The Premier League is looking to strengthen the grassroots of sport with an investment of £10.5 million to help clubs link with their local primary schools.
A three-year programme, announced today, comes after a trial last year in which 25 clubs, including all of those in the Premier League, worked with 1,279 primaries to provide lunchtime football, cricket and basketball clubs, as well as general PE lessons.
The new scheme will be rolled out through 67 professional football clubs across England and Wales.
Richard Scudamore, the Premier League’s chief executive, said: “The high-quality football put on by Premier League clubs, and the popularity that it generates, allows us to invest in and support community sports facilities, school sport, and a variety of sports participation projects.
“Investing in the primary school sector, where everything begins, is a perfect fit with our overarching strategy of aiming to get more young people playing sport.
“The success of the first year of this initiative – with 66,000 PE lessons delivered by our club coaches – has given clubs the confidence to roll it out further and complement the huge amount of work they are already doing in the secondary school sector.”
Children’s minister Edward Timpson said: “One of this government’s key objectives is to improve the quality of PE and school sport both through the primary PE and sport premium and through building better community links between schools and local clubs. This approach gives schools the opportunity to invest sustainably in staff development.”
The new money comes after the government’s announcement last year that it would spend more than £450 million on improving PE and sport in primaries over three years through giving a ringfenced PE and sport grant. The funding has now been extended to 2020.
Heads can choose how they spend their PE and sport grant, worth on average £8,919. Ofsted has been asked to report on the provision and schools will need to publish details of their PE spending on their websites.
The government’s commitment is linked to creating a legacy from the 2012 London Olympics. A 2013 report from Ofsted found that in a quarter of primary schools, pupils were not challenged to improve their personal fitness sufficiently with too easy warm ups followed by long periods of inactivity while the teachers introduced the lesson.
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