PE and Sport Premium: An Investigation in Primary Schools, November 2015


This research brief reports the findings of a two year study - commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE) and carried out by NatCen Social Research - to investigate the use and perceived impacts of the PE and sport premium in primary schools across England. It presents the main findings from two surveys of primary schools drawing on qualitative findings from tracker school interviews and case studies.

The PE and sport premium is a cross-departmental funding initiative of over £150 million per year. The aim of the funding is to improve the quality and breadth of PE and sport provision, including increasing participation so that all pupils develop healthy, active lifestyles and realise their potential.

Aims and methods

The aims of the study were to:

1. Investigate how primary schools in England are spending the premium

2. Understand the decision-making processes and the perceived impacts of the new funding on primary schools and pupils

3. Track in more depth how 40 primary schools used the premium

The study used the following methods

1. School surveys were carried out online and by telephone with 586 schools in the first year of the policy (Wave 1 - 2013/14) and 533 schools in the second year (Wave 2 - 2014/15). Of the Wave 2 schools 322 had also taken part in the Wave 1 survey (the main sample) and 211 took part in Wave 2 only (the boost sample). The surveys were designed to be representative of primary schools that were open prior to the introduction of the PE and sport premium; however academy schools were over sampled to enable comparisons between academy and LA maintained schools. A sample of 1,925 schools was selected to be contacted and to measure changes over the first two years of the premium.

The response rates were 55 per cent for the main sample and 42 per cent for the boost sample. The responses were weighted to correct for non-response bias so the sample for analysis was representative of primary schools in England.

2. Semi-structured telephone interviews were carried out with 40 tracker schools in the first and second year of the policy to follow how they were using the premium, as well as a short online survey in 2013/14 with tracker schools.

3. Qualitative case-studies were conducted in a sub-sample of 12 of the 40 tracker schools to give a more detailed understanding of how the funding was being used in schools and the perceived impact on pupils.

For more information, please visit: PE and Sport Premium: An Investigation in Primary Schools or PE and Sport Premium: Investigate Final Brief

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