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Four-year investment for Active Schools Network

Sport and physical activity
Issued by sportscotland

sportscotland has today (Thursday) announced a further four-year investment into its successful Active Schools Network, a decision which has been backed by Team Scotland’s Eilidh Child.

The national agency for sport will invest up to £50 million into the Network across all 32 of Scotland’s local authorities from 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2019, and will continue to develop opportunities available to children and young people to participate in sport and physical activity before school, during lunch, and after school.

The news comes as the Active Schools Network celebrates its 10th anniversary, during which time it has become embedded as part of the fabric of school life.
Throughout the past decade, Active Schools Managers and Coordinators – of which there are now over 400 in Scotland – have recruited and supported a network of volunteers and coaches which has successfully increased participation and provided an increased number and range of opportunities for children and young people.

Crucial to this success is the partnership with local authorities, which contributed approximately £4 million per annum over the past four years to the Network.
Local partners have worked together in every local authority area to deliver and provide high quality experiences for children and young people in sport and physical activity.

The latest figures from 2012/13 show an impressive 13 per cent increase in participant sessions compared to the previous year – a rise of more than half a million to 5.1 million.

As well as record high participant sessions, there are also record numbers of Active Schools supported sessions being delivered by a record high number of distinct deliverers and volunteers linking to a record high number of sports clubs.

Announcing the four-year investment at Sandersons Wynd Primary School in Tranent, East Lothian, the Cabinet Secretary for the Commonwealth Games and Sport, Shona Robison, said:

“The Scottish Government is committed to securing a lasting legacy for Scotland following this summer’s Commonwealth Games.

“This £50 million investment is a vital part of that legacy, and builds on the 96 per cent of Scottish schools meeting the target of two hours, or two periods, of PE each week, and our recently released Sport Strategy for Children and Young People – Giving Children and Young People a Sporting Chance.

“Getting young people active is key to our long term ambitions to create a healthier and happier Scotland.

“For more than ten years, the Active Schools Network has been successfully bringing volunteers and schools together to deliver millions of sessions of activity for young people across the country.

“It is important we continue to work towards giving Scotland’s children the best start in life, creating a lifelong love of sport from an early age that will continue well into adulthood.”

Stewart Harris, Chief Executive of sportscotland, said:

“As we move towards the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, this significant investment of up to £50 million offers another fabulous opportunity to motivate and inspire children and young people to participate in sport and physical activity.

“Critical to the success of Active Schools is the partnership with local authorities and local sports clubs and the connections across other school sports areas, such as Physical Education, work with young people, School Sport Awards, school sport competition, and access to the school estate.

“Everyone involved in the sportscotland Active Schools Network has helped make it the success it has become over the last 10 years and it is with a real sense of excitement that we now look forward to the next chapter of the programme.”

Active Schools ambassador and Team Scotland athlete Eilidh Child said:

“It is amazing to think that Active Schools has now been a part of the school system for the past 10 years, and the impact it has made during that time has been incredible.

“As a former PE teacher, I used to work closely with Active Schools Coordinators and so have first-hand experience of the excellent opportunities this programme provides for pupils to get involved in sport and physical activity.

“With the excitement and enthusiasm surrounding the Commonwealth Games there is a real opportunity for youngsters throughout the country to be motivated to take up a new sport for the first time.

“So it is great news that sportscotland has announced its commitment to the continuation of Active Schools for a further four years, which, with strong partnerships with local authorities, will ensure that children who have been inspired by the Games will have the chance to take part in sport before school, during lunch, and after school.”   

Councillor Shamin Akhtar, Children’s Wellbeing and Education spokesperson for East Lothian Council, which was one of the original local authorities to take part in the Active Schools pilot before its nationwide launch in 2004/05, said:

“I am delighted with the announcement that Active Schools funding is to be extended for a further four years.  East Lothian has been at the forefront since the beginning in developing the Active Schools programme in partnership with sportscotland.  Here in East Lothian, we very much value the role that the Active Schools programme plays in providing a wide range of opportunities for pupils that enhance and add value to core provision in schools.”

Find out more about Scotland's Active Schools Network