Before the world went a little bit crazy, the budget was announced on the 11thMarch. Seems an awfully long time ago, doesn't it?
Whilst school funding for next year might be the furthest thing from your mind at this moment in time, I’ve been spending some planning time thinking about the impact that COVID-19 could have on the progress schools have made with their PE, sport and activity provisions, and what impact we might see on school budgets next year.
Let’s start with what we know so far:
“To ensure that children get an active start in life, the government will bring forward an updated School Sport and Activity Action Plan following the Comprehensive Spending Review. Ahead of that, the Budget provides £29 million a year by 2023-24 to support primary school PE teaching and help schools make best use of their sports facilities. The funding will support high quality teacher training and professional development for PE, informed by best practice PE teaching.”
So, what can we assume from this?
Well, firstly, it appears that the days of £15000 per school as a PE & Sport Premium grant are gone. With a fund of £29million rather than the previous £320million, the financial commitment is under 10% of what it previously was. So, £1500 per school?
That would seem odd, so maybe a more centralised approach could be on the cards? Are we going to see a return to centrally funded teams that work in counties/districts? Something similar to the labour introduced School Sport Partnership’s perhaps?
Many of you will remember the SSP’s. They were introduced in 2002 as part of the Labour government’s physical education and sport strategy. The investment promised for that strategy was £1.5 billion from 2003 – 2008.
Fast forward to October 2010 and then Education Secretary, Michael Gove (Boo, hiss), announced that funding to SSP’s would be removed and thus the PE & Sport Premium was developed as its successor. Does all that make a return to an SSP type environment unlikely? Considering we are still in a Conservative government with Mr Gove is a position of power, we may assume so?
Ok, so what we’re saying is we have no idea what’s going to happen, right?
Well, kind of! But what we do know is that COVID-19 has thrown another huge spanner into this equation. Firstly, the unprecedented financial support that the government is having to provide to industry, businesses, families and more means we are almost certainly going to be entering a recession like we have never seen before post the epidemic.
Secondly, we are currently getting used to a new way of living. PE being delivered by Joe Wicks every day rather than an external sports coach coming into school (Joe Wicks is great, but it’s not PE! Physical Activity maybe, but definitely not Physical Education!), is just one way we have seen the way we look at education change. Is it possible that we will come out of lockdown with new ideas and new ways of teaching?
Thirdly, COVID-19 is going to put everything else on the back burner in government. Remember when we used to worry about Brexit?? Previously, we’re seen confirmation of PE & Sport Premium funding in October for the current academic year – usually the last week of October. Yes, a full half term after school has already commenced and plans have been put in place. That’s how fast we got confirmation without a world-wide pandemic taking place – When will we get the confirmation of funding for next year now?
We have to assume minimum PE funding as we plan for next year.
The days of paying £15000 per year for a coach to come into school and ‘support’ teachers are gone. Like everything at the moment, we need to start exploring new ways. New, cost effective ways.
Here’s what we suggest:
- Take the time you have now to do a full and thorough review of your PE provision and the impact you have seen (I recommend listening to some podcasts we produced last year – Just search for TLG-PE where you usually get your podcasts from). These podcasts will introduce you to the steps to take to review your provision fully and plan for a better future.
- Review your curriculum and make sure it is progressive, engaging and, importantly, easy for your teachers to teach. You can use the free TLG-PE curriculum planning tool for this: https://tlg-pe.co.uk/tlgpe-long-term-plan
- Investigate some cost-effective solutions for PE support (I hear TLG-PE are pretty good!).
- Make a plan on receiving a £2000 PE budget. How can you increase activity, engage children, improve teaching and track impact?
The TLG-PE team are all continuing to work from home during the pandemic. If you require any help or advice, please don’t hesitate to get in touch here.