MORE than £230,000 is being injected into the borough’s schools to help increase participation in sport and physical activity.
The money is the borough’s share of a £150million a year PE and Sports Premium fund from the Government, which was made available for the first time in 2013 to build on the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
It is targeted at pupils in Year 5 and 6 to help schools develop the opportunities on offer to children and improve the quality of PE teaching. The money can be used to recruit specialist PE staff, buy new equipment and offer a wider choice of sports and free after school clubs.
Schools with 16 or fewer eligible pupils receive £500 per pupil with those with 17 or more given £8,000 and an additional payment of £5 per pupil.
More than half of the borough’s schools will receive more than £9,000 by the end of April 2015, enough to employ a specialist sports coach for two days a week.
Last year Redditch schools received over £240,000 which was spent in a variety of ways. RSA Ipsley spent its allocation on measures including swimming lessons for Year 5 pupils, specialist rugby coaching targeting pupils with a low level of sports participation and upgrading equipment.
Matt Russell, assistant headteacher at St Bede’s Catholic Middle School, said they had used the additional money to employ a teaching assistant which had helped them run additional after school clubs including in cross country running, basketball and tag rugby.
He added it had also helped them achieve the Gold Kitemark award and they now had over 65 per cent of children engaged in an extra curricular activity every week.
Government research suggests the money has on average increased the amount of time pupils spend in PE lessons by 13 minutes with 90 per cent of schools reporting an improvement in children’s lifestyles and behaviour.
A report by schools regulator Ofsted found while the money was being well spent by headteachers, consideration should be given to using the funding to help tackle obesity.
Sean Harford, Ofsted national director for schools policy, said: “I have found the best schools know sport is not an add-on to the timetable, but is an integral part of a school’s ethos.”