Government guidance on extra-curricular sport

The Youth Sport Trust, Sport and Recreation Alliance, ukactive and Association for Physical Education have come together to help clarify what extra-curricular sport is permitted under government’s new lockdown guidance.

The most recent guidance from the Department for Education, published on 6 November, advised that:

"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."

It also said that:

"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."

The Youth Sport Trust, Sport and Recreation Alliance, ukactive and Association for Physical Education have together sought clarity from government on how schools should interpret this guidance.

Following consultation with government departments, we can advise that:

  • Schools should continue to provide extra-curricular sport as long as they can do so in a way which i) maintains the integrity of schools’ COVID-19 protocols such as their approach to bubbles, staffing and social distancing and ii) is subject to appropriate risk assessment.
  • Where the guidance refers to supporting parents to work, there is no additional need for schools to prove that extra-curricular clubs are helping parents to work or seek work.
  • Extra-curricular clubs should not take place if they are bringing together groups of young people who would not otherwise be spending time together. 
  • ​​​​Competition between different schools should not take place, in line with the wider restrictions on grassroots sport.

This interpretation of the full guidance has been approved by the Department for Education and Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Other guidance specific to PE and sport is as follows:

It is important that children continue to remain fit and active and, wherever possible, have the 60 active minutes of daily physical activity recommended by the Chief Medical Officers.

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.

Schools must only provide team sports listed on the return to recreational team sport framework.

Pupils should be kept in consistent groups and sports equipment thoroughly cleaned between each use by different individual groups.

Outdoor sports should be prioritised or large indoor spaces maximising natural ventilation flows (through opening windows/doors or air conditioning systems),

Distancing between pupils and paying scrupulous attention to cleaning and hygiene.

External facilities can also be used in line with government guidance for the use of, and travel to and from, those facilities.

Schools are able to work with external coaches, clubs and organisations for curricular activities where they are satisfied that it is safe to do so.

Activities such as active miles, making break times and lessons active and encouraging active travel help to enable pupils to be physically active while encouraging physical distancing.

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