5 Sustainable Ways to Invest Your School Sport Premium

The government’s commitment to fund the School PE and Sport Premium only lasts until 2020 and unless this is extended, schools have only two more years to benefit from the additional income this generates. With this in mind, it’s more important than ever to spend the funding in a way that has long-term benefits. In this post, we’ll look at five ways you can invest your School Sport Premium for the future.  

What is the School Sport Premium?

The School PE and Sport Premium is an initiative which delivers ring-fenced funding to English primary schools to help them improve PE and sport provision. Schools with over 17 pupils receive an £8,000 lump sum plus an additional £5 per pupil, while those with fewer than 17 get £500 per pupil.

This is a generous figure for cash-strapped schools and, used wisely, can make a huge difference. There are, however, conditions which need to be met: the money has to be spent on additional and sustainable improvements to PE and sports provision, it has to benefit all pupils and encourage them to lead more active and healthy lifestyles.

Investing for sustained improvement

Using the funding in a way which meets the conditions for which it is given can be a challenge. To achieve ‘sustained improvement’ means spending it on something that will have an impact over the long term. Perhaps the best examples of things which can achieve this are training staff so they can teach additional sports or skills in the future, or by purchasing equipment that can be used for many years and which encourages more children to participate. With this in mind, here are five suggestions to consider.

An overview of Sports Premium Funding

Set to run until 2020, the Primary PE and Sports Premium is a £150 million per annum initiative designed to improve the provision of PE and sport in schools throughout England. During the initiative, any school with more than 17 pupils aged five to eleven receives £8,000 a year plus £5 per pupil. Those with fewer than 17 on roll, receive £500 per pupil.

Requirements of Sports Premium Funding

The key stipulation of the initiative is that funding must be spent on additional and sustainable improvements to the provision of PE and sport and that these must be for the benefit of all pupils to encourage them to lead healthy, active lifestyles.

In other words, the money a school receives has to add to or improve PE and sports provision and do so in a way that benefits all pupils over the long term.

To ensure that the funding is spent as instructed, schools may be asked to provide evidence to inspectors that shows the impact of the Sports Premium on PE and sports provision and how this has improved pupil health and activity levels.

How can you spend your Sports Premium Funding?

There are quite a few ways you can use the funds, here are some of the main ones:

  • purchase equipment that extends provision or encourages activity
  • introduce new sporting or physical activities to encourage wider pupil participation
  • train existing teachers to deliver new sports or improve existing skills
  • hire specialist coaches to work alongside teaching staff
  • run extracurricular clubs and activities for the least active children
  • host sporting competitions, including interschool events

1. Install a Daily Mile Track

Daily Mile Tracks - School Sports Premium

The Daily Mile Challenge is a new project that aims to tackle inactivity and obesity by getting all pupils to complete a daily, one-mile circuit at school. Unlike cross country, this is more of a social activity, where children can run, jog or walk at their own pace with their friends. Taking around 15 minutes out of the school day, it has become increasingly popular with over 3000 UK schools taking part. It has also been taken up in many other countries.

Investing your School Sport Premium in a Daily Mile track can bring sustainable improvements in provision for all pupils, including the least active. Taking part can help the pupils improve their physical and mental health and their social and emotional wellbeing. Regular exercise can also help with behaviour, concentration and even attainment.

2. Kit out your playground with outdoor sports equipment

Primary schools often have little in the way of PE resources, one of the main reasons being a lack of storage space. One way to get around this is to provide permanently erected, outdoor sports equipment in the playground.

Outdoor equipment doesn’t need storage space and it can be used for a variety of purposes: PE lessons, extracurricular sporting activities and for active play during lunch and break times. In this sense, its impact is sustained in terms of how it is used throughout the school day and over the years that it remains fit for use.

Typical examples of sports equipment include basketball and netball hoops, goals (with either nets or recesses), freestanding ball catchers and ball walls for practising football, tennis and cricket. If you are short of space, you can even install multi-sports equipment, such as our combined football - hoop units which are ideal for football, hockey, netball and basketball.

3. Get some proper sports surfacing

Primary schools often have little in the way of PE resources, one of the main reasons being a lack of storage space. One way to get around this is to provide permanently erected, outdoor sports equipment in the playground.

Outdoor equipment doesn’t need storage space and it can be used for a variety of purposes: PE lessons, extracurricular sporting activities and for active play during lunch and break times. In this sense, its impact is sustained in terms of how it is used throughout the school day and over the years that it remains fit for use.

Typical examples of sports equipment include basketball and netball hoops, goals (with either nets or recesses), freestanding ball catchers and ball walls for practising football, tennis and cricket. If you are short of space, you can even install multi-sports equipment, such as our combined football - hoop units which are ideal for football, hockey, netball and basketball.

4. Mark out your existing playground for more sports

Playground markings offer a practical and affordable way to extend the number of sports and activities you provide. There is a wide range of sports playground markings available, including football, futsal (5-a-side football), tennis, netball, rounders, cricket and basketball.

These markings can be installed on most hard surfaces, provided they are in reasonable condition, enabling your school playground to double up as an outdoor sports facility while providing pupils with new pitches to play on during their free time.

For schools with small playgrounds, an ideal solution is to install multicourt markings. A multicourt is a single space over which there are markings for futsal, netball and basketball.

5. Install a multi-skill zone

A multi-skills zone meets all the criteria that the School Sports Premium stipulates. With long lasting markings and all year availability, they can be used during lessons, for extra-curricular activities or for playground games.

Their versatility enables more pupils to benefit from them, giving increased opportunity to develop key physical skills such as agility, balance, coordination, stability and physical awareness and sporting skills such as footwork, jumping, throwing and ball skills.

There is a diverse selection of multi-skills markings to choose from, enabling schools to create zones tailored for their specific needs. These include the ‘Famous Five’ multi-skills markings (ideal for working with groups on a range of different skills), a multi-skills circle, agility ladder and trainer trail. There are many more to choose from.

Conclusion

The School Sports Premium is an opportunity to invest in the long-term provision of sports and PE in your school. The ideas we have provided here enable schools to deliver new and additional provision that we think will offer sustainable improvements in your school and which can benefit all pupils, including the least active.

For more information, take a look at our School Sport Premium page or call us on 01282 43 44 45.

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Outdoor Multi-Skills Zones – The Ideal Sports Premium Investment

If you are looking for an ideal way to use this year’s Sports Premium Funding, then a multi-skills zone may be the answer. These highly versatile zones enable primary schools to make sustainable improvements to their PE and sports provision: developing skills, increasing activity levels and enabling greater participation in a multitude of activities.

An overview of Sports Premium Funding

Set to run until 2020, the Primary PE and Sports Premium is a £150 million per annum initiative designed to improve the provision of PE and sport in schools throughout England. During the initiative, any school with more than 17 pupils aged five to eleven receives £8,000 a year plus £5 per pupil. Those with fewer than 17 on roll, receive £500 per pupil.

Requirements of Sports Premium Funding

The key stipulation of the initiative is that funding must be spent on additional and sustainable improvements to the provision of PE and sport and that these must be for the benefit of all pupils to encourage them to lead healthy, active lifestyles.

In other words, the money a school receives has to add to or improve PE and sports provision and do so in a way that benefits all pupils over the long term.

To ensure that the funding is spent as instructed, schools may be asked to provide evidence to inspectors that shows the impact of the Sports Premium on PE and sports provision and how this has improved pupil health and activity levels.

How can you spend your Sports Premium Funding?

There are quite a few ways you can use the funds, here are some of the main ones:

  • purchase equipment that extends provision or encourages activity
  • introduce new sporting or physical activities to encourage wider pupil participation
  • train existing teachers to deliver new sports or improve existing skills
  • hire specialist coaches to work alongside teaching staff
  • run extracurricular clubs and activities for the least active children
  • host sporting competitions, including interschool events

Why install multi-skill zones with Sports Premium funding?

A multi-skills zone provides the ideal solution for how to invest your Sports Premium Funding because it meets all the criteria that the fund stipulates.

With regard to sustainability, the playground markings used to create a multi-skills zone are very long lasting, ensuring that your investment is there for years to come. What’s more, they are always available to use, no matter what time of year.

Here at ESP play, we also provide multi-skills zone training for staff and pupils and, once this is delivered, not only does everyone have the equipment, they also have the necessary know-how to use them effectively well into the future – increasing their sustainability even more.

Besides sustainability, playground multi-skills zones are also incredibly versatile. They can be used during curriculum time and for extra-curricular activities: breakfast clubs, fitness clubs and even for playing games during lunch and break times.

This versatility ensures that more pupils can take advantage of them, helping everyone to increase activity levels and develop skills. Indeed, multi-skills zones are designed to encompass all the skills areas that primary schools need to cover and which children need to learn as they get older: agility, balance, coordination, stability, stamina and physical awareness. They are also great for developing footwork (including combination routines), jumping and ball skills such as kicking, passing, bouncing, throwing and target hitting.

Whether they are being used to train pupils for specific sports or being played on for fun, multi-skills zones help develop fundamental movement skills, while increasing physical activity levels and the participation of the least active children.

Equipment you can use

With an extraordinary range of playground markings to choose from, it is possible for schools to create their own, bespoke multi-skills zones tailored for their specific needs. There are age appropriate designs, markings for specific skill development and those which can be used for a variety of purposes, including playing games and having fun at lunch and break times. All of them are designed to encourage children of different ages and interests to get active.

While our ‘Famous Five’ multi-skills markings are very popular with primary PE teachers, enabling them to work with groups of children on a range of different skills within one area, there are plenty of others to choose from. Other popular markings include our multi-skills circle, agility ladder and trainer trail. Besides these, there are hurdle markings, a ball catcher trainer, football skills zone, fast feet trainers and many more.

Conclusion

While receiving the Sports Premium Funding is a welcome bonus for any primary school, finding equipment that enables you to provide sustainable improvement to PE provision can be a challenge. Creating an outdoor multi-skills zone using playground markings is one way to tick all the boxes, especially when you opt for our nationally accredited ESP Level 1 Multi-Skills Training. With equipment and training combined, you’ll be able to show improvement well into the future.

For more information, take a look at our range of multi-skills products or call us on 01282 43 44 45.

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How to Turn Your Playground into a Primary Science Lab

Teaching science in primary schools can be a difficult task. Unlike in secondaries, which have fully equipped labs and specialist science technicians, primary teachers have to deliver the curriculum in the same room that they teach all their other lessons and with very limited equipment on hand. Many schools, however, are finding that their playground is the ideal place to teach many aspects of the primary science curriculum and in this post, we’ll show you why.

Space to experiment

Science is one of those subjects that requires pupils to get up and move around. Children need to get involved in carrying out experiments; observing, measuring and recording things that happen. It’s hard to do that in a classroom where tables are laid out for more book and pen style learning and where space to move is limited. At the same time, science can be messy. Secondary science labs are designed for easy tidying up and quick cleaning, multi-purpose primary classrooms aren’t. They are often carpeted, which doesn’t bode well when kids are chucking soil or water around and they lack the storage space to make getting and returning equipment easy.

In the playground, however, there is much more space to carry out experiments and messy floors are not an issue. As for equipment, you can install it in the playground for the children’s use, so it is always accessible.

Setting up a science garden

The study of plants and animals is a key focus of Key Stage 1 and 2 science and requires children to be able to identify, name and describe the structure of common plants, trees and animals; explore habitats and learn about food chains; and look at how plants grow and develop.

All these things can be done in the playground by creating a small but well-equipped science garden. Planters and trellises can be used to grow a variety of different plants for the children to study and equipment such as a discovery planter will let children see roots grow under the soil and enable them to measure plant growth. For those experiments where everyone in the class gets the chance to plant their own seed and watch it grow, a growing tree is the ideal solution as it will house everyone’s plants. You can even use a growing board to compare the growth of different species.

When it comes to learning about animals in their own environment, there’s nothing better than installing a bug house. These provide the ideal living habitats for small insects and enable children to observe them at close quarters all year round. You can go even further by adding a bird table or a ladybird tower.

When teaching children how to identify different plant and animal species, why not consider our special nature boards? With colourful illustrations and clearly printed names, our range helps identify trees, creepy crawlies, seeds and other collectables and things that fly.

Studying the weather

The National Curriculum requires pupils to observe and describe the change of weather over the seasons and to make tables and charts about what they find. One of the best ways to make this possible is to install a weather station in the playground. This handy piece of equipment allows children to measure rainfall, temperature, air pressure and humidity, whilst recording sunshine, precipitation and wind. Readings can be placed on an outdoor plot board which children can use to record their readings on charts.

Playground sound lab

Primary pupils are expected to learn quite a lot about sound, including identifying how sounds are made; recognising that vibrations from sounds travel through a medium to the ear and get fainter over longer distances; finding patterns between the pitch of a sound and features of the object that produced it; and finding patterns between the volume and the strength of vibrations.

In the non-statutory guidance, it is recommended that these things are learnt through exploring different musical instruments. One way to enable this to happen is to create a playground sound lab by installing a range of specially designed outdoor musical instruments, such as chimes, drainpipe drums, xylophones and rain wheels. Instruments like these are easy to play and great fun, which is ideal for delivering enjoyable, though somewhat noisy, science lessons.

Other outdoor science resources

When it comes to outdoor music, drama and dance, there are times when the performers will want an audience. This could be for performing in front of friends at break, for peers during lessons or for parents in a formal production.

At ESP Play, we have the ideal selection of outdoor seating, such as log-built, tiered amphitheatres, log seats and storytelling chairs. We also have a wide range of shelters, including large octagonal shelters with seating and decked floors which are ideal for bandstands and performing theatre in the round.

Conclusion

Outdoor science equipment enables teachers to deliver the primary science curriculum in a fun and engaging way that will genuinely get the children enthused about their learning. The equipment available covers a wide range of the National Curriculum’s prescribed areas and enables pupils to have the space and facilities to undertake real observations and carry out experiments on the world around them.

For more information, visit our Science Outdoor Curriculum page.

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How to Create an Expressive Arts Playground

Expressive arts are an important part of children’s education, enabling pupils to develop critical thinking, communication skills, creativity and a wider understanding of cultural diversity. However, with a curricular emphasis on more academic subjects and a lack of facilities, many children lack the opportunities to get involved. In this post, we’ll look at ways that schools can utilise their playgrounds to widen pupils’ access to expressive arts.

Outdoor music

Outdoor Playground Music Equipment

Children love making music but many of them struggle to play instruments. Even if they can, schools tend to keep their own instruments under lock and key because they are expensive to buy, so there is little chance to use them. There is, however, a helpful alternative: outdoor music equipment. Outdoor instruments are designed to be used by all children, including those that have not learned to play. Percussive in nature, they include drainpipe drums, drum tables, xylophones, chimes, washboards and rain wheels. There is even a talking tube that can be used as a natural microphone for those wishing to make their own noises.

Together, these instruments allow children to work together to create their own rhythms and tunes, to learn how the instruments work and explore a range of different sounds, patterns and playing techniques. As they are installed in the playground, they can be used during free time or used as part of the music curriculum.

Drama

Drama is a vital subject that enables pupils to explore and develop an understanding of a wide range of things: literary texts, moral dilemmas, cultural values and the thoughts and feelings of others. It can be used to help children feel empathy, solve problems and resolve issues, such as when acting out a bullying situation. It’s also great for developing performance and communication skills and improving confidence.

Children’s love of acting develops at an early age where they enjoy playing different characters in imaginative situations. To encourage this creativity, there is a selection of playground drama resources that schools can install. To get children actively engaged in role play, we have a stimulating range of imaginative outdoor equipment that includes trains, bridges, tunnels, shop kiosks, carriages, mud kitchens and play huts.

For more focused drama, there are also outdoor performance stages which can be used in curriculum time for exploring themes and set texts or to rehearse and perform school productions. Available in a range of sizes and shapes, they include a proscenium arch to create the ideal outdoor theatre setting.

Dance

With troupes like Diversity winning Britain’s Got Talent, dance has become ‘cool’ again for young people, including older boys who often shy away from the traditional dance styles. With dance being part of the PE curriculum, it is important to encourage everyone to participate and this can be done very simply by installing the outdoor performance stages mentioned above and providing students with a speaker from which to listen to the music they want to dance to. At secondary schools, most pupils will have their favourite tracks saved on their phones: purchasing a battery-operated Bluetooth speaker would enable them to play their music loud enough so they can create dance moves to it.

Art

Art in school should not just be about developing technical skills and learning about past masters. Instead, children should be given the freedom to explore their creativity by drawing or painting what they want in the way they find best expresses their ideas – even if, artistically, it doesn’t have technical merit.

The resources needed to have this artistic freedom should be an essential part of any expressive arts playground. ESP Play’s outdoor art equipment is ideal for this as it enables children to do imaginative artwork whenever they like. Our resources include painting stations, whiteboards, chalkboards and for exploring a different media, we even have a weaving board for those with an interest in fabrics. All our outdoor boards are interchangeable, simple to clean and can be used during free time or in lessons.

Outdoor performance spaces

When it comes to outdoor music, drama and dance, there are times when the performers will want an audience. This could be for performing in front of friends at break, for peers during lessons or for parents in a formal production.

At ESP Play, we have the ideal selection of outdoor seating, such as log-built, tiered amphitheatres, log seats and storytelling chairs. We also have a wide range of shelters, including large octagonal shelters with seating and decked floors which are ideal for bandstands and performing theatre in the round.

Conclusion

All pupils should be given the opportunity to express themselves artistically and discover different art forms. Unfortunately, there is too little opportunity to do this during the school week. However, by creating an expressive arts playground or even an expressive arts zone within a larger playground, pupils can access inspirational equipment whenever they are free. The equipment can be used in lesson times too.

If you need guidance on designing an expressive arts playground, call us on 01282 43 44 45 or check out the product links in the post above.

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ALLGO+ The Best School Gym Solution

A well-equipped gym gives schools a lot of opportunities; it can be used as part of the PE curriculum, for helping young athletes train and for students and staff to use for keeping fit. Unfortunately, not every school has the space for a gym and some lack the budget for the very expensive apparatus.

Another concern is that any equipment that involves weights and moving parts requires constant supervision when children are using it. There is, however, a solution for all these problems which is designed especially for secondary schools: the ALLGO+ Gym. Here, we’ll take a look at how it could be the ideal gym for your school.

The outdoor gym

With lack of space being an issue for many schools, one big advantage of the ALLGO+ gym is that is designed to be installed outdoors. The individual pieces of apparatus are permanently erected so there is no need to keep bringing them in and out of the storeroom every time you want to use them. Once it is installed, it stays there, ready for use whenever you need.

Of course, as an outdoor gym, everything is designed for outdoor use. The construction materials are robust, durable and manufactured to last in the open.

Safe, weights-free equipment

One of the problems with traditional gym equipment, like free weights and weights machines, is that they are not safe for children to use unsupervised. ALLGO+ equipment, however, doesn’t use weights at all, instead, it is a bodyweight only fitness system. In other words, pupils will use their own bodyweight on the apparatus in order to develop strength and fitness. Being weights-free means there is no chance of injury from students dropping heavy equipment or to back or muscle damage from lifting too much weight.

Full body fitness

The ALLGO+ outdoor gym has a range of equipment designed to develop strength and muscle tone in all areas of the body. Here is a breakdown of the equipment:

  • Leg rise

The ALLGO+’s hanging leg rise is ideal for developing abdominal and core strength, improving all abdominal muscles, including the lower abs and obliques.

  • Monkey bars

When students work their way along the monkey bars, they will be using and developing their lats, biceps, abdominal, oblique and deltoid muscles. This is done not just by pulling upwards and across, but also from using the muscles to stabilise the body’s position and balance as it moves.

  • Press-up bars

The ALLGO+ comes with three different press-up bars all at different heights: 300, 550 and 700mm. When first starting out, children may find press-ups hard to do. Placing their hands on the bars will make the exercise a little easier while they develop strength. At the opposite end of the scale, stronger students can rest their feet on the bars and push up from the floor. Here, the higher the bar, the more difficult the press up.

Press-ups are not only excellent for developing arm, shoulder and chest muscles, they can also help with back, leg and abs, too.

  • Pull-up bars

The ALLGO+ provides two pull up bars, one being shorter than the other so that children of all heights can participate. Pull-ups are helpful for increasing arm, back, abdominal and grip strength. As a multi-joint exercise, pull-ups are great for helping pupils gain muscle mass.

  • Sit-up benches

The gym has three different sit-up benches, with increasing levels of challenge: level, inclined and steep. The steeper the incline, the more demanding the exercise.

Sit-ups can be used to develop a wide range of muscles, including abdominals, obliques, pectorals and the erector spinae, which help extend the back and give stability to the spine.

  • Step-up

The step-up apparatus can be used with and without additional weights and is ideal for developing leg strength. It is also helpful for improving balance and stability.

  • Ring step and fast feet markings

These markings enable students to add some cardio exercise to their workout, which is great for burning calories, improving heart health, agility and stamina.

  • Circle steps

This fun apparatus of rising steps placed in a circle around a central balance pole is designed to develop leg and core strength whilst improving balance and agility,

Cleverley signed

Each piece of equipment has an attached sign giving pupils information about how to use it, the muscle groups it develops and ideas for easy, medium and hard workouts. There is also an additional signpost which can be used to display health and safety notices.

Conclusion

As you can see, the ALLGO+ is the perfect solution for schools wanting a gym but which don’t have the necessary indoor space. It’s safe for children, always ready and can be used as part of the PE curriculum, for specialist training or can even be made available for pupils to exercise on during breaktimes, just like the equipment you now see at public parks.

If you are interested in an outdoor school gym, check out our ALLGO+ page.

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