Head of Children and Young People
Date: 8 March 2023 Author: Energise Me
We have been awarded a share of up to £57m worth of Opening School Facilities investment from the Department for Education. The funding will support schools to open their sporting facilities for community and school users outside of the normal school day.
Schools play a vital role in encouraging children and young people to be more active. This funding will enable at least 32 local schools to open up their facilities and widen access to opportunities to be physically active. Activities could be before school, after school, during weekends, evenings and school holidays.
We have been working with local stakeholders to identify communities that would most benefit from increased access to sports facilities.
This is a fantastic opportunity to support schools in our priority areas to provide a more varied, targeted and extensive extra-curricular offer. It will help address inequalities and provide positive early experiences for pupils who don't currently take part.
Sharon Robertson, Head of Children and Young People, Energise Me
Schools can use this funding to purchase equipment to deliver new or additional clubs. Funding can help employees gain qualifications to deliver new activities. It can be used to pay for activity deliverers to run the clubs.
Schools can also use funding to open their school swimming pools for pupils, focusing on providing valuable swimming and water safety lessons during and outside of the school day.
As well as supporting schools to provide more out of school opportunities for their school children and community users, priority will be given to projects that:
The funding will make a huge difference to our school, helping us get our children outdoors, being active after the school day and during the holidays. This will be a real benefit in our community for our children's mental health and physical well-being.
Clive Mulligan, Deputy Head Teacher at Trosnant Junior School, Havant
The Consortia will support local partnerships, to ensure the objectives of the programme are exceeded through collaboration and co-design. Creating more positive experiences of physical activity for school and community users who need the most support will help narrow inequalities in communities across England.
Andy Taylor, Chief Executive for Active Partnerships National Team said: “We are delighted that schools across England will receive a share of this new three-year investment to help them open up their sporting facilities outside of the normal school day. Our network of 43 Active Partnerships will support schools to develop and deliver their plans. They will help identify those local communities facing the greatest inequalities and help schools give them access to more varied opportunities to be physically active.”
It is imperative that the investment creates sustainable physical activity programmes that continue to support communities to move more for their health and wellbeing for many years to come. We will be helping schools to create the right environment where projects can continue, giving more people the chance to be and remain active.
Andy Taylor, Chief Executive for Active Partnerships National Team
The recent Active Lives Children and Young People survey (2021/22 academic year) from Sport England revealed that children and young people’s activity levels overall have recovered to pre-pandemic levels. 47% of children met the Chief Medical Officers’ guidelines of taking part in an average of 60 minutes or more of sport and physical activity a day. There were rises in both the numbers getting active outside school hours and during school hours. This highlights how hard schools worked to get sport and activity back in a safe and positive way after Covid-19.
However, those from low affluence families are still less likely to be active than those from high affluence (42% compared to 52%). Children and young people going to school in the most deprived places in the country have not seen activity recover to pre-pandemic levels. There are signs that schemes to promote physical activity locally, working with a range of partners, can make a big difference.
The Opening School Facilities funding will adopt these learnings to deliver localised activity across England where it is needed the most.