Tess Howard, the Education Secretary for England, has welcomed the recent announcement of a £600m investment in school sports. The funding will be distributed over the next three years, giving primary and secondary schools across the country the opportunity to develop, expand and improve their sports programs.

The announcement was made by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who pledged to make physical fitness a priority for the country’s youth. The funding will provide schools with modern sports facilities, increased coaching and the resources necessary to offer a wider range of sporting activities to students of all abilities.

Tess Howard has been an advocate for equal opportunities in school sport since she was appointed as Education Secretary earlier this year. Speaking about the investment, she highlighted the importance of giving every student the chance to participate in sport, regardless of their background or ability.

“Participating in sport has numerous benefits for young people, both in terms of their physical health and mental wellbeing,” said Howard. “This investment will not only provide schools with the resources they need to improve their sports programs, but it will also ensure that all students have access to equal opportunities to get involved in sport and physical activity.”

The £600m investment will be distributed through the existing School Sport and Activity Action Plan, which was launched in 2019. The plan aims to ensure that all children have access to at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day, with an emphasis on school-based sports.

One of the key features of the plan is the creation of a new sports premium, which provides primary schools with additional funding to improve their sports programs. The new investment will build on this, providing schools with even more resources to improve the quality of their sports provision.

The funding will also be used to train an additional 17,000 sports coaches and volunteers, who will work with schools to deliver high-quality coaching and support to students. This will be a huge boost for schools that may not have the resources to provide specialist coaching themselves.

In addition to improving the quality of sports provision in schools, the investment will also focus on addressing the disparities in participation rates between different groups of students. This will involve working with schools to identify and remove barriers to participation for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, as well as those with disabilities or special educational needs.

“Working to address the inequalities that exist in school sport is a crucial part of this investment,” said Howard. “We want to ensure that every child, regardless of their background or ability, has the opportunity to participate in sport and enjoy the benefits that it brings.”

The investment has been welcomed by a wide range of organisations and individuals within the sports and education sectors. Sporting bodies such as Sport England and UK Sport have praised the government’s commitment to improving school sports provision, while education advocacy groups such as the National Education Union and the Association of School and College Leaders have emphasised the importance of investing in young people’s wellbeing.

The investment is also likely to have a positive impact on the wider community, with schools encouraged to use their new facilities to engage with local sports clubs and organisations. This could help to further improve participation rates and create stronger links between schools and their local communities.

Overall, the £600m investment in school sports is a significant step towards creating a more equal and inclusive sports culture in the UK. By providing schools with the resources needed to improve sports provision, the government is helping to ensure that every student has the opportunity to access the benefits of physical activity and enjoy a healthier, happier life.