PE funding - 'administrative error' panics schools

Primary sports day Letters from the DfE said schools would receive £465 less than expected for sport and PE

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The government has blamed an "administrative error" for schools being told they would receive almost £500 less than promised for PE.

Schools in England were expecting £8,000 each per year, plus £5 per pupil, as part of a £150m funding plan.

The aim is to improve specialist PE coaching in primary schools, with the first payments due next week.

But this month councils were sent letters telling them that schools would only receive £7,535, plus £5 per pupil.

Local authorities were told they would be receiving tens of thousands of pounds less for PE and sport provision than they had budgeted for.

Clarification

The apparent shortfall of £465 per school caused confusion in the education sector, and led the Association for Physical Education to seek clarification from the government yesterday evening.

A spokesman for the Department for Education told the BBC: "This was an administrative error.

"Schools will be receiving the full amount.

"We will be re-issuing letters to schools this week."

The issue of school sport has proved a difficult one for the government.

New funding was introduced this year after widespread calls for more investment in school sport to help build on the legacy potential of the 2012 Games.

Criticism

Despite record investment in elite and community sport in the last six months, the government has been criticised for making cuts in schools sports.

In 2010, £162m of ring-fenced funding for the national School Sport Partnerships (SSPs) was abolished, provoking an outcry. The network enabled well-equipped "hub" secondary schools to lend PE teachers to those that needed them, especially primary schools.

In March a four-year long Ofsted report concluded there was not enough strenuous, physical activity in many of England's school PE lessons, with teachers tending to lack specialist training, and a minority of schools playing competitive sport at a high level.

Informed that the lower amount specified in the letter was a mistake, the Association for Physical Education commented that it was "delighted that schools will be getting the full amount".

Shadow sports minister Clive Efford tweeted: "Sports premium fiasco is a cock-up rather than conspiracy to cut the money. It is a regular occurrence with sport and Gove."

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