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Schools and sport under new restrictions: your questions answered

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Physical Education, Schools

a school road sign in the forefront, trees in the backgroudn, the leaves with a yellow tinge suggesting early onset signs of autumn

We are aware of speculation in the media about whether sports organisations and extra-curricular activities can continue under new national restrictions.

In a piece in The Telegraph, the Secretary of State For Culture, Media And Sport Oliver Dowden set out the tough choices this Government has taken about which activities can safely continue, and which cannot. He made clear that when the restrictions are lifted, out of school, grassroots sport will be one of the first social activities to return.

In the meantime, it is important that we all work together to ensure children get 60 minutes of daily physical activity every day – including during the school day – as recommended by the Chief Medical Officers. While restrictions are in place, below we answer some of your questions about what the updated guidance means for schools and sport.

  1. What is, and is not, allowed under the new restrictions?

Schools have the flexibility to decide how Physical Education, sport and physical activity will be provided whilst following the measures in their system of controls. More guidance on the system of controls can be found here.

Schools can and should continue offering sports clubs or activities before or after school, in addition to their regular PE lessons, in order to support parents to work, seek work, or to undertake education or training, and for the purposes of respite care for vulnerable children.

All out of school activities which are not being primarily used by parents for these purposes should close for face-to-face provision for the duration of the national restrictions.

Lunchtime clubs and activities are still allowed and encouraged. Each school should make a decision on the viability of this lunchtime provision based on risk assessment.

School activities taking place in local leisure facilities and sports centres can continue if they are part of their normal school provision – or as part of a ‘dual use arrangement’ - and the facility is able to facilitate that.

Competition between different schools should not take place, in line with the wider restrictions on grassroots sport.

  1. What do you mean by extra-curricular activities or 'wraparound care'?

Schools can and should continue to provide PE lessons as well as extra-curricular sports activities for their pupils during the schools day, such as at lunchtime.

Schools should also continue to offer before- and after-school activities or clubs for their pupils where these are in place to help parents keep working, seek work, or to attend education or training. as well as for the purposes of respite care for vulnerable children. This includes activities or clubs not only related to PE and sport but also music, dance and drama.

Most of these clubs or activities already fulfil this 'wraparound care' role and so can continue during the new national measures introduced in England on 5 November.

  1. What about swimming?

Schools can use external swimming pools for lessons where facilities are able to accommodate that in a way that is consistent with the school’s system of controls.

  1. What other support is out there?

We have provided extra resources online, like YouTube videos through the Department for Education’s channel featuring fun and easy ways to get pupils more active both in school and out.

Parents can also visit Sport England’s “Join the Movement” campaign, where they will find a range of online workouts and programmes to do with their children.

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