Since 2013, sports premium funding has been aimed at primary schools to improve sports and physical education provision. Sports premium for schools is continuing on a year-by-year basis, and with tighter budgets and greater bureaucracy than ever, it’s essential to know how you can best spend the sports premium grant awarded to your school.
The government have announced that Sports Premium will continue for academic years 2023-24 and 2024-25.
Here we take away the complications to offer no-nonsense, straightforward sports premium guidance for schools. First, we explain the conditions of the grant of the PE and sport premium and then look at the best sports premium spending ideas so that your pupils fully benefit.
What is sports premium?
Sometimes referred to as PE and sport premium but more often dubbed sports premium, this is a government-backed funding initiative open to most primary school settings. It is designed to improve PE in schools and engage children in sports to become physically literate and capable of living healthy, active lifestyles. It’s the best way of getting the cash you need to get your pupils active and achieving in sports.
Active pupils become healthier pupils in mind and body. This improves their wellbeing, behaviour, confidence and academic outcomes. So it’s in the interests of your school and pupils to get the most out of primary sports premium. What’s more, the outcomes you achieve in PE contribute to your Ofsted outcomes.
You can only spend the sports premium grant on sports provision and physical education. However, that still leaves questions about sports premium spending. We’ll come onto what you can spend your sports premium on shortly.
How to get sports premium funding and how much will we get?
Sports premium allocations are automatic, based on school census data; if your school or setting is eligible, you will receive it. There is no need to apply. The sports premium grant is paid to the school for the headteacher and senior leadership to decide how best to spend the money for their school.
Is your setting eligible for sports premium allocations?
Most primary schools are eligible for sports premium allocations. This includes maintained schools, academies, special schools, non-maintained schools and PRUs. Independent schools do not qualify for sports premium money.
How is sports premium calculated?
There’s a formula to determine sports premium allocations.
The basic rule for how much sports premium a school gets this academic year is £16,000 with an additional £10 per pupil. This applies to schools with over 17 pupils in years 1-6. So, an average single-form entry primary school will receive around £18,000.
Schools with fewer than 17 pupils receive £1000 per pupil.
The next question is, when is sports premium paid to schools? Again, this depends on your setting type. In the autumn, you receive just over half of the funding. In either the spring or early summer term, you receive the balance. Bear in mind that you are required to report on spending the funding by the end of July, so it is worth working out your spending plan as soon as possible.
While receiving your sports premium allocations is relatively easy, publishing how you’ve used the sports premium funding and demonstrating positive outcomes is required. Additionally, after a certain time, you must return unspent sports premium. So it’s worth knowing how to spend it most effectively and get on and do so!
During the Covid years, there were provisions to carry over sports premiums from one year to the next. This no longer applies. You must spend your sports premium within the allocated year or risk paying it back.
Sports premium conditions of grant – what can you spend sports premium on?
So, getting the sports premium is relatively easy, but as with any good game, there are some rules. These vary slightly according to the type of school. However, the sports premium conditions of grant set out key objectives and expectations for how schools must use the money. So, what can sports premium be spent on?
The sports premium funding must be used to make additional and sustainable improvements to the quality of the physical education, physical activity and sport you provide. Therefore, before you consider sports premium spending ideas, you need to understand that you should use the money:
Only for sports and PE.
To add to, update or improve activities, facilities or equipment, including after-school sports clubs.
To benefit current and future pupils.
To provide staff with PE and sports professional development and resources.
To build physical activity into the school day (hence sports premium playground equipment is so popular).
You must choose sports premium spending ideas to achieve improvements in the 5 key indicators set out by the government:
Key indicator #1: Increased confidence, knowledge and skills of all staff in teaching PE and sport.
Key indicator #2: Engagement of all pupils in regular physical activity.
Key indicator #3: Increased profile of PE and sport in the school as part of your whole school improvement.
Key indicator #4: Broadened range of physical activities and sports for all pupils.
Key indicator #5: Increased participation in competitive sport.
You are not permitted to use sports premium funding to fund capital expenditure, employ specialist sports/PE teachers or coaches to cover PPA or teach the basic requirements of the PE national curriculum (except for top-up swimming lessons following core lessons).
We outline some ideas of how to spend sports premium money below that meet the above criteria.
It doesn’t end with spending!
Unfortunately, in terms of another admin task, you will be required to demonstrate that you spent the sports premium appropriately and in line with the conditions of grant by the end of the summer term or 31 July. Ofsted and the DfE require you to publish information about how you’ve spent your PE and sports premium. You must report the following:
How much sports premium grant your school received.
How you spent it.
How this has positively impacted current pupils.
How it will positively impact future pupils (showing sustainability).
You must also report the percentage of Year 6 pupils who met the national curriculum swimming requirements.
The Association for Physical Education and Youth Sports Trust provides a template for your report.
Now you understand the sports premium guidance, let’s move on to how to spend sports premium money effectively and strategically with the best sports premium spending ideas.
Sports premium spending ideas
Central to these sports premium spending ideas are adherence to the sports premium conditions of grant and the fundamental premise that primary pupils can access regular physical activity within the school day alongside excellent PE provision. It may be helpful to choose spending ideas that target different elements of the 5 key indicators.
1. Teaching the teachers
Sustainability is now a core requirement for primary sports premium spending, and the first of the 5 key indicators focuses on staff capability and confidence in PE and sports provision.
Investing in the development of your staff through training, mentoring and useful resources is invaluable to help them teach, encourage and motivate pupils in activity and sports engagement.
2. Embed activity in the school day with playground markings
Getting pupils active should be fun and inspiring. The easiest way to promote more significant activity is to make playgrounds fun and accessible in a way that encourages exercise and movement. From life-sized snakes and ladders and other fun games through to mile-a-day markings, bright and colourful playground markings are long-lasting, cost-effective and simple ways to improve activity at break and lunchtimes. They are even helpful for outdoor learning and classrooms too.
3. Add multi-court markings to inspire and extend
Most primary schools have limited space. An essential requirement of sports premium is to extend the sports and activities available within your setting. With clever and experienced planning, our multi-courts enable your school to have facilities for various sports and games in one space so that children can develop different skills, build teamwork and peer relationships and maybe discover a new active passion.
4. Run targeted activities and clubs
From funding clubs and competition attendance for your keen sports-loving children to developing programmes for more reticent, less active and less confident pupils, spend sports premium funding to start, run and maintain targeted activities and clubs. Enter local leagues and competitions and offer a wider choice of active clubs, including dance, cheerleading, orienteering or even a ninja academy!
5. Make a splash and improve swimming outcomes
You can’t use your sports premium funding to pay for swimming lessons and meet the national curriculum requirements. However, not only is swimming a vital life skill for your pupils, but it’s also one of the most costly activities to provide. As such, you can use some of the sports premium funding cleverly to improve sustainability in how you offer swimming lessons (for example, by training your own in-house swim teachers) and also help struggling swimmers with top-up lessons.
6. Level up your competitive sport
After decades of competitive sport taking a backseat in primary schools, its value is recognised again. This is reflected in sports premium funding and recognised in key indicator #5. You can use sports premium spending to enable more competitive sport. From awards and rewards for celebrations to running more competitions and matches, you can use your sports premium grant to increase your competitive sport offering. You can even use some of your premium to cover transport costs to fixtures and events.
7. Invest in new equipment for new activities
The Association for Physical Education recommends that sports premium is used for something other than replacing existing sports equipment as this should come out of your main budget. However, you can invest in new or upgraded sports equipment, as well as storage facilities for it. More diverse equipment helps encourage more activity in different and engaging ways. In addition, new equipment and kit can help you broaden sports and activity provision across the school.
8. Hire of facilities and payment for active trips
Whether you need to hire a pool for a swimming gala, hire a hall for an indoor obstacle course event, or want to take pupils for an active day out to high ropes or canoeing, the sports premium can contribute.
Kids most easily get active through play. Encouraging greater activity through play is the most cost-effective and sustainable way of encouraging active, healthy children who grow in confidence and build life skills, including teamwork.
Let us help you make long-lasting strategic investments with your sports premium funding, using different durable and easy-to-maintain thermoplastic markings for your playground.