Premier League to increase primary school training fund

EXCLUSIVE: Premier League will invest £10m-plus into primary schools

The Premier League will mark the arrival of the new season by this morning announcing a £10m-plus investment into primary school sport.

READ MORE: Private clubs should not be expected to plug the gaps in basic state provision  

The League’s top brass will be at the Capital City Academy in Willesden, north London, with representatives of Manchester City, Everton, Hull City and Leicester City, to trumpet the development.

A pilot scheme, which is not restricted to football, involved 25 clubs funded by the Premier League last season. It reached more than 100,000 pupils in 1,279 schools, and that will be extended to 67 clubs for the next two years with a total investment of £10.5m .

The initiative, which has the Government’s blessing if not its money, is independent of the Football Association’s FA Skills programme (now financed by the FA and Sport England after sponsor Tesco pulled out last month), which also goes into schools.

Each club can choose how to operate the scheme but all are encouraged to train teaching staff while coaching their pupils. Primary school teachers usually receive very limited sport training while qualifying and their “confidence and competence” to deliver PE has been questioned. In the pilot year 285 teachers were trained to take PE.

Among those attending today will be Manuel Pellegrini and Vincent Kompany, manager and captain respectively of champions Manchester City.

One of the schools in City’s programme is Ashbury Meadows Primary, whose head teacher, Lucy Thomas, said: “All pupils and their teachers have learnt key skills and pupils have become more competent in playing a sport, while the teachers feel more confident and able to teach the necessary skills.”

The Government, having controversially scrapped the £162m funding for the School Sport Partnerships (SSPs) in 2010, brought in the £150m School Sport Premium last year. A further £18m is available to improve facilities from National Lottery funding. However, with 20,000 state-funded schools in England alone this is thinly spread.

Sports bodies are increasingly underwriting school sport. The England and Wales Cricket Board funds Chance to Shine, which teaches cricket and its values in state schools, with £1.25m a year from 2014-18 – a sum that is matched by the National Lottery – while the Rugby Football Union has put £2m into its All Schools scheme aimed at promoting rugby in secondary schools.

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