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Government pledges equal access to PE sports for boys and girls

The funding looks to help boost equal opportunities in school sport both inside and outside the classroom (Image: Sport England)

The government has pledged to offer girls and boys the same opportunities to play sports during PE and extracurricular time in schools.

In a move that it says will “develop new standards for equal access to sports”, the government is providing a package of funding to help boost sport and activities both inside and outside school hours.

The funding includes £600m over the next two academic years for the PE and Sport Premium and £22m for the School Games Organisers (SGO) network.

Schools that successfully deliver equal opportunities for girls and boys will be rewarded through the School Games Mark, which will assess parity of provision in PE and extracurricular sport.

Schools are also being asked to offer a minimum of two hours curriculum PE time and Government will provide support to schools on how to do this through the upcoming refresh of the School Sport Action Plan.

Alongside this work, Ofsted will be publishing a report into PE in the coming months, which will inform future inspections and set out what they believe is possible in terms of offering high quality PE and equal access to sports.

The announcement delivers on promises made by the then prime ministerial candidate, Rishi Sunak, to the Lionesses last year. The day after the Euro final at Wembley in July, the Lionesses wrote an open letter to Tory leadership candidates, Sunak and Liz Truss, laying out demands which are now being met.

Leah Williamson, captain of the Lionesses, said: “The success of the summer has inspired so many young girls to pursue their passion for football.

“We see it as our responsibility to open the doors for them to do so and this announcement makes that possible.

“This is the legacy that we want to live much longer than us as a team. On behalf of all the Lionesses players, we’d like to thank our teammate Lotte Wubben-Moy as a driving force behind this transformational change.

“We couldn’t be prouder to stand alongside her and we all look forward to seeing the impact this legacy creates.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak added: “Last year the Lionesses’ victory changed the game. Young girls know when they take to the pitch that football is for them and, thanks to the Lionesses, they too could be a part of the next generation to bring it home for their country.

“We want schools to build on this legacy and give every girl the opportunity to do the same sports as boys, as well as provide a minimum of two hours of PE. This means every child can benefit from regular exercise and we are proud to provide them with the support needed to do so.”

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