By Alan Jervis - @Alan_Jervis
The government’s £150 million investment in primary school sport is
certainly a welcome addition. It will embed a real impetus for sport on
the back of the success of last summer’s Olympic Games. Primary schools
must carefully think through an effective strategy for investing this
money which will continue to reap benefits once its funding has run out.
Appointing extra staff for a fixed two year period, as suggested, might
not be the best way forward. Instead, organising clusters of primary
schools offering a shared resource may be an effective solution and can
encourage healthy cross-school initiatives.
Equally welcome is the announcement to introduce an initial teacher training pilot to provide PE specialised primary trainees. The pilot will be kick-started with 120 trainees starting this September, and I am in full agreement with Lord Coe who believes this plan of attack is a positive development.
Unfortunately, the investment will not meet the shortfall in PE specialists in primary schools, placing extra emphasis on the quality of staff training. A lack of investment directly into the PE department is a worrying conundrum and one I believe needs addressing for long-term benefits in this area. My biggest fear is that a primary school may appoint a cricket coach, for example, for two years, make a significant difference, but then lose all short term gains when funding ceases and the post evaporates. This is perhaps where continued PE funding, rather than investment in school sport, would provide a more sustainable and successful PE department in the long run. Until then, it is vital that primary schools come together to offer a sustained improvement in provisions and, ultimately, teacher quality.
More information of funding eligibility available here.