The Opening Schools Facilities (OSF) is a Department for Education (DfE) school funding programme worth £57m to meet the goals of the Government’s School Sport and Activity Action Plan (SSAAP).
The aim is to help schools open their existing sports facilities, including school swimming pools, for a broader range of young people and to support the wider community by collaborating with sporting organisations, who can help deliver activities in these settings.
The investment will be in place until March 2025 and will ensure local solutions are sought collaboratively that identify long-term changes in behaviour, leading to more people being active in areas that need it the most.
Led by the national network of Active Partnerships, and supported by ukactive, StreetGames and the Youth Sport Trust, all nine regions of England will benefit from this programme.
Living Sport is working with schools to enable them to deliver new or enhanced activities that will increase the range of face-to-face opportunities for pupils (and their families), incorporating making schools aware of further opportunities to open their sports facilities sustainably beyond the end of participation in the programme.
We know there are clear health inequalities, in relation to physical inactivity, therefore the opening of schools facilities intervention must promote physical activity to residents who find it challenging to access opportunities and achieve the daily recommended levels of physical activity.
The programme will target support to schools with a high percentage of pupils eligible for free school meals, from low affluent families, girls, culturally diverse groups, and pupils with SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities).
- To support schools to open their facilities outside of the normal school day (evenings, weekends, and holidays) to allow children & young people and the wider community to access more opportunities to be physically active.
- To open school swimming pools focusing on swimming and water safety lessons both during and outside the school day for pupils at their school and for pupils at other local schools.
- Participants are provided with a range of stimulating and enjoyable opportunities to take part in physical activity and sport, in addition to that experienced within PE lessons and extra-curricular activities. This means NEW and additional extra-curricular activities are eligible.
- Participants are signposted to take part in the same or similar activities in their local community, following the end of their participation in the programme.
- An increased number of children and young people participating in physical
activities on the school estate outside of the school day (evening and
- An increased number of community users participating in physical activity on
the school estate outside of the school day (evenings and weekends).
- An increased number of facilities available to students and the local community.
- An increased number of hours school facilities are open outside the school day
- An increased number of opportunities for schools to link with local and national
organisations and clubs.
- A better understanding of the processes and policies required to make the
opening of school facilities outside of school hours viable and sustainable.
- A better understanding of how to promote activities to the local community.
Benefits to Schools
Short Term: Schools will receive support to help the facilitation of opening their school premises outside of the school day, to deliver both new extra-curricular and out of school hours community sessions, to benefit young people and adults in the community.
Longer Term: Schools will be able to develop a sustainable business model by hiring their facilities to external organisations at affordable rates. Pupils will also benefit from having greater access and opportunity to take part in activities after school, at weekends and during holidays in their local area.
Schools have been contacted by Living Sport on a ‘place-based’ approach which targets the areas of most need within Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, based on local health data and insight from trusted partners to improve their extracurricular and community provision.
Support and funding will be targeted predominantly to support schools with a high percentage of pupils eligible for free school meals, where local activity levels amongst children and young people are typically low.
Living Sport has signed up schools for the programme of investment but welcomes communication from interested schools who fall within our place based approach.
Applications that we received were prioritised based on the below criteria:
- Located in or catchment school for one of our priority areas across the county.
- Schools with a high percentage of free school meals.
- Schools looking at engaging the pupils who are least active and or SEND pupils.
This targeted investment in selected schools will build on existing funding to help schools open their facilities outside of school hours and encourage pupils to be more physically active.
Community Organisations, Sports Clubs and National Governing Bodies can support school applications but cannot apply for funding themselves. We welcome communication from schools who are keen to collaborate with community partners, sports clubs and National Governing Bodies of sport.
Areas of focus for OSF Phase 3
- Tackling Inequalities: Provision should focus on people from lower socio economic communities; disabled people and those with long term health conditions; women and girls; people from culturally diverse communities.
- Engaging the school community: programmes to be co-designed with young people through youth voice.
- Engaging the wider community: opportunities for continued participation and for community engagement (including co-designing with community organisations / local young people).
- Developing a sustainable workforce: Youth leadership and volunteering opportunities.
- Added value: Projects to add value to local communities and agendas.
- Youth voice: must include youth voice when developing plans
For further information please contact:
David Welch, OSF Lead at Living Sport (email@example.com)