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Investigation of PE and Sports Provision

Children playing football
Researchers: Emily Tanner
Published: December 2015


The PE and sport premium is a cross-departmental government funding initiative of over £150 million per year. The aim of the funding is to improve the quality and breadth of PE and sport provision, including increasing participation so that all pupils develop healthy, active lifestyles and realise their potential.

This two year study was commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE) to investigate the use and the perceived impacts of the PE and sport premium in primary schools across England.

The aims of the study were to:

  1. Investigate how primary schools in England are spending the premium.
  2. Understand the decision-making processes and the perceived impacts of the new funding on primary schools and pupils.


  • The most common uses for the PE and sport premium were to up-skill and train existing staff (86% in 2013/14 and 81% in 2014/15), buy new equipment (76% in 2013/14 and 86% in 2014/15) provide more extra-curricular activities (74% in 2013/14 and 69% in 2014/15) and employ new sports coaches (67% in 2013/14 and 68% in 2014/15).
  • Since the introduction of the PE and sport premium there has been an increase in the number of schools with a specialist PE teacher from 30 per cent before the premium to 46 per cent in 2014/15.
  • Schools perceived the quality (81%) and range (74%) of equipment to have increased since the introduction of the premium.
  • Seventy per cent of schools reported that participation in inter-school competitions had increased, while 53 per cent reported an increase in intra-school competitions.

You can read the full report here


School surveys were carried out online and by telephone with 586 schools in the first year of the policy 2013/14 and 533 schools in the second year 2014/15.

Telephone interviews were carried out with 40 tracker schools, and follow-up case-studies were conducted in 12 of these schools to provide a detailed understanding of how the funding was being used.