Many primary school governors will have come across the term ‘sport premium funding’ but may be unsure as to what it is and how it could and should be spent. Given how important physical activity is to wellbeing and educational success, making the most of any available funding is incredibly important, as well as a core role of governors.

Primary PE and Sport Premium (PPSP) funding was introduced in 2013 as one of a range of measures aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of young people. PPSP funding is ring-fenced and consists of an annual payment of £16,000 per school, plus an additional £10 per pupil, in two instalments. Its purpose is making sustainable and additional improvements to the quality of their PE and sport offering, and so should not be used to simply fund the delivery of the core curriculum or capital expenditure.

Too often an external provider is engaged to deliver this aspect of the curriculum and not enough is done to explore the efficacy of their programme, and if it’s delivering on the intent of the funding, for which there are five key indicators:

  • Engagement of all pupils in regular physical activity
  • Profile of PE and sport is raised across the school as a tool for whole-school improvement
  • Increased confidence, knowledge and skills of all staff in teaching PE and sport
  • Broader experience of a range of sports and activities offered to all pupils
  • Increased participation in competitive sport

There are several things governors and boards can do to ensure schools are making the most of this funding and its impact is being accurately monitored. Many of these can be integrated into the wider subject of wellbeing. Governors should ask to see the Premium Spending Plan and this should be linked to the School Improvement Plan. They may want to consider having a specific link governor to oversee PPSP funding as well as ensuring suitable monitoring and impact measurement is in place, as well as having it as a regular item on finance committee meeting agenda. Discussions with SLT and PE staff should be had to generate ideas for how the funding could best be used, as well as to ensure the school website is displaying accurate information regarding the funding.

As funding levels shrink, or reporting requirements increase, it becomes ever more imperative that schools are demonstrably making the most of what is available to them. Governors have a very important role to play in this. PPSP funds are a potentially highly impactful way to create meaningful and sustained change in the physical activity culture in primary schools, with life-long benefits for all pupils.

Our thanks to Yorkshire Sport, Active Sussex, and Sport England for their assistance with this article.

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