Education sites are a key provider of sports facilities in England – for example, a staggering 77% of sports halls and 61% of artificial pitches are located on schools, colleges and universities. If you want to see if you can access your local sites to play community sport, you can do a quick search on our Active Places Power database.
The focus of Sport England’s Access to Schools team is on working with secondary to provide a range of support to help open up and retain school sites for community use.
This will include:
- An online interactive toolkit providing a wide-range of guidance (everything from the benefits to your school of opening up sports facilities for community use to advice on insurance, VAT and setting fees and charges) – parts of this toolkit are already available for your use. This can be accessed through our Toolkit for Schools webpage.
- Best practise case studies – some examples are provided opposite
- Local support from our specialist education advisers
To ensure our support will add real value, we are currently undertaking a pilot with Birmingham City Council to:
- Identify barriers/issues for accessing sports facilities on school sites
- Problem solve locally, with mentorship
- Escalate issues where required for resolution at a national level
- Identify facilities in need of small scale capital investment
- Road-test resource development
- Learn from our Access to Schools work in the core cities which includes Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, Newcastle, Bristol, Sheffield and Leeds (all at various stages of engagement)
- Work with a range of organisations and individuals to better understand the key challenges facing schools and how we can help overcome these
- Test how we can roll out our core offer nationally.
Our intention is to publish in full our toolkit by Autumn 2014 and to provide specific support to secondary schools in a range of localities from September. Please note, this will NOT be in the form of an open grant round.
If you have any thoughts on our work, ideas to shape our resource developments or wish to share examples of best practise, please email us to our Accessing Schools mailbox.