranging from the Premier League and the FA to the RFU and England Netball, are set to contribute.

Increasing participation in sport is viewed as a key target, as figures from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport show a decline in the number of five to ten-year-olds taking part in organised school sports competitions.

In 2017, 55.6% of people in that age bracket took part in competitive sports, compared to 62.4% a summer previously.

The action plan, compiled by Mr Hinds in partnership with sports minister Tracy Crouch, will also attempt to “increase the profile of competitive sport between schools”.

Mr Hinds said that despite the introduction, and subsequent doubling, of the PE and sports premium, more can still be done.

“We need to go further to ensure that every child, whatever their background, has the opportunity to explore different kinds of sport and take part in competitions in the one – or the many – that they enjoy,” he said.

“Government, schools, sports organisations – we are all united in our desire to make sure that young people can benefit from an active lifestyle.”

The primary PE and sports premium enables schools to receive funding in the region of £18,000 for enhancing the sport and PE provision on offer.

Sport England has also pledged to boost secondary school PE teacher numbers by an estimated 17,000, by committing £13.5 million between now and 2021.

The approach is designed to “help foster a more positive attitude to physical education” and is run in partnership with the Teaching Schools Council following a successful pilot earlier in 2018.

Around 90% of English schools are also signed up to School Games, a framework designed to promote all pupils, including those with disabilities, to participate in a meaningful sports competition.