£415 million will be available from 2018 to fund new school sports facilities, Schools Week reports.
Education secretary Justine Greening announced the funding would be distributed through local councils of multi-academy trusts, allowing cash to be allotted based on the “local context”.
The funding programme, called the Healthy Pupils Capital Programme, will be financed through the government’s controversial sugar tax on drinks with high levels of added sugar.
Schools in smaller trusts, standalone trusts and sixth form centres will have to bid for cash from a new Healthy Pupils Capital Fund.
Greening said the cash will help “secure the future health of our young people”. She said:
“Schools can really help our children get a healthy start in life from exercise and sport, and also from knowing what a healthy diet means. It’s not only good for them while they’re in education, but the health and wellbeing benefits can last a lifetime.”
Primary, secondary and sixth form colleges can use the cash for facilities to provide PE, after-school sports and healthy eating initiatives.
The government have committed to the £415 million figure, regardless of how much the ‘sugar tax’ raises. The government estimates it will raise £1.2 billion from the tax on the soft drinks industry, from April 2018-2020.
Greening’s announcement is part of a £1.3 billion investment aimed at funding schools sports as well as breakfast clubs and universal infant free school meals.
New facilities will be able to support children with physical conditions, or support young people struggling with mental health issues, the government said.
The Department for Education will confirm the allocation formula, spending guidance and bidding criteria in the summer.
From September this year, the Department of Health’s “Childhood obesity: a plan for action” will be introduced, which includes a new voluntary “healthy schools rating scheme”.