ESC steps in to double PE in Schools funding
FUNDING for the PE in Schools programme is set to be doubled, with the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture committing to provide £200,000 a year to the initiative.
It currently receives half that and is run and funded by the Guernsey Sports Commission through corporate sponsorship.
This is due to end later this year, so ESC has stepped in to provide increased funding from 2019 to ensure the initiative carries on in every primary school and can be expanded.
The programme is also set to be extended to St Anne’s in Alderney for the first time.
PE in Schools will continue to be delivered through a partnership between schools and sports development officers, but schools will now have greater access to sports professionals, coaching opportunities and professional development, with the equipment and kit they take into schools also being upgraded.
Guernsey Sports Commission set up the programme in 2010. Sports development officers delivered more than 1,000 sessions to 1,250 primary school children last year alone.
The enhanced programme was drawn up after consultations with head teachers, sport development officers, colleagues working on health improvements and the students themselves.
‘I think most people would agree with the committee that all students should have access to high-quality PE and sport in schools,’ said ESC president Matt Fallaize.
‘Without this investment the future of PE in Schools would be highly uncertain.
‘In addition, we are responding to powerful recommendations from schools and sports professionals about what could be achieved by enhancing the programme.’
Deputy Fallaize said the committee was grateful to the ‘tremendous’ work of the Guernsey Sports Commission since it started the programme, and it looked forward to continuing to work with it in delivering this programme and other initiatives.
He referred to the budget challenges the committee inherited when it was elected in February, and reforms were in-hand that could help improve the budget position. ‘What we are not going to do is cut front-line services in essential areas and PE and sport in schools falls into this essential category.’
Sports Commission chairman Jon Ravenscroft said that under the stewardship of Graham Chester and past chairmen the GSC had achieved ‘an extraordinary amount with a limited budget’.
‘To secure this commitment from the States has been a real team effort by the commission, Deputy Fallaize and his committee and the civil servants and I want to thank everyone for pulling together to achieve this incredible outcome,’ he said.
‘The Sports Commission team has exciting plans for the programme.’
La Mare de Carteret Primary head teacher Kim Hutchinson said the new programme would provide a lot of support to all primary schools as they sought to encourage youngsters towards what they hoped would be a lifelong love of physical activity.
‘Exposing children to positive, fun experiences in the school environment as they progress from learning to run, jump, throw and balance to then applying those skills to a range of activities and sports is so important for their motivation, self-esteem and confidence,’ she said.