How to spend the PE and Sport Premium

Written by: Kate Thornton-Bousfield | Published:
Image: Adobe Stock

The DfE has confirmed the PE and Sport Premium funding for two more years and new guidance is imminent. Kate Thornton-Bousfield from the Youth Sport Trust advises how to spend the funds strategically

In March, the government announcement that the renewed PE and Sport Premium is to be funded with more than £600m to be split over the next two academic years (Headteacher Update, 2023).

It was also announced that £22m would go to support a national network of School Games Organisers and £57m would be invested to allow schools to open their sports facilities outside of school hours.

The current guidance was last updated in November (DfE, 2022) but schools can expect to receive updated guidance later this term. There is also to be a new digital tool for schools to report on their spending of the premium.

Ministers have also set out plans to ensure schools offer equal access to sports for boys and girls and for a minimum two hours of curriculum PE a week. More details on this will come with a forthcoming refresh of the 2019 School sport and activity action plan.

As a charity we are committed to ensuring all young people are active for 60 minutes a day in line with the Chief Medical Officers’ guidance.

Currently, only 47% of children meet this recommendation (Sport England, 2022). We are hopeful this investment will create a real step-change and support more young people than ever to be active.

For many teachers and schools, the prospect of where to spend the PE and Sport Premium is a daunting task, especially with ever-tightening budgets and rising costs.

In recent months through our network of member schools we have been hearing lots of concerns and questions about how to implement the new requirements and ahead of the updated guidance.

While more will be revealed when the School sport and activity action plan is updated, as a national children’s charity with the interests of young people at our core, we want to support schools to ensure this funding is used to create a legacy. It gives us a fantastic opportunity to transform primary school PE and sport.

We now know that the funding will continue into the 2025 academic year. Schools are free to choose how to spend the investment but must use it to make additional and sustainable improvements to the quality of PE and sport they offer.

Spending your PE and Sport Premium

So, with the updated DfE guidance still to be published, what should schools be using the funding for? Well, improvements and clear objectives remain the same and should align with the five key indicators that are listed in the current guidance (DfE, 2022):

  1. Increased confidence, knowledge, and skills of all staff in teaching PE and sport.
  2. Engagement of all pupils in regular physical activity.
  3. The profile of PE and sport is raised across the school as a tool for whole-school improvement.
  4. Broader experience of a range of sports and physical activities offered to all pupils.
  5. Increased participation in competitive sport.

For each key indicator, the Youth Sport Trust has developed a free toolkit which offers schools support, guidance and tools to help you use the funding sustainably and to ensure impact (see further information).

Although the forthcoming Department for Education (DfE) guidance is not expected to change around what the funding can be used for, it is important to look at your planned premium spend in the context of the DfE’s ambition for two hours of taught PE each week and equal access to activities for girls and boys.

This clear focus could help schools to identify where they need to allocate funds against the key indicators, so they are in a position as a school to be able to deliver this ambition.

It is useful to view the five key indicators in terms of building strong foundations and developing from there. This is especially important as workforce and whole-school buy-in will drive wider impact and ensure sustainable legacy. You can link to some of the new ambitions announced by the government in planning how to spend your funding and also when reporting – e.g. the two hours of PE a week.

Staff need to be confident and competent to be motivated and equipped to deliver the two hours goal and we want to ensure the two hours are high-quality, creating positive experiences for pupils.

Beyond PE, ensuring that teachers delivering extra-curricular activities know how to meet the needs of all pupils and can meet the equal access agenda will be crucial.

Schools should use the PE and Sport Premium to:

  • Develop or add to the PE and sport activities that their school already offers.
  • Build capacity and capability within their school to ensure that improvements made now will benefit pupils joining the school in future years.

However, schools should ensure that they do not use the PE and Sport Premium to:

  • Employ coaches or specialist teachers to cover planning preparation and assessment (PPA) arrangements – this should come out of schools’ core staffing budgets.
  • Fund capital expenditure.
  • Teach the minimum requirements of the national curriculum PE programmes of study, including those specified for swimming.

What support is on offer?

There will need to be a period of transition following this announcement and the upcoming publication of the updated School sport and activity action plan, so our advice for schools right now is to maintain your current practice before planning for a period of change in the next academic year.

To support schools in planning for sustainable impact and to report against the government’s five published key indicators, the Youth Sport Trust was commissioned by the DfE to develop a template alongside the Association for Physical Education.

This template is in the process of being updated and will be published this summer, but you can download the current template through our Primary PE and Sport Premium guidance page (see further information) for the current academic year to help plan, monitor and report on the impact of spending.

We held a free webinar on May 17 which looked at making the most of the funding and this is available to watch on catch-up. We have also published answers to frequently asked questions by schools about the funding (see further information).

Key questions to ask children in your school

As a way to test if what you are doing is having a real impact on your pupils, a “yes” to the following questions from every primary-age child would mean that your school has invested wisely and in the best interests of children.

  1. Are your teachers good at teaching you PE and sport in school? Why do you think that?
  2. Do the adults in school help you keep active for at least 30 minutes every day when in school?
  3. Do you find what you do in PE and sport helps you in any other subjects? How?
  4. Do you take part in competitive sport more than you did before?
  5. Do the adults in school provide a wider range of ways for you to be physically active including opportunities to try different sports?

Headteacher Update Summer Term Edition 2023

This article first appeared in Headteacher Update's Summer Term Edition 2023. This edition was sent free of charge to every primary school in the country. A digital edition is also available via

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