Taken from the Department for Education's 19th July Press Release.
More girls are set to benefit as the government publishes a 2-year plan to improve equal access and the quality of PE and sport in schools for all pupils. The School sport and activity action plan will support teachers and schools to deliver 2 hours of high-quality PE and provide competitive and extra-curricular opportunities to both girls and boys.
This is set to encourage more children to follow in the footsteps of their heroes, such as footballer Millie Bright leading the Lionesses in the World Cup this summer, Katie Boulter representing Great Britain at Wimbledon or Sarah Hunter and Marlie Parker co-captaining the women’s England rugby team to success in the women’s Six Nations in March.
New guidance also published today (19 July 2023), alongside the action plan, includes details of the digital tool to help schools spend their allocation of the (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/pe-and-sport-premium-for-primary-schools) to the best advantage of pupils. Headteachers can use this money to improve teacher training, offer more opportunities for pupils to take part in competition and expand the range of sports on offer at school.
On top of funding for the PE and sport premium, an extra £57 million is already supporting over one thousand schools across England to open sport facilities outside of the school day. This fund is targeted at girls, disadvantaged pupils and pupils with special educational needs and disabilities.
Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said:
"As another nail-biting British summer of sport continues, with Markéta Vondroušová winning her first grand slam at Wimbledon, Heather Knight leading the women’s cricket team through the Ashes and our inspirational Lionesses still having all to play for in the World Cup, it’s so important our next generation not only see their heroes but have the opportunities to emulate them.
Our school sport and activity action plan sets out how we will support schools to make sure girls and boys alike have those same great opportunities.
Today’s plan crystallises our commitment to equal access to all sports and 2 hours of PE per week, and will help instil a lifelong passion for sport and fitness in each and every young person."
The FA’s Director of Women’s Football Baroness Sue Campbell said:
"We welcome the publication of the school sport and activity action plan, and the government’s unequivocal statement that PE and sport are a vital part of what makes a good school.
The Lionesses have inspired a new generation of girls to play football, and we are pleased that the plan will provide support to schools to deliver equal access and a minimum of 2 hours per week of PE.
We look forward to continuing to work closely with the government on implementation, so that we can deliver real change on the ground for schoolchildren across the country."
Guidance will be published later this year to support in the delivery of equal access and 2 hours of PE per week. With support from national governing bodies and other sporting organisations, the government will identify schools that offer equal access for girls to sport during the school day and additional extracurricular activities. This guidance will include detailed case-studies outlining examples of good practice, to help support teachers and senior leaders to deliver good PE and sport in schools.
Included in the guidance on providing high quality PE and sport will be practical and detailed case studies from schools. Helping schools to provide 2 hours of PE a week, equal access for girls and areas where schools currently need additional support, such as swimming and water safety lessons.
Government will also share new resources and findings from targeted programmes that support children with special educational needs and disabilities and encourage competition and leadership opportunities for girls.
Youth Sport Trust CEO Ali Oliver said:
"There is much we welcome in this action plan, not least the clear unequivocal statement, PE and sport is integral to what makes an excellent school. The significant commitment to investment, alongside clear expectations and accountability is much needed.
However, we believe this should only be seen as the first step - less than half of children and young people meet the Chief Medical Officers guidance of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day; which impacts on their physical and mental health, as well as progress and achievement in the classroom.
The Youth Sport Trust stands ready, alongside partners to work with schools and the government over the longer term to increase opportunities for activity throughout the school day, ensure equal access, and develop an understanding children learn better when they are active."
Health Minister Neil O’Brien said:
"While statistics show the young are becoming more active, over 2 million children do not do enough to keep fit. This plan means that we can get even more of them across the country moving to experience the physical and mental health benefits regular sport and physical activity bring.
Schools will be able to deliver even better PE lessons - helping their pupils to make regular exercise a habit for life and have fun, while improving their physical and mental health.
This plan builds on over £600 million for school sport which is already helping children and young people exercise more and stay fit and healthy."
The action plan sets out how we will encourage and recognise the success of schools providing equal access for girls through new equality criteria in the School Games Mark, This will recognise schools that create positive sporting experiences across all sports for young people, supporting them to be active for 60 minutes a day. We will celebrate this with an annual moment of recognition in National School Sports Week, led by the Youth Sport Trust.
Today’s announcement comes ahead of the government publishing its new sport strategy which will set the long-term plan for sport in the UK and focus on addressing inactivity levels at all ages and making the sport sector more sustainable.