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Red Monkey Play Equipment

School play investment shortfall

According to new research, primary schools are ignoring the government's call for investment in play and sport

Posted by Dave Higgitt | April 04, 2015 | Sports & leisure

Despite the government’s £150 million a year PE and sport premium funding, research by the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) shows that 38 percent of primary schools have a poor provision of play equipment. The survey of 393 English schools (207 maintained, 186 academy), conducted in March 2015, also suggests that this is unlikely to change.

Only 24 percent of surveyed schools stated that there would be a spending prioritisation on play equipment this year less than a third (29 percent) of schools would be looking to increase their investment in this area over the next two to five years. Thirty-nine percent of primary schools indicate no spending on indoor or outdoor play equipment. On average, schools suggested a 1.4 percent decline in spending on play equipment in 2015 compared with the previous year.

Caroline Wright, BESA director, said: “Our research shows a lot of future funding uncertainty, with 42 percent of schools attributing this to the forthcoming election. Add to this the increasing pressure on schools to raise standards in the core subjects, and it appears schools are placing play equipment well down their spending list.

“In her September 2014 speech on the PE and sport premium, education secretary Nicky Morgan said she wanted to create a world-class education system. While many of the required skills such as literacy and numeracy can be taught in the classroom, other vital skills such as confidence, discipline and determination can be learned through playing sport.

“Despite the pressure for schools to achieve in core subjects, schools must be encouraged to maintain their investment in curriculum areas such as physical education, which certainly in the early years, requires well designed play equipment.”

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