Primary PE and Sport Premium - what you need to know

10 May 2021

It’s been around since 2013 but the Primary Sport & PE Premium is still one of the best ways to fund you playground development. It is a ring-fenced grant for primary schools to provide additional and sustainable improvements to the quality of PE, sport and physical activity. Allocations to schools are determined by a formula based on pupil numbers. The average one form entry primary school will receive roughly £18,000 per year. It has run every year since then, which is great news for getting children out and active!


Back in 2020, when announcing that funding would be carried forward at £320 million for the 2020/21 academic year the education secretary, Gavin Williamson, said:

“During these challenging times, it has become clearer to me than ever the importance of keeping active and how it benefits not just our physical health but also our ability to pay attention, our mood and our mental health.

“I know that many children will have missed time spent outdoors with their friends – that’s why it’s so important that ahead of a full return to school in September, schools get the certainty they need to prepare their PE and sports activities for next year.”

The Association for Physical Education published this great top tips for spending the money guide in October 2020 but as the COVID-19 pandemic continued it became harder and harder for schools to spend this money and make use of it. 

In March 2021 the Department for Education announced that it would be contacting schools to let them know that the 31st March deadline for spending the money would be extended to the end of the academic year. You can view the full, updated guidance and conditions of grant documents here

So what can you buy with this?

There’s no denying that the guidance is a little grey - and it’s always worth talking to one of our funding experts or consultants about this to make sure. In essence, the funding is designed to help you broaden the physical activity curriculum that you’re currently providing. This means you should be able to spend the money on resources to help you deliver this. That can mean equipment, other resources, up-skilling teachers or anything else to improve levels of physical activity.

What can’t it be spent on?

There’s a catch. You can’t just purchase resources (or playground equipment) that delivers core PE. This should be funded out of your core budget, if you’re a state funded school. It also can’t be used to replace existing resources that have worn out. The Primary PE & Sport Funding is about adding to the existing provision and enriching it, so you need to set out a clear review of what you do and how this adds value above and beyond the core curriculum.

How does Capital Expenditure fit into this?

One of the things you can’t spend the money on is Capital Expenditure. In some schools playground equipment is considered to be Capital Expenditure. The important thing to note here is that the DfE doesn’t decide what is Capital Expenditure and what isn’t. Your School Business Manager or accountant will do this. You need to talk to them and involve them in to process to understand what you can and can’t spend the money on.

Is there anything else you can’t spend the money on?

Beyond delivering the minimum requirements of the national curriculum (we’ve already agreed that this is about improving and enriching, not basic provision) and Capital Expenditure the only other thing you can’t spend it on is employing coaches or specialist teachers to cover planning preparation and assessment (PPA) arrangements – these should come out of your core staffing budgets. That’s it!

Over the years we’ve written about the Primary PE & Sport Premium several times. You can read our blogs and guidance by following the links below:


School PE and Sport Advice Guides
What is the Sports & PE Premium
What can we spend our Sports & PE Premium on 
Sports & PE Premium measuring action and success

And if you’re looking for more information on topping this up, take a look at our funding ideas here


You can search and contact your regional Active Partner group for additional guidance here and to make sure you’re getting the most from your Primary PE & Sport Premium contact us today on 01604 261690 or contact us here to get a free consultation booked.

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