The Primary PE and School Sport Premium

Helen Clark, Phil Royal, Helen WEST, Dr. Victoria Randall, Dr. Alison Murray, Neil Coleman, Dr Gerald Griggs, Emma Whewell, Sheila Foster, Alex Scott Bayfield, Chris Wright, Kate Thornton-Bousefield, Josh Denington, Sarah Williams, Neil Rollins, Melina Healey, Kathryn Sexton, Julie Pearson, Giles Platt, Mike CrichtonCharlotte Davies, Greg Dryer, Jo Harris, Gary Palmer, Dan Wilson

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned Report


Central to London’s successful bid to host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic
Games, was the Government’s commitment to improve competitive sport and the sporting habits of young people (Ofsted, 2014). On the 12th March 2013, the then Prime Minister, David Cameron, announced that Primary Schools in England would receive funding worth £150 million per year to create a sustainable infrastructure for long-lasting change and improve the provision of physical education (PE) and sport across all state maintained primary schools. Speaking at the time, he said:

‘We can create a culture in our schools that encourages all children to be active and enjoy sport.’

He added:

‘The Olympic and Paralympic Games marked an incredible year for this country
and I will always be proud that we showed the world what Britain can do. I want to ensure the Games count for the future too and that means capitalising on the
inspiration young people took from what they saw during those summer months.’:

Six years on, and with a total investment now of over £1.2 billion, the Primary PE
and Sport Premium (here onwards referred to as the PESS Premium) has been a
defining feature of the London 2012 legacy. Invariably funding streams at this level do not last forever or in the same format, which raises significant questions about what impact the funding has had on young people since 2013. We believe that a significant investment from Government merits debate and accountability at the highest possible level and that it should acknowledge where the opportunities and shortcomings of such a policy have left us. During the years
of austerity, mounting concerns have arisen over the present and long term state
of children’s health and the need for the debate to be heard is now imperative. To date there has been little critical appraisal of the PESS Premium funding. This
report aims to begin a necessary process and in doing so, brings together
evidence from across the sector to consider the future of the PESS Premium post

During the course of the report, we outline and underpin the holistic value and
importance of PE for every child. We examine the historic status and funding of PE and Sport and the nature and increasing diversity of the workforce. How has the PESS Premium funding impacted the way in which the subject is regarded and the ability of those tasked with delivering it to discharge their responsibilities? We have uncovered an abiding uncertainty about the nature of the PESS Premium itself; the ways in which it may be spent and its effect on an increasing divide between PE specialists, generalists and externally contracted coaches. Will its legacy be to have established a secure foundation for lifelong physical activity, sport and education – or is it, in effect, another temporarily seductive mirage, leaving PE precisely where it has become accustomed to be; regularly sidelined, delivered largely by those who are not qualified teachers and perpetuating the status quo for the children who already belong to groups that are perceived to be at a disadvantage? The PESS Premium funding is a significant sum and these questions deserve answers. This report is therefore our contribution to an essential debate, containing practical suggestions that we hope will be of use to policy makers.

We invite all who care about the physical and mental health and emotional
wellbeing of children to join the discussion.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherAPPG Fit and Healthy Childhoods
Commissioning bodyAPPG Fit and Healthy Childhoods
Number of pages55
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019


  • Primary education
  • Sports
  • PE
  • Children
  • Mental health
  • Wellbeing
  • Physical


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