Sport England invested £1.5m Department of Education funding to increase the capacity of Active Partnerships’ to support schools to open up their facilities. The test and learn project sought to better understand the barriers and drivers of schools to open their doors during evenings, weekends and holiday periods for community use. 23 Active Partnerships worked directly with 230 targeted primary and secondary schools and Sport England over the 15-month lifespan of the project.
The project uncovered some fantastic insights into a school’s motivation to open their doors for community use such as the primary driver being to strengthen links to their local community and to become a community hub. The project also highlighted the importance of school leadership teams having a clear vision and mission to open their facilities during evenings and weekends to support the wellbeing of both their pupils and local community. There was also a clear correlation between a school having a strong extra-curricular or holiday programme and their likelihood to open their doors after 3pm for the remainder of the year.
The learnings from the test and learn project have been summarised in a report and a number of case studies have also been created to help bring to life the key learnings. We hope that these learnings help to change how school facilities are perceived as a destination for sport and physical activity. As a sector we need to work together to change the narrative around the value of opening school facilities from income generation to being a fantastic way to strengthen a school’s links to their local community and also support clubs, community organisations, families and individuals to access these facilities more easily after 3pm.
A series of Case Studies have been produced for the project;
- The Deanes School
- Streetley Academy
- Oasis Academy
- Bourne Academy
- Chetwynde School- in memeory of Becky Underwood
Written Case Studies
Sport England has invested an additional £10.1m Department for Education funding to all 43 Active Partnerships giving national coverage (in the test and learn pilot, investment was largely capacity funding and in phase 2, investment is for capacity and revenue investment to schools. In both cases the investment provides capacity funding for Active Partnerships to support schools in their local area to open their facilities after school hours (after-school, evenings, weekends, and holidays) and revenue funding to distribute to targeted schools to:
a. increase the use of school sport facilities outside of the school day;
b. addressing the additional actions needed to open safely when it is safe to do so and;
c. providing more opportunities for children and young people to take part in sport and be physically active. This can be an after-school activity, in the evenings, weekends or holidays.
Schools have a unique opportunity to position themselves as a community hub and support the health and wellbeing of both their pupils and community by providing safe, trusted and accessible spaces to be active as the nation recovers from the effects of the Covid pandemic.
The work forms part of the cross government School Sport Action Plan that seeks ongoing collaboration at national level to ensure that sport and physical activity are an integral part of both the school day and after-school activities, so that all children have the opportunity to take part in at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day.