Opening School Facilities

39% of sporting facilities are behind school gates. We are looking to understand and support schools to open up 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.

What is the project?

As part of the School Sport and Activity Action Plan, the Department for Education have invested into a pilot project to support schools to open their sports facilities. 19 projects across England have been funded through the Active Partnerships Network and will be running until August 2020. 

This project 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 learning from this will then be shared to support schools across Greater Manchester to offer more, and more varied, opportunities for pupils and the wider community to be active.

This work is part of a national drive to encourage young people to take part in 60 minutes of physical activity per day, currently in Greater Manchester 45.2% of young people are achieving Chief Medical Officer guidelines. The Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, recently announced total funding worth £2.4 million for better sport activities and teaching; including for schools in the 19 pilot areas to collaborate with sports organisations to increase the opportunities to use school sports facilities outside the school day.

Further details please contact

How will this work in Greater Manchester?

GreaterSport are leading the learning project across fours boroughs of Greater Manchester (Manchester, Oldham, Salford, and Tameside), this is to ensure that we can achieve a greater depth of learning to help inform guidance for other boroughs moving forward.

The initial focus of this work is to gather intelligence on the facilities available in secondary schools and how they are used by the school and local community, as well as identifying good practice which can be shared locally and nationally. We are extending the scope of the work to include primary schools where we feel there are opportunities to help schools to open up their facilities to the community for sport and physical activity. We would also like to better understand the barriers that primary schools face in doing this.

We will be identifying focused schools to collaborate with to understand the barriers and opportunities that exist. There are some great assets being utilised, therefore, we will highlight the varied sporting offers available from good practice examples. These will focus on how offers were developed, finding out what is working well for schools across the network, and trying to better understand some of the challenges schools face in opening up their facilities to community use and helping to broaden the offer of sport and physical activity in their communities.

Facilities in Greater Manchester

To support this work we have put together a short survey to help in the understanding of what facilities your school has, if they are used out of school hours and how they are used. The survey should take no longer than 5 minutes to complete. 

Thank you in advance for taking the time to complete this form. The information you provide will be used to support an evaluation of current facility usage and the opportunities available for pupils, staff, and the local community to access them. Furthermore, this will provide learning around how facilities are used outside of curriculum time, sharing successful operating models and the barriers to additional usage.

School Facilities Survey


Sport England Facilities and planning

How to open facilities?

Sport England have developed a variety of resources for both schools and communities to support in the opening of school facilities. These include guidance and resources relating to overcoming barriers, open facilities in practice, tips from those already going through the process, the case for community use and the legal and financial implications.

If you are within one of the four focus areas of Greater Manchester (Manchester, Oldham, Salford or Tameside), and are interested in learning more about this work, please contact Lauren Whaley.