Government announces £415m fund to support health and fitness in schools

Schools across England are set to benefit from a multi-million pound scheme to help give more children a healthy and active start to life. 

A government announcement was made today regarding a new £415 million fund to improve on sports facilities and provide more opportunities for young people to get fit and healthy. 

The funding will be rolled out to both primary and secondary schools, in addition to sixth-form colleges, across England who can use the funding to pay for facilities to support PE, extra-curricular activities and health eating. 

Schools can also use the money to improve facilities for children with physical conditions or support young people struggling with mental health issues. 

This new fund, together with the PE and sport premium, breakfast clubs and universal infant free school meals, amounts to more than £1.3 billion that will be invested into education system between 2018 and 2019 to help young people enjoy healthier lifestyles. 

Image removed.It will also build on plans to make a longer school day by providing new facilities or improving existing ones to make it easier for a range of extra-curricular activities to be provided.

Education secretary Justine Greening said: "Schools can really help our children get a healthy start in life from exercise and sport, and also from knowing what a healthy diet means. It’s not only good for them while they’re in education, but the health and wellbeing benefits can last a lifetime.

"That’s why we’re investing £415 million in facilities to support sports, after-school activities and promoting healthy eating, so we can secure the future health of our young people."

Local authorities and larger multi-academy trusts will all receive an allocation for schools but will be able to make decisions locally on how that money is invested. 

Smaller multi-academy trusts, individual academies and sixth-form centres will have to bid for grants for specific one-off projects. 

The scheme is funded by money raised from the Soft Drinks Industry Levy, and the government has pledged to ensure the figure does not fall below £415 million, regardless of the funds generated by the levy. 

Further details about how the fund will be distributed will be made public later this year, and the money will be made available to schools in the 2018 to 2019 financial year.