The Sports and Physical Education Association (SPE) has warned government that unless School and PE budgets increase in line with the upsurge in the costs of raw materials, the impact on PE and School Sport could be devastating.
With the price of steel up a staggering 215% since 2020, plywood up 85% and foam up 55%, British manufacturers of sports equipment have warned that schools will get less product from their PE budgets. This will add to already worrying levels of inactivity and lead schools into PE poverty: new government research has found that 56% of primary and 37% of secondary schools had reduced their hours for PE in the last academic year.
Some suppliers are also finding it very difficult to get some raw materials whilst shipping wars and importing costs have more than doubled in the space of six months.
Inevitably UK suppliers’ prices will increase in 2022 and yet school funding for PE has remained static. Announcements on funding such as the PE and Sport Premium have been frequently delayed making long-term planning difficult and some job roles insecure. Larger capital funding projects to develop and improve PE and Sports infrastructure in schools, which tends to fall within general school budgets, have also been put on the back burner which has hampered the secondary sector’s challenge to keep pupils engaged in the subject.
SPE supports afPE’s call for a longer-term commitment to school funding to better enable schools to plan for and deliver high-quality PE. PE, physical activity and school sport provides a raft of benefits for children and is integral to their overall education outcomes.
With inflation in real terms higher than the current official rate of between 4-5% and actual costs rising by 10% to 15%, sports hall kit out budget is in many cases down to £8k from around £50k which has reduced the offering available. SPE believes it is vital that school budgets are increased so they can become leading community health facilities which provide sustainable revenue from wider user groups.
The UK has always aimed to have a world-leading PE system, but with investment now much reduced and the previous infrastructure gone, this is looking increasingly unlikely. Issues with childhood obesity and mental health have been compounded by the pandemic and unless there is urgent and sustained investment in PE in schools, the health, wellbeing, and education of children is at risk.
Notes to Editors:
Sport SPE Equipment Suppliers www.sportspe.org.uk SPE is the lead trade association for companies engaged in the supply and installation of sports hall, games, fitness and gymnasium equipment.
SPE operates under the umbrella of the Federation of Sports and Play Associations (FSPA), the national trade body responsible for representing Sports and Play Associations in the UK’s sport and play industries. www.sportsandplay.com
Mary Lubrano, Head of Communications. For further information contact Mary on e: [email protected] m: 07999 550452