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Sports and PE funding at Suffolk primary schools doubles in drive to tackle childhood obesity

PUBLISHED: 09:25 04 November 2017 | UPDATED: 09:45 05 November 2017

Some schools such as Bently Primary School have launched the Daily Mile to help keep youngsters active. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Some schools such as Bently Primary School have launched the Daily Mile to help keep youngsters active. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Funding for sports and PE at Suffolk primary schools is being doubled as part of a Government drive to tackle childhood obesity.

Schools will be able to use the additional funding on sport and PE programmes they see fit to boost. Picture: SU ANDERSON Schools will be able to use the additional funding on sport and PE programmes they see fit to boost. Picture: SU ANDERSON

The Department for Education announced that its PE and Sport Premium fund would be doubled from £160 million to £320m.

For Suffolk, that funding has soared from the £2.3m schools received last year to £4.6m for the 2017/18 academic year which began in September.

Gordon Jones, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for children’s services, education and skills, said: “Suffolk County Council welcomes the increased funding available to all schools through the PE and Sport Premium grant, to improve healthy lifestyles among pupils and to tackle childhood obesity.

“We are pleased that schools will receive more funding to help them achieve the government aspiration that all children get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a day.

“These grants represent an important addition to schools’ funding and support school leaders in ensuring that the curriculum they deliver prepares children with the experiences and skills that help them to lead active and healthy lives.”

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Each school is able to use the additional funding as it sees fit, with this year’s figure broken down to £2.7m for local authority-maintained schools and nearly £1.9m for academies.

The fund is part of a drive to reduce childhood obesity and improve children’s physical and mental health.

A DfE spokesman said: “Healthy eating, physical activity and sport not only help tackle childhood obesity, but can also have a positive impact on pupils’ behaviour, attendance, concentration and attainment, helping children to reach their potential.”

Latest figures from the NHS revealed that childhood obesity was on the rise in the county, with nearly one in 10 reception-age youngsters reaching dangerously fat levels.

But despite the increase, education bosses at the county council have said the extra funding has not addressed the funding inequality it is facing compared to other authorities.

Mr Jones added: “We remain concerned that Suffolk is still one of the lowest funded authorities following the school funding reform. In real terms, Suffolk’s schools will be lower funded than five years ago and the proposed reform has not addressed the significant inequality of funding.”

“We will continue to work through this revised formula and lobby government for fairer funding for Suffolk students.”

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