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New teacher training to target attitudes to PE in schools

Secondary schools to benefit from up to £13.5 million National Lottery investment in workforce skills

24th September 2018


Free training is now on offer to 17,000 secondary school PE teachers to help foster a more positive attitude to physical education.

Up to £13.5 million of National Lottery money is being invested by us in a teacher training programme, run in partnership with the Teaching School Council, between now and 2021, offering specialist training and mentoring for teachers.

In 2015 we surveyed more than 450 school and college students, aged 14 and above, and the results showed that 19% disliked or hated PE at school.

Further research also shows that a bad experience at school can put children off physical activity for life – with girls more likely to dislike or hate PE.

“While some youngsters have a great experience of PE and sport at school, others don’t, and our research shows that can put them off being active for life,” said Jennie Price, our Chief Executive.


of girls meet CMO physical activity guidelines

“Lots of people have bad memories of being picked last for a team, or just feeling really uncomfortable in PE lessons.

“This programme is designed to stop that happening. It will help schools and individual teachers design a wider range of opportunities to increase young people’s enjoyment of sport and PE, which gives them a much better chance of being active in later life.”

This is the first significant investment into secondary school PE since 2008 and, while the training programme will not change the curriculum, it will build on and enhance existing good practice and support necessary improvements for all children and young people.

Fewer than half the children surveyed in 2015 viewed PE as a positive experience, with this programme aiming to improve the relevance and quality of pupil’s experiences.

And with only 8% of girls and 16% of boys at secondary school meeting the Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines of 60 minutes of physical activity a day – according to a Youth Sport Trust survey from 2017 – the training will work with headteachers and senior leaders to help them raise the profile of PE and sport in school.

Lots of people have bad memories of being picked last for a team, or just feeling really uncomfortable in PE lessons

Jennie Price

Sport England CEO

The programme is being rolled out across England during this month and comes on the back of a pilot scheme run since May that involved 42 schools, representing a broad demographic of pupils, which aimed to learn how PE and sport should be tailored to the needs of each child.

Training will now be offered through 150 Teaching School Alliances, with those schools taking part being trained and supported within their region and being given mentor support as part of the ongoing process.

How can schools get involved?

Any schools or teachers who are interested in taking part are invited to make their Teaching School Alliance aware of the opportunity and request them to register their interest with Sport England.

Each school term, we will work with 50-75 Teaching School Alliances, with the aim of giving all schools in England the opportunity to take part by 2021.

For more information please email

Partners in the teacher training consortium

  • Sport England – overall project development and leadership
  • Association of Physical Education – to lead the design, development and delivery of the master training for physical education
  • Youth Sport Trust – to lead the design, development and delivery of the master training for senior leadership and whole school impact of the teacher training
  • Teaching Schools Council – to lead the network of teaching schools to identify national and special leaders of education to be trained and mentor staff within their teaching alliances
  • Activity Alliance – to lead and ensure inclusivity across both strands of the teacher training content, design and delivery
  • Department for Education – support and advice regarding any policy or strategy decisions

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