Primary School PE to Get Extra Funding
This September, 120 specialists in physical education (PE) will be taking to primary schools across England to start work, in order to get school children properly involved with the subject, encouraging healthier lives for them in the future.
A pilot training programme that was launched last year saw trainee teachers studying sport and PE for half of their course, while the other half was taken up with the other core subjects of literacy (English), numeracy (maths) and science. The aim is that when these trainees are qualified, they can take up teaching positions in primary schools, and be able to teach a wide range of subjects with a special focus on physical education.
The Department for Education (DfE) has said that primary school children will benefit so much from being taught by PE specialists, it has been decided that extra funding of around £360,000 should be made available to introduce another 120 PE specialists the next academic year, as well.
Edward Timpson, who is the DfE minister responsible for children and families, explained that teaching PE properly in primary schools requires someone with specialist and tailored training.
“PE specialists are vital to embedding sporting expertise in schools,” he added, “as well as giving children every chance of developing a sporting habit for life.”
Mr Timpson said that the specialist primary school PE teachers will also be able to support other teachers in developing their own skills and improving the quality of their PE teaching.
According to the DfE, about 75% of the trainees currently involved in the pilot training scheme have a sports-related degree already, with many of them graduating with a 2:1 or higher.
John Steel is the chief executive of Youth Sport Trust, which is an independent charity devoted to using sport to help change young people’s lives for the better. He said that PE in primary schools is crucial for children to have positive first experiences of sport, but teachers tend to have limited PE training, “[so] introducing teachers with a specialism in the subject is a positive step forward and should be welcomed”.
“The pilot has already attracted high-calibre graduates who want to share their love of sport,” said Mr Timpson. “We must harness this and ensure more schools across the country can benefit from their expertise.”