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Two-year extensions to School Games Organiser and PE and Sport Premium funding

The news comes as part of a Government pledge to ensure parity of access to sport and physical activity opportunities for boys and girls at school.

8th March 2023

Our chief executive Tim Hollingsworth has welcomed today’s announcement of £22 million to support two more years of the School Games Organiser network and more than £600 million across the same period for the PE and Sport Premium.

The School Games Organiser (SGO) network is made up of a workforce of 450 and supports 2.2m participation opportunities for children, including 28,000 competitive school sport events.

While the PE and Sport Premium funding is a commitment to improve the quality of PE and sports in primary schools to help children benefit from regular activity.

Teenage boys play basketball in school uniform in a sports hall

The funding supports one of the Big Issues in our Uniting the Movement strategy – creating positive experiences of sport and physical activity for children and young people – and builds on the £19m we’ve invested in the School Games previously and £13.5m we’ve put into our Secondary Teacher Training programme.

And for Tim, today’s news is further backing for what we’re working to achieve with our ambitious strategy.

“This new funding will make a huge difference to a generation of children and young people,” he said.

“The clear focus on supporting school sport in today’s announcement reaffirms just how important this environment can be in helping children and young people develop a strong and lasting relationship with sport and physical activity.

“We know that positive experiences at a young age can help develop healthy habits that can offer lifetime benefits.

“I know it’s taken a huge amount of work to get to this stage, and this money will provide certainty to the sector over the next couple of years.

“It will be of a huge help to us as we continue to implement our long-term strategy Uniting the Movement, which has tackling inequalities and providing positive experiences for children and young people at its heart.”

Our investment into the School Games means that, across the network of 450 SGOs, 90% of schools in the country have taken part in the 2.2m opportunities to get active that have been created.

While 75% of secondary schools in the country, more than 2,600, have benefitted from the Secondary Teacher Training programme that helps teachers and schools better meet the needs of all children – especially those that haven’t previously engaged with traditional PE lessons.

“The clear focus on supporting school sport in today’s announcement reaffirms just how important this environment can be in helping children and young people develop a strong and lasting relationship with sport and physical activity."

Tim Hollingsworth

Chief executive, Sport England

We’ve also invested £1.5m of National Lottery funding into the Studio You digital library of PE lessons that’s designed to help PE teachers engage the least active girls through non-traditional online lessons.

Since its launch in September 2021, Studio You has reached more than 100,000 11-16-year-old girls, with more than 50% of secondary schools in England signed up to the Netflix-style digital platform.

In addition to the news about the SGO network and PE and Sport Premium, today’s announcement included a raft of other commitments aimed at improving access to sport and physical activity for children and young people.

The full package announced also included:

  • Equal access to sports in school – setting out that offering girls and boys the same sports, where it is wanted, is the new standard.
  • Delivering a minimum two hours of curriculum PE a week – with more support being offered through a refreshed School Sport Action Plan.
  • Expansion of the Schools Games Mark – to reward parity of provision for girls – this kitemark scheme, delivered by the Youth Sport Trust, recognises schools that create positive sporting experiences across all sports for young people, supporting them to be active for 60 minutes a day.
  • A new digital tool for PE and Sport Premium – to support schools in using the funding to the best advantage of their pupils. 
  • Up to £57m funding for the open sports facilities programme – to open up more school sport facilities outside of school hours especially targeted at girls, disadvantaged pupils and pupils with special educational needs.

This push for equal access to sports in schools on the basis of gender, again follows on from our existing work to tackle inequalities in activity levels.

We know that children from less affluent families are less likely to be active than those from more affluent families (42% compared to 52%), while 37% of girls only do sport and physical activity in school and that teenage girls, less affluent children, those from Black and Asian backgrounds rely more than others on ‘at school’ provision for their activity opportunities.

This evidence from our Active Lives Children and Young People report (December 2022) shows why today’s commitments are important, and why building on the women’s sporting successes of 2022 – such as the Lionesses’ Euros victory – can only be a good thing.

In August last year the FA’s Squad Girls programme, in which we invested £2m of National Lottery Funding, was launched with the aim of getting more 12-14-year-old girls into football in a fun, non-competitive setting.

Our Active Lives survey also showed that in the academic year leading up to the 2022 Women’s Euros, 100,000 more girls were playing football when compared to pre-pandemic levels, so with projects such as these in place, Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer is confident further progress can be made in improving activity levels of all children, but specifically girls and other disadvantaged young people.

"I will do all I can to help address inequality in sport and today's announcement is a huge boost that will help give girls greater opportunities in schools across England,” she said.

“The Lionesses have undoubtedly inspired the next generation and it is vital that we make sure we have the structures in place at schools and the grassroots to capitalise on that and drive up participation for all the positive life benefits it brings. 

“Having made £1 billion available to ensure the survival of the sport and leisure sector during the pandemic, we are now setting a new standard for ensuring children and young people have the opportunity to enjoy healthy and active lives both inside and outside of school.”

Further reaction

  • Prime Minister - Rishi Sunak

    “Last year the Lionesses’ victory changed the game. Young girls know when they take to the pitch that football is for them and, thanks to the Lionesses, they too could be a part of the next generation to bring it home for their country.  

    “We want schools to build on this legacy and give every girl the opportunity to do the same sports as boys, as well as provide a minimum of two hours of PE. This means every child can benefit from regular exercise and we are proud to provide them with the support needed to do so.” 

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  • Educaton Secretary - Gillian Keegan

    “As someone who grew up in Liverpool, a city dominated by its love for football, I know first-hand the power of sport in bringing people together – whether on or off the pitch.

    “Every child – girl or boy - should have access to high quality sport and activities. Not only are these opportunities great for both physical and mental health - but also for all those other skills young people will need throughout their life like teamwork and communication.

    “Today, on International Women's Day, we are breaking down the barriers some children face to access sport and building on the Lionesses' legacy to ensure girls have the same access to all their favourite sports as boys."

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  • England women's football captain - Leah Williamson

    “The success of the summer has inspired so many young girls to pursue their passion for football.

    “We see it as our responsibility to open the doors for them to do so and this announcement makes that possible.

    “This is the legacy that we want to live much longer than us as a team. On behalf of all the Lionesses players, we'd like to thank our teammate Lotte Wubben-Moy as a driving force behind this transformational change.

    “We couldn’t be prouder to stand alongside her and we all look forward to seeing the impact this legacy creates.”

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  • FA chief executive - Mark Bullingham

    “The magic of last summer’s Euros victory can now live on with a legacy that has the ability to change the future of women’s football and positively impact society.

    “Equal access for girls is one of The FA’s strategic ambitions and for such progress to be made is a very proud day. We’re all extremely grateful to the players for using their voice to deliver change and would like to place on record our thanks to Government for the positive measures announced today.”

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