Opening Up School Facilities

The project, part of Active 60, aims to improve the understanding of the current landscape as well as the barriers, solutions and success factors which are linked to school facility usage after the school day, at weekends and during the holidays.

The School Facilities Project

As part of the School Sport and Activity Action Plan, the Department for Education invested into a pilot project to support schools to open their sports facilities.

During the pilot, London Sport worked to learn from schools and support them with opening their sports facilities in order to broaden the offer of extra-curricular and out-of-school sporting and physical activities available to pupils and the wider community. For more information on this pilot project, see below.

In March 2021, the government announced further funding for opening school facilities which will allow London Sport to distribute grants of up to £10,000 towards schools with high percentage of pupils eligible for free school meals or in areas of high inactivity.

London Sport will test a number of different approaches in schools, based on needs identified by school leaders and young people in the school, so that we are able to learn in a variety of different situations.

It will improve the understanding of the current landscape as well as the barriers, solutions and success factors which are linked to school facility usage outside of the school day, at weekends and during the holidays.

The specific aims for the project are:

  1. Provide greater community access to school sporting facilities outside of school hours i.e. after school, at weekends and during school holidays.
  2. Increase the range of sporting and physical activities available to both the pupils at your school, and the wider community on your school site.
  3. Encourage more young people to form a physical activity habit for life.

Opening Up School Facilities Updates

NEWS: Schools in London are to benefit from £1m of support to open their facilities to the community outside of the normal school day to allow young people more opportunities to be physical active. Read more here.

EXPRESSION OF INTEREST: The deadline for schools to express their interest in being part of this initial pilot closed on 1 October 2020. A review of received EoIs is due to take place 2-9 October with decisions made and communicated with schools w/c Monday 12 October.

OPPORTUNITY: Schools interested in opening up their facilities for greater community physical activity and sport use are invited to express their interest to London Sport using the form available. 

This opportunity has now closed.

BLOG: Specialist Advisor for Children and Young People Gary Palmer looks at how broadening access to school’s sport facilities could be a vital piece to the puzzle of re-activating our children following the period of lockdown due to the covid-19 outbreak. Read his blog here.

NEWS: London Sport welcomes new government funding to help schools open up sports facilities all year round. London Sport will receive part of a £1.6m government fund to assist schools open up their sports facilities all year round to boost physical activity levels in the capital. Read more here.

Resources and Learnings

Pilot Project: Working with Three Croydon Schools

In Phase 1, school selection was based on appetite from the school and need (low activity levels etc). This case study looks at the lessons learned from our work with three schools.

Pilot Project: Creating a Community Boxing Club with Oasis Academy

During phase 1, we worked with Oasis Academy to support them identify activities that will appeal to their pupils as well as how to maximise the space they had available to them. 

Big thanks also to Active Partnerships who commissioned the video (right) – produced by Tale Productions – which explains a bit more about our work.

Sport England Support

Use our School is a free resource from Sport England that supports schools to open their facilities to the community.

Opening your facilities at evenings and weekends can benefit your school (raised profile and presence in the community and delivering physical and mental health benefits) and your community’s local sports clubs.

More information and contact details:

For more information around our School Facilities programme, please contact us on schoolsaccess@londonsport.org.