The Chair's Opinion

Richard HuntRichard Hunt, Chair of cCLOA welcomes the green shoots for sporting legacy with a long awaited £150 million school sport investment, but cautions that multiple offers from a range of deliver partners could cause fragmentation.  He calls for leaders to get involved and help ensure that future commissioning for sport and P.E. really meet the local needs.

It’s been a long awaited announcement to say the least, and a delay that once again has demonstrated how difficult it is to shift departmental silo thinking even when the need is clearly evidenced.

However, looking forward we do now have a  policy direction and funding with a focus on creating a sporting and active lifestyle habit in primary school years and this has to be welcomed.

So in a nutshell:

  • Up to £9k on average lands in a busy primary head teacher’s account for the commissioning of PE or coaching expertise.
  • NGBs will increase their specialist coaching offer to schools in this area.
  • CSPs will have a lottery funded role too – linking up local schools, coaches and clubs.
  • More primary school teachers trained to develop a PE specialism

The detail and success of implementing this approach will be an area for closer examination, and I have a couple of concerns, largely based on the importance of really making the most of this important resource.

There is a danger of fragmentation with offers coming from multiple deliver partners such as individual sports, professional clubs, amateur clubs, private coaching companies, residual elements of the school sports partnerships and the Youth Sports Trust.

So at a local level we need to support Headteachers to find the best way to make this work with local sports and physical activity leaders.  This is likely to involve a broader conversation between Heads, and in some areas it will be advantageous to cluster this funding.

It’s an important part of joining up a local system and strategy for sport and physical activity. We need to ensure we maximise the investment alongside any local partnership arrangement with NGBs, local clubs or voluntary and commercial sector. The role of the CSP therefore becomes much more important in making these local connections effective for the transition to sustain school and community sport links.

The ring fencing of funding direct to Head teacher’s budgets in principle reduces the levels of bureaucracy and processes that eat up resource in the system. However, with all the other challenges of running a school and managing performance, there will be a need for some informed advice around commissioning that really meets the local needs for PE and sport, rather than potentially those of the closest local provider.

More will unravel with the detail of course, but for now this is a welcome investment and another opportunity to join the dots on a sporting legacy. It’s of course a developing agenda and I would encourage all of us as local leaders to have an influential local voice in shaping.

Richard Hunt, Chair of cCLOA
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