PE and Sport Premium (PESP): how do you spend yours?

Oct 26, 2020

I always love spending my school’s PESP, but I’m never entirely clear what the rules around it are and how best to spend it! Never fear, we’re here to help. As so often is the case, the best place to start is with the official guidance, where the DfE clearly sets out what the money can and cannot be spent on. To help decide how it spend it, it might be sensible to use a self-assessment tool kit, such as this one (scroll down) from the Youth Sport Trust (YST).

All noted, but let’s get into the nitty-gritty. What am I allowed to spend my premium on? The DfE explains that your PESP should be spent in support of two overarching aims:

  1. To develop or add to the PE, physical activity and sport that your school provides. READ: to go beyond just the basic PE requirement
  2. To build capacity and capability within the school to ensure that improvements made now will benefit pupils joining the school in future years. READ: it needs to be sustainable

They then suggest five key indicators across which schools should see improvements as a result of the PESP funding:

  1. The engagement of all pupils in regular physical activity
  2. The profile of PE and sport is raised across the school as a tool for whole-school improvement
  3. Increased confidence, knowledge and skills of all staff in teaching PE and sport
  4. Broader experience of a range of sports and activities offered to all pupils
  5. Increased participation in competitive sport

The Association for Physical Education (afPE) has created a rather handy poster summarising the key indicators, available here.

OK, that makes sense theoretically, but can you give me some practical examples of how to spend the PESP in a way that will drive improvements in those areas? Fortunately the DfE has covered this in its guidance, providing some concrete examples of spending targeted on each indicator:

Under Engagement of all pupils in regular physical activity you could:

  • Provide targeted activities or support to involve and encourage the least active children
  • Encourage active play during break times and lunchtimes
  • Extend the range and variety of school sports clubs, activities and holiday clubs, perhaps funding attendance
  • Adopt an active mile initiative
  • Raise attainment in primary school swimming to meet requirements of the national curriculum before the end of KS2

Under Profile of PE and sport is raised across the school as a tool for whole-school improvement you could:

  • Encourage pupils to take on leadership or volunteer roles that support sport and physical activity within the school (such as ‘sport leader’ or peer-mentoring schemes)
  • Embed physical activity into the school day through active travel to and from school, active break times and active lessons and teaching

Under Increased confidence, knowledge and skills of all staff in teaching PE and sport you could:

  • Provide staff with CPD, mentoring, training and resources to help them teach PE and sport more effectively to all pupils, and embed physical activity across your school
  • Hire qualified sports coaches to work alongside teachers to enhance or extend current opportunities

Under Broader experience of a range of sports and activities offered to all pupils you could:

  • Introduce new sports and physical activities (such as dance, yoga or fitness sessions) to encourage more pupils to take up sport and physical activities
  • Partner with other schools to run sport activities and clubs
  • Provide more (or broaden the variety of) extra-curricular activities after school in the 3 to 6pm window, delivered by the school or other local sport organisations

Under Increased participation in competitive sport you could:

  • Increase pupils’ participation in the School Games
  • Organise, coordinate or enter more sport competitions or tournaments within the school or across the local area, including those run by sporting organisations

Excellent, lots to consider. Do you have any specific examples of what other schools are doing? We do – have a look at these:

  • The Somerset Activity and Sports Partnership (SASP) has put together a list of ideas for how to spend PESP funding gathered from Somerset Primary Schools. Rather handily it’s organised according to the five indicators
  • Active Notts has published a booklet entitled ‘Effective use of the PE and Sport Premium – Good Practice Examples’
  • Public Health England’s What works in schools and colleges to increase physical activity? includes case studies from a range of schools outlining activities and practices introduced with the aim of increasing physical activity

That’s great! I’m wondering about using some of the funding to support pupils in the context of the coronavirus pandemic. Any thoughts? The YST has developed a webinar (scroll down in link) that explores how schools can use the PESP to help ‘recover from the coronavirus crisis’.  It also has a blog that explores ways to refine your PESP action plan for the first three indicators in order to ‘support your school’s recovery from the impact of the coronavirus crisis’. Additionally, the afPE has published Seven Top Tips for PESP spending, which take into account the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

And just to cover all the bases, what am I not allowed to spend my funding on? The 2020-2021 Conditions of Grant clearly identifies three key aspects you shouldn’t be using the money for:

  • The employment of sports coaches for PPA – this needs to come out of the staffing budget for the school
  • Capital spending – this needs to come out of the capital budget for the school
  • To provide the bare minimum National Curriculum requirements for PE

Crystal clear! Anything else I need to think about? Don’t forget that due to an amendment for this year only, any unspent grant from 2019-20 can be spent until 31 March 2021. You will need to ensure that when you publish your online report next year the amount carried forward is clearly identified and brief reasons for the underspend presented.

In a nutshell… Think carefully how your spending can provide a greatly enriched PE and sport provision in a sustainable fashion.  

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