Several children are using sports equipment including balls and hula hoops, whilst being active on school grounds after school, as a result of the opening schools facilities funding.

Opening Schools Facilities Funding is Having a Positive Impact in Devon

Opening Schools Facilities funding is helping schools across the country to open their sports facilities outside of the normal school day, (evening, weekends and holidays). The aim is to support a broader range of young people and local communities, to access more opportunities to be physically active, and create sustainable change in physical activity levels. This includes schools partnering with sporting and community organisations, who can help deliver activities in their settings.

As an Active Partnership we’ve been awarded a share of this three-year investment to support schools across Devon in areas of greatest need, and below is an overview of progress so far.

If you would also like to find out more about Opening Schools Facilities (OSF), so you can read our previous news story or visit the Active Partnerships website.

As part of our continued support to schools across Devon that are opening their school’s facilities, we’ve also put together some useful resources to help you along the way. You’ll find these on our Resources and Best Practice page.

Opening Schools Facilities Funding in Devon – Year One and Two Summary

Since March 2022, we’ve been building stronger relationships with the 32 schools that have received Opening Schools Facilities funding, as well as connecting and collaborating with national and local partners to support the schools. Such as, the Active Partnership team, StreetGames, ukactive, Youth Sport Trust, plus a range of physical activity providers across Devon.

By working closely together, we’ve helped the schools to develop and deliver their plans towards providing more varied physical activity opportunities for their pupils or students and the local community, outside of the school day. This has included schools purchasing equipment and providing accessible and suitable environments. Plus, supporting school staff and the community to upskill, re-train or gain a qualification to help their offer become sustainable.

Across the 32 schools, 88 amazing projects are being delivered, with 35 different physical activity and sports opportunities being offered.

Several projects support people with special educational needs and disabilities or have a focus on encouraging women and girls to be more active.

Types of activities across the projects range from yoga, multi-sport club, gym and fitness, archery, rowing and parkour, to a wide range of ball sports and activities, dance, climbing, boxing, trampolining, Taekwondo, cycling, outdoor play, plus lots more.

Opening Schools Facilities Funding in Devon – Year Three of Funding

In year three, we will be extending our work by looking to embed OSF into the wider communities. Working together with the schools, we will be focusing on community engagement and sustainability.

Examples of How the Funding is Making a Positive Impact in Devon

We visited several schools to see first-hand how the funding is being used. Here’s a collection of short videos and quotes from these visits that show the positive impact OSF is having.

Several students are using running machines in the new fitness suite refurbished using Opening Schools Facilities funding. There is other equipment in the fitness suite, including static bikes in the foreground.

Paignton Academy OSF Project (One)

Paignton Academy used the OSF funding to refurbish their fitness suite. This is to encourage pupils who have less access to facilities or prefer individual sport, to use it and be more active and independent.

Paignton Academy OSF Project (Two)

Paignton Academy used the OSF funding to run an after-school Inclusion Club for young people who have a special educational need or disability or have been identified as benefitting from going along.

More information about the project work and activities taking place at Paignton Academy, has been shared in PE Matters and on the Active Partnerships website. Here’s the article for you to read:  Increasing students confidence and self esteem through Opening School Facilities. | Active Partnerships

Quotes from Schools, Pupils, Parents and Community Users

“Having the equipment that gives the children the opportunity to practice climbing, moving and jumping and build upon strength and confidence is really important.”

Assistant Head and Lead for Early Years at Mill Water School

“From our perspective as physical educators, you can’t put a price on the impact the fitness suite can have on the mental health side of things and also just to get the students physically active and the barriers that this takes away.”

Head of PE at Paignton Academy

“We’re now two months in and already we are seeing the marked difference this is making, not just to students, not just to the extra-curricular provision, but also we feel that the opportunities to improve their mental health, activity levels and their social mobility will blossom and grow even further.”

Assistant Principal at Paignton Academy

“I put on a free trial session for anyone who wanted to come along and be part of Bee Netball. I had 30 children turn up and we were joined by Jenny Kelly from England Netball, who delivered the session. It was a huge success. Then from that we asked parents who would be interested. Some signed up, but some didn’t because of the cost, and that’s when I got involved in finding funding. I was determined to get these children to be part of the club and I didn’t want the money to be a factor in that because I knew how a lot of these children would benefit from being part of this sort of programme.”

Headteacher at St Paul’s Catholic Primary School

“The fitness suite has been an absolute game changer for us. I run the girl’s fitness suite club on a Thursday and we’re now having to run it on alternate days for year groups because we had 45 girls turn up in one week. It’s made such a difference to the engagement of the girls.”

PE Teacher at Paignton Academy

“It’s really important that our children are seen and heard and involved with the neurotypical and mainstream children. So, opening our facilities, and having families and siblings get together, plus the community, means that our voice is heard, our children are seen and become part of what their community is.”

Headteacher at Mill Water School

“A big outcome for the club is about self-confidence and self-worth. So many children that have got maybe low self-esteem or maybe are unable to access other types of provision because a lot of extra-curricular opportunities in schools is based around competition and performance. So, this is one opportunity where the children can go along and take part with other students that are there also just to participate and enjoy themselves.”

Cluster Development Manager at Paignton Academy

“My daughter seems much more enthusiastic about all sports and not just netball. It’s had a really positive impact.”

Parent of the child who attended the Bee Netball sessions at St Paul’s Catholic Primary School

An adult is moving a child, who is a wheelchair user, around a purpose made outdoor track and short course, using a power assisted electric wheelchair bike. The Opening Schools Facilities funding has helped towards making this happen.
Four children, that are taking part in the Bee Netball sessions and wearing the Bee Netball kit, are reading information on the wall about how to play. The netball sessions have

Mill Water School OSF Project

Mill Water is a Specialist School. The OSF funding has given the school the opportunity to have facilities and equipment to encourage other families in, and be alongside the students, siblings and families.

St Paul’s Catholic Primary School OSF Project

St Paul’s Catholic Primary School used their OSF funding to offer Bee Netball sessions at the school and enable their school children to take part, giving the children a chance to enjoy playing netball together.

Several boys and girls playing football outside on school grounds after school, using school facilities as a result of the opening schools facilities funding.

Caen Community Primary School OSF Project

With the OSF funding, Caen Community Primary School created an outdoor space with sports equipment for children to use at weekends, plus are able to offer fitness sessions to parents and the community.

OSF Impact in Devon

OSF funding is helping 32 Devon schools provide 88 projects, offering 35 varied physical activity and sports opportunities. This is supporting young people and communities to be physically active, and we will be working together with schools to focus on more community engagement and sustainability.

Learn More About OSF in Devon

For more information about OSF in Devon, or to discuss any of the above information, please contact: lisa.alford@activedevon.org.