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PE specialists in primary schools to double

The number of primary school teachers with a specialism in PE is to be doubled after the government announced it will give extra cash to boost the take up of school sport. 

Ministers will provide an extra £360,000 to expand a pilot programme which has seen 120 primary specialists placed into schools across the country. 

The success of the initiative has led the Department for Education to increase the number of specialists to 240 in a bid to improve the quality of PE teaching in primary schools. 

Children's minister Edward Timpson said the second round of funding would enable PE scpecialists to support other teachers in their schools.

“PE teaching is a specialist role and deserves bespoke support. PE specialists are vital to really embedding sporting expertise in schools, as well as giving children every chance of developing a sporting habit for life," Mr Timpson said.

“The pilot has already attracted high-calibre graduates who want to share their love of sport. We must harness this and ensure more schools across the country can benefit from their expertise,” he added.

The decision comes a year after prime minister David Cameron announced primary schools would receive £150m a year over two years in a bid to capitalise on the legacy left behind by the London Olympics in 2012. 

While the money was welcomed, concerns were raised by experts over the lack of PE teachers with suitable training to deliver PE lessons and put the money to good use. 

The Youth Sport Trust has consistently called for more PE specialists and greater emphasis on PE and sport during teacher training. 

John Steele, chief executive of the Youth Sport Trust, said: “Primary schools play such a crucial role in developing the physical literacy of young people and ensuring they have a positive first experience of PE and sport.

"However, primary class teachers are generalists and have limited physical education training, introducing teachers with a specialism in the subject is a positive step forward and should be welcomed.”

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