6 March 2020
An initiative aimed at helping more children develop a healthy lifestyle will see schools in England given £1.6 million to help promote greater use of their sports facilities.
The move is part of a national drive to encourage a minimum 60 minutes of physical activity for children each day.
Announcing the investment, the Department for Education (DfE) claimed that thousands of children will benefit as sports facilities are opened up after school and during holidays.
The funding will be directed at schools in 19 areas across England, including Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes, Gloucestershire, Greater Manchester, London, and North Yorkshire and County Durham.
Supported by Sport England, the Active Partnership Network will create collaborations between schools and local sport providers. That, the DfE suggests, will see sports facilities opened up for “fun and engaging sporting competitions, after school clubs and holiday activities”.
The objective of giving children access to at least 60 minutes of daily physical activity through physical education (PE), sport sessions, clubs and facilities both inside and outside of school hours was set out in the School Sport and Activity Action Plan published in July 2019.
Commenting for Active Partnerships, Chief Executive Lee Mason described the funding as a great opportunity to better understand how all types of secondary schools can be supported to open their facilities during evenings, weekends and holiday periods for the benefit of their pupils and local communities.
“By the end of this project, we will know more about the barriers schools face when trying to open their facilities for community use and how to support schools to overcome these challenges,” he said.
The £1.6 million project is part of a larger investment which will also see nine teaching schools known for their expertise in sport share a £500,000 grant to trial new ways to engage the least active pupils and help to develop the skills and confidence of PE teachers.