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- 06 February 2014 00:00
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Prime Minister David Cameron has given primary school sport in England a huge boost after announcing a new £750 million investment in the sector through to 2020.
The new £750 million cash injection means that the ring-fenced £150 million a year funding for the Primary PE and Sport Premium will be extended for an additional five years.
The dedicated fund, which was announced by the Government in March 2013 and began in September 2013, was originally set to run for just two years from 2013-14 to 2014-15.
The Government announced in December 2013 that it would run for an additional third year to 2015-16 but this new announcement means that a further £750 million will now be invested across a five year Parliament through to 2020-21 in a move designed to help secure a tangible legacy from the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.
"Sport is so important because it encourages children to be active, lead a healthy lifestyle, make friends and, of course, have fun,” said the Prime Minister.
"But quality school sport has benefits that spread right across the curriculum and beyond - it develops confidence and a sense of achievement, it teaches young people how to rise to a challenge, and nurtures the character and skills that will help them get on and succeed in life.
"It’s an important part of our long-term plan to deliver the best schools and skills for young people.
"That is why I am committing to guarantee the primary school sports funding until 2020.”
The Primary PE and Sport Premium goes directly to primary school head teachers so that they can decide how best to use it to provide sporting activities for pupils.
A typical primary school with 250 primary aged pupils this year received £9,250, the equivalent of around two days a week of a primary teacher or a coach's time - enough to make sure every pupil in the school can do sport with a specialist.
"I am delighted that the Prime Minister has made this commitment to continue to invest in school sport until 2020,” said the Prime Minister’s Olympic and Paralympic Legacy Ambassador Lord Sebastian Coe.
"We wanted to use London 2012 to inspire a generation to choose sport and ensuring that children get a positive and engaging experience in primary school of physical education and sport is key to this.
"A long term commitment to continue this funding can only help to achieve this.”
The move has also been hailed by the Youth Sport Trust from their 2014 Conference in Telford.
"This announcement is an incredible commitment from the Government and with this investment we should have absolute confidence that PE in primary schools can be transformed, ensuring physical literacy is embedded within all primary schools,” said Youth Sport Trust Chair Baroness Sue Campbell.
"For some time now we have called for a long term strategy for PE and sport that will allow schools the security to plan for sustainable improvements in the quality of PE teaching in primary schools.
"If we are to develop excitement, enthusiasm and passion for sport and physical activity amongst young people then we must offer them a high quality PE and sport experience from an early age.”