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Impact: Opening School Facilities

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Posted 3rd May 2021

The Department for Education invested £1.6m into the Active Partnership Network in 2019-2020 as a test and learn project to better understand the barriers and drivers of schools to open their doors during evenings, weekends and holiday periods for community use.

23 Active Partnerships worked directly with 230 targeted primary and secondary schools and Sport England over the 15-month lifespan of the project.

The project uncovered some fantastic insights into a school’s motivation to open their doors for community use such as the primary driver being to strengthen links to their local community and to become a community hub.

The project also highlighted the importance of school leadership teams having a clear vision and mission to open their facilities during evenings and weekends to support the wellbeing of both their pupils and local community. There was also a clear correlation between a school having a strong extra-curricular or holiday programme and their likelihood to open their doors after 3pm for the remainder of the year.

The learnings from the test and learn project have been summarised in report and a number of case studies have also been created to help bring to life the key learnings. We hope that these learnings help to change how school facilities are perceived as a destination for sport and physical activity. As a sector we need to work together to change the narrative around the value of opening school facilities from income generation to being a fantastic way to strengthen a school’s links to their local community and also support clubs, community organisations, families and individuals to access these facilities more easily after 3pm.

A series of Case Studies have been produced for the project
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Access the case studies on this page

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