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Swindon primary schools share £559,000 Olympic legacy windfall
8:00am Wednesday 20th March 2013 in News
Aimee, left, and Elisabetta, right, are among pupils at Holy Rood Junior School taking part in a PE lesson
Primary schools across Swindon are to share half a million pounds to help inspire Olympic and Paralympic stars of the future.
An extra £559,300 will be given to schools across the town – which equates to £31 per pupil – to transform school sport and improve coaching.
The money is part of an Olympic legacy fund which will provide £150m a year for two years to improve the quality of provision in every state primary school in England.
North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson said: “Young people across Swindon will benefit from this announcement. This money will help to secure the Olympic legacy and support our gold medal winners of the future.”
The money will be a lump sum for each school, with a per-pupil top-up. A typical primary school with 250 pupils would receive £9,250 per year.
This is the equivalent of around two days a week of a primary teacher or a coach’s time – enough to make sure every pupil in the school can do sport with a specialist.
The funding will go directly into the hands of staff who will decide what is best for their children’s needs. This could vary from specialist coaching and teacher training to dedicated sports programmes, Change4Life sport clubs and support for after-school or weekend competitions.
Tony McAteer, headteacher of Holy Rood Junior School, welcomed the news.
He said: “A school such as Holy Rood will receive £10,000 per year which will enable us to enhance an already good PE curriculum by facilitating the employment of specialist coaches.
“Currently, our pupils are taught martial arts and swimming by specialists.
“Additional funding will allow the pupils to experience a greater range of sporting activities and hopefully to develop a lifelong interest in and love of sport. This can only serve to benefit the health of this generation of children.”
Swindon Olympian swimmer Grant Turner said: “It is a massive amount of funding which can only be good for Swindon and sport.
“Everyone spoke of the legacy of the Olympics in London and what it is going to mean to sport in this country, but I was worried it wouldn’t actually happen.
“To see people acting on that can offer so much for children in Swindon.”
There will be tougher assessment of sport provision via Ofsted as part of the funding arrangement.
Andy Steckbeck, the school games organiser for Swindon School Sport Partnership, said: “I am pleased the Government has pledged a greater focus on PE with Ofsted inspections, which will ensure quality.
David Renard, the cabinet member for children services, said: “I am delighted the Government has listened to what schools and politicians have been saying about the huge value in providing young people with the opportunity to participate in any form of activity.”