Covid-19 and school funding

Six tips for spending the Primary PE and Sport Premium

Tom Hall

12 Oct 2020

school children running

Being physically active was one of the four reasons that people were allowed to leave their homes during the Covid-19 lockdown. As schools reopen and children return to learning, it’s now more important than ever to build on good  behaviours to be active throughout the day and to make sure that the PE, sport and physical activity premium is spent in a way that will have a significant impact. 


Here are six ways your school could spend this year’s PE and sport premium grant effectively.


1. Sustainability

It may be difficult to bring in external providers to support PE lessons and sports clubs currently so it is of important that existing staff are trained and feel confident in delivering high quality PE and physical activity opportunities.


TOP TIPS : Look for CPD opportunities linked to Physical Education delivery, whole school physically active learning strategies or outdoor learning initiatives. Try to invest in CPD that aims to address staff motivations and relationships with physical activity rather than simply upskilling staff in traditional sports.


2. Whole School Improvement


Physical activity has an impact on children's concentration, memory and behaviour in general.The PE, sport and physical activity premium grant in delivering physical activity can be a driver for whole school improvement.


TOP TIPS : Look at your whole school improvement plan; identify any areas where sporting activities  or physical activity can positively impact on targeted pupils or outcomes such as reading, writing, behaviour or attendance. This can be achieved by using successful physically active learning approaches such as Active Maths, Active Phonics or Cross Curricular Orienteering.

3. Outdoor Learning


Wellbeing and mental health is a significant issue in primary schools and research shows how exposure to the natural environment can have a positive effect. To add to this, current Department for Education reopening guidance encourages schools to take pupils outside of the classroom as much as possible both within PE and wider lessons. 

This is a great opportunity to look at any improvements that can be made to your school’s physical environment that could better support outdoor learning and the promotion of physical activity. Please note however that PE, sport and physical activity premium funding is not allowed to be used for capital expenditure.


TOP TIPS: Audit your physical environment and try to create or improve a playground so  that it is stimulating and encourages children to move frequently. While capital spend is not permitted, schools could introduce ‘all weather’ equipment that children can interact with in different ways to help build their physical literacy. Invest in CPD that builds confidence in your staff to deliver cross curricular outdoor lessons or Forest School activities. 


4. Active Travel

With more people working from home since lockdown there is an opportunity to leave cars at home and walk, scoot or cycle to school instead. We have also seen an increase in families walking together within their local communities. This is a great opportunity for schools to build on this trend by promoting active travel amongst pupils and their families.


TOP TIPS: Use your PE, sport and physical activity premium to invest in cycle training for pupils across the school and think about ways to involve the community to facilitate better access to active travel. Make active travel an easy option for families by ensuring the school grounds are accessible by bikes and scooters. Look to research and invest in schemes that reward children for travelling to school in an active way.


5. Ensuring high quality PE provision

This should always be a priority when schools are planning their PE, sport and physical activity premium spend. However, because many external coaches or sport specific specialists are unable to visit schools and work across bubbles, more class teachers are delivering PE than in previous years. Now is a perfect time to ensure the staff at your school have the confidence and skills to deliver high quality physical education to achieve a sustainable workforce.


TOP TIPS: Use the grant to invest in staff capacity to audit PE provision and staff competency through observation and interviews. Look for CPD opportunities for staff to be upskilled in PE delivery either through the Level 5/6 qualifications or a quality assured PE provider. As outdoor PE is now the ‘new normal’, this would also be a perfect opportunity for your staff to be upskilled in Outdoor Adventurous Activities (OAA).


6. Innovation


Lockdown saw many PE practitioners from around the country, plan and deliver online PE activities for their children to take part in at home to continue their skill development and remain active. Use this as an opportunity to be innovative rather than a reason to restrict Physical Education, School Sport and Physical Activity (PESSPA) provision.


TOP TIPS: Use your grant to expose children to activities that historically have not been part of your PE curriculum, however would still develop their fundamental movement skills. Some activities may also be more ‘COVID safe’ and naturally promote social distancing such as Yoga for example. Build on the PE at Home momentum by creating an online platform or page on the school website that provide PESSPA ideas for parents and children to enjoy together outside of school. 


Support for your school

Active Gloucestershire, the organisation coordinating of we can move, works in partnership with Gloucestershire Healthy Living and Learning (GHLL) and local school sport and physical activity networks to support your school to use PE, sport and physical activity premium. The role of Active Gloucestershire as an Active Partnership is to provide advice on how best to use your PE, sport and physical activity premium. Your school can access this support through Active Gloucestershire partnerships - in  particular - Gloucestershire Healthy Living and Learning (GHLL).


GHLL is the umbrella organisation for Gloucestershire Healthy Schools and Gloucestershire Healthy FE (Further Education). It is funded by Public Health and Gloucestershire County Council to provide free support to your school.


Find out more about how we work in partnership to support your school.


Does your school receive our newsletter?

Get in touch to sign up and receive the latest on funding and other opportunities for your school.


You may also be interested in:

Support for your school

Using your PE, sport and physical activity premium

Helping to get your school back on the move

The Daily Mile

Schools Games


Share this article

Tom Hall
12 Oct 2020

Children and Young People Phsycial Activity Specialist at Active Gloucestershire