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Mental health and wellbeing at risk without confirmation of £320m PE Pupil Premium

March 6, 2023

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New research from Youth Sport Trust has found that the majority of primary schools would be unable to afford their current physical activity offerings without the £320m PE Premium. This comes as NHS figures show that referrals for mental health treatment for under-18s have increased by 39% to more than a million in 2021-22.

In a snapshot survey of 405 primary schools, the key findings were:

  • 73% of primary schools will be unable to maintain their current physical activity and after-school sport without the PE Premium
  • 46% of schools will be unable to provide the recommended half of a child’s 60 daily minutes of activity
  • 55% will drop top-up swimming lessons for less confident swimmers
  • 148 school sports events per day will be lost without the School Games Organiser network
  • Girl’s sport will lose hundreds of girls-only competitions, including football, cricket and rugby


The retraction of the Energy Bill Relief Scheme in April threatens swimming pools, leisure centres, grassroots facilities, and schools. With fewer schools using these swimming pools or other facilities, an important source of revenue could result in their closure.

The CEO of StreetGames, Mark Lawrie, argues that sport and physical activity has measurable benefits for mental health and wellbeing. The impact of rising costs will see those in the lowest income bracket who have only £3.65 to spend on leisure per week priced out of traditional sport and physical activity.

This comes as the Department for Education DfE has published their fourth annual State of the Nation Report.

The focus is on trends in mental health and wellbeing for the academic year 2021/22 for children and young people.

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