Rule of six for indoor adult team sport will not apply to Further Education settings

Following the government’s announcement last week that the “rule of six” would be extended to all adult indoor team sports, AoC Sport has been working closely with the Department for Education to determine how college sport is affected by these developments.

The Department for Education has now confirmed that:

Organised indoor college sport, for groups of more than six, is permitted in further education settings where it is part of an education or training provision, or as part of college teams. 

“This includes where participants represent the education setting they belong to i.e college team, or where it is part of Further Education settings’ own  extra-curricular activity.

This applies to all age groups. However, sport should take place outside where possible.”

It is also confirmed that colleges can continue to welcome opposing teams for fixtures, adding that Education settings can have a team from another education setting participate in indoor sport, in their setting, as part of this activity”.

Colleges must continue to ensure that all participants comply with COVID-19 secure measures, including the ‘system of controls’ for their setting and limit social interaction outside of the sporting activity.

The DfE also confirmed that:

Informal student-led sporting activity, where it is not in line with any education or training provision, should be limited to groups of six or less. This includes where students have free time such as lunch time, breaks and free periods.

There is also a welcome exemption to the rule of six for organised indoor team sports for disabled people. Not allowing indoor sport would have a disproportionate impact on disabled people, as a significant proportion of team sport for this group takes place in indoor settings.

Colleges must continue to deliver sport and physical activity in line with National Governing Body and DCMS guidance.

Dean Hardman, Director of Sport and Student Experience at AoC said: “We are very pleased the Department of Education has confirmed that college sport, which plays such a vital role in ensuring the mental and physical health of young people, is exempt from the most recent restrictions affecting indoor team sport.

“College sport, both indoor and out, is a key aspect of the student experience in colleges and should be maintained wherever possible in a safe and appropriate way.

“We are very optimistic that we will be able to continue to include indoor team sports as part of our competition offer for colleges, in particular our established league and cup competitions. We are working directly with the respective NGBs to determine any additional guidance that might be required and we will, of course, continue to monitor national developments over the coming days and weeks.

Our competitions updates will remain the best source of information for fixture and other details related to competitive sport.”

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