The below reflects guidance as at 2 June 2021.
Schools have the flexibility to decide how physical education, sport and physical activity will be provided while following the measures in their system of controls.
Organised sport is sport that is formally organised by a qualified instructor, club, national governing body, company or charity and follows sport-specific guidance. If the sport is not organised by one of these groups (for example, pupils having a kickabout) or the sport’s NGB guidance is not being followed (for example, a football club ignoring the FA’s safety measures) this is considered to be informal or self-organised sport.
Arrangements should be carefully risk assessed and the Government has released a number of guidance notes relating to sports and physical activity.
Schools have a certain amount of flexibility to decide how this will be done and which sports can be provided. Indoor and outdoor competitions between different schools can now take place, with changing rooms allowed to open with their use being minimised. Spectators are also permitted at indoor and outdoor grassroots sport events with capacity limits applied.
Risk assessment considerations for sports and physical activity should include:
Pupils should be kept in constant groups and sports equipment thoroughly cleaned between each use by individual groups. Contact sports should generally be avoided and outdoor sports should be prioritised. Where outdoor sports cannot be provided, large indoor spaces should be used where distance between pupils is maximised and extra consideration is provided to cleaning and hygiene.
The guidance recommends limiting the sharing of equipment and pupils should use their own equipment (eg tennis racquet, golf club or basketball). Where this is not possible, pupils should practice strict hand hygiene.
Regular hand washing is generally encouraged during sport, as the nature of physical activity means that pupils will be required to have shared contact with objects (eg a ball).
Competitive team sports are generally only permitted if the Return to recreational team sport framework is fully implemented by a national governing body (NGB) and complemented by a public health approved action plan for each sport, with activity taking place under an official governing body’s oversight.
Many NGBs have developed guidance under the principles of the team sport framework above. For further information, please see the relevant body website:
Schools should also review their insurance policies or obtain advice from their insurer, broker or local authority to ensure their proposed activities and/or arrangements will be adequately covered.