Leeds Rhinos Foundation welcome £320 million funding for PE & Sport Premium for schools

Leeds Rhinos Foundation has welcomed the news announced last week by the Education Secretary that schools in England will benefit from £320 million from the PE and Sport Premium during the academic year 2020-21.

The PE and Sport Premium is designed to help children get an active start in life, supporting primary schools to improve the quality of their PE and sport provision so that pupils experience the benefits of regular exercise – from becoming healthier both mentally and physically to improved behaviour and better academic achievement.

This announcement is significant for Leeds Rhinos Foundation, who this school year worked with 120 primary schools across Leeds to provide high quality PE provision, Rugby League development and Dance. The charity’s highly qualified staff have formed close relationships in these schools; offering a varied menu of activity that allows children to experience different sports and learn new skills, which enhances and develops PE in schools.

Head of Community and Engagement at Leeds Rhinos Foundation Gareth Cook, said: “The PE sports premium announcement is welcomed by Leeds Rhinos Foundation as we get ready for another successful year working with schools across the city. Delivery and competitions may look slightly different initially, but we are working with key partners to offer the best possible service to support young people.

“Lockdown has resulted in some significant obstacles and the power of sport can help overcome both physical and metal strain as we try to maintain some element of normality. Sport can and does help breakdown social barriers and teach children about teamwork, respect and resiliency.

“Over the course of lockdown Leeds Rhinos Foundation has provided 30 online challenges for KS1 and 2 pupils as well as utilising staff to work in the community supporting schools delivering meals to those that require it most.”

The Department for Education has also confirmed that any PE and Sport Premium funding from the current academic year (2019-20) that schools were unable to use as a result of the coronavirus pandemic can be brought forward to use in the next academic year, giving school leaders an opportunity to develop or add to their existing provision, or to make improvements that will benefit pupils joining the school in future years.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, said: “During these challenging times, it has become clearer to me than ever the importance of keeping active and how it benefits not just our physical health but also our ability to pay attention, our mood and our mental health too.

“Every family will have had a different experience of the pandemic, and I know that many children will have missed time spent outdoors with their friends – that’s why it’s so important that ahead of a full return to school in September, schools get the certainty they need to prepare their PE and sports activities for next year.”

The PE and Sport Premium is a ring-fenced grant for English primary schools to provide additional and sustainable improvements to the quality of PE, sport and physical activity. Allocations to schools are determined by a formula based on pupil numbers. The average one form entry primary school will receive roughly £18,000 per year.”

Youth Sport Trust Chief Executive Ali Oliver said: “As young people return to school, their wellbeing will be one of the biggest priorities in education. Sport and Physical Education have an essential role to play in children’s recovery, particularly following a period of lockdown which has seen too many either become less active or completely inactive.

“We are delighted that the primary PE and Sport Premium for 2020/21 has been confirmed at this critical time. Many primary schools will be using this funding to improve provision of PE and sport and to develop teachers’ confidence to deliver it, positioning PE and sport at the core of schools’ work to improve pupils’ health, wellbeing and ability to learn.”

The funding will help Leeds Rhinos Foundation staff working within schools to continue supporting teachers with their continuing professional development as well as providing competition frameworks, enrichment opportunities, a taste of different activities and contributing to whole school improvement.

With over 50 schools already sign up to work with Leeds Rhinos Foundation next year, Cook said he is excited about the opportunities to expanded the charity’s work further to support more young people in the city.

“We are looking forward to launching our new North East Leeds Sports Alliance, which will be a new and different approach to the strategic delivery of PE, School Sport and Physical Activity in Leeds North East. This will be led by schools themselves and supported by trusted partners that will better deliver key outcomes for children and young people.”

For more information about this model, please email bennettc01@carrmanor.org.uk

For more information on how Leeds Rhinos Foundation can support your school email Gareth.cook@leedsrhinosfoundation.org