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Professional Support for PE & Outdoor Learning

Bespoke development, support and guidance on all aspects of Physical Education and Outdoor Learning for schools, teachers and teachers in training


Myths and Facts about the PE & Sport Premium


Myth: Primary headteachers face tight restrictions over how they use the primary PE and sport premium.

Fact: The primary PE and sport premium must be used to improve the school’s provision of PE and sport, but we trust headteachers to use it in a way that will have the greatest impact in their school.

This may include: hiring specialist teachers, PE teachers or qualified sports coaches to work alongside existing staff, paying for high quality training or professional development, or supporting their least active pupils. Schools are also free to join together and pool their resources to get the most for their money.


Schools are, however held to account for how their funding is used through Ofsted whole-school inspection. They are also required to report online about how the funding isspent and the impact it has had on pupils’ PE and sport participation and attainment, which allows parents to make comparisons with other local schools.

Myth: Local authorities can withdraw pupil premium funding if

schools fail to record how they spend it.

Fact: Maintained schools receive pupil premium funding for these pupils via their local authority. Academies and free schools receive direct payments from the department. Local authorities are not permitted to withhold any of this funding centrally, or to dictate to schools how they should spend it. This also means that local authorities do not have any power to claw back funding from schools that are unable to evidence how they have used this funding.

Myth: Primary schools can use the PE and sport premium to pay for swimming lessons to meet the national curriculum requirement to teach pupils to swim 25 metres by the time they complete key stage 2.

Fact: Swimming and water safety requirements are compulsory for primary schools. Funding is already included in a school’s budget for this. The primary PE and sport premium can be used to pay for additional swimming lessons or specialist coaching sessions, but it should not be used to meet a school’s obligations under the national curriculum.

According to Government sources, there are some common misconceptions about the activities schools are required to undertake with respect to the PE & Sport Premium funding

Almost half of primary school children are unable to swim 25 metres unaided, according to research that says more than 1,000 primaries are not providing swimming lessons despite it being on the national curriculum.

Other schools are not ensuring pupils spend enough time in the pool to learn how to swim properly, according to the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA). It warns that more needs to be done to ensure that youngsters learn the skill and are able to stay safe in and around water.

The association’s annual census, based on a survey of primary schools, found that 45% of seven- to 11-year-olds are unable to swim 25 metres – the length of an average-sized pool – unaided. This is a slight improvement on last year, when 51% of children in this age group could not swim 25 metres.

Pupils should leave primary school able to swim 25 metres unaided and be knowledgeable and safe around water, the report says. To do this, each child needs to spend about 25 hours learning to swim, the ASA recommends.

The latest findings show that nearly 1,300 (6.6%) of primaries do not teaching swimming to seven- to 11-year-olds. And while pupils have 18 swimming lessons on average, compared with 16 last year, they spend just under 10 hours in the water, the ASA said. The average swimming lesson lasts just 33 minutes.

The survey also found that 40% of parents were unaware of their child’s progress in water safety and swimming. “Some 200,000 additional school children would leave primary school able to swim 25 metres unaided if schools took swimming seriously,” the report says.

The association is calling for primary schools to sign up to its school swimming charter, which it says will help them provide suitable programmes for pupils.

ASA’s acting chief executive, Ashley Beaveridge, said: “Swimming isn’t just a leisure activity or a way for young people to keep healthy, it’s a life-saving skill that every child has the right to learn. As such, it is concerning that despite school swimming being a national curriculum requirement, nearly 1,300 primary schools still do not offer swimming lessons.

“Our research shows that school swimming is often the only opportunity many children have to learn to swim, so it is vital that we look at the barriers preventing primary schools from allocating the required time.”

Nearly 1,300 primaries do not offer swimming lessons despite it being on the national curriculum, survey shows

Half of primary school children unable to swim length of a pool