Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson.
Data from the national school sport survey can help Wales to make sport fun and enjoyable for every single person in the classroom according to Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson.
And she is calling on all schools in Wales to take part in this year’s survey to make a difference to our children’s sporting future.
Sport Wales is making final preparations for the second ever national School Sport Survey. In 2011, 40,000 completed the online questionnaire – the biggest survey of children, young people and sport in Wales to date.
Welsh sport chiefs are targeting a record number of school children in a bid to get the clearest ever picture of participation across the country.
And in a blog for Sport Wales, the Paralympic legend sets out the reason why school sport has such an important role. She writes:
“We all know that sport and PE is very important to schools in Wales so it’s crucial that we continue to set the right tone for young people. It’s not just about supporting the few who excel but it’s about making it fun and enjoyable for every single person in the class– by getting that right we will see a more active, healthier population who will hopefully continue to participate in sport for the rest of their lives.
“But of course, it is also about improving the talent pathway. The better we are at recognising and nurturing talent within the school playground, the more pupils we will see coming through at higher levels. However it’s not as if we are doing really badly at the moment – we are doing very well, but we perhaps still need more young people competing at an elite level to encourage and inspire everybody else.
“This is where the School Sport Survey comes into play – it’s a very important tool for sport in Wales. The data collected is priceless; we get to know what’s happening in schools and what’s not. Everybody’s experience of PE and sport is obviously different but getting these honest responses can help mould policy and funding while also improving experience.
It’s important that we measure PE and sport rather than basing our findings on anecdotal evidence. Policy makers cannot base decisions on what PE was like when they were in school or what it was like five years ago, we need to be asking people who are experiencing it right now.”
Headline findings from 2011 included levels of club participation for primary school pupils being at their highest recorded level (85%) since 2000, whilst the gender gap between boys and girls taking part in sport was found to increase through secondary school years.
“We desperately need a healthier population in Wales – it’s not just about making children and young adults participate in physical education because it is good for them or forcing them to do something they do not like,” adds Baroness Grey-Thompson. “A successful sports programme can have a positive effect on issues such as teenage pregnancies, social skills and relationships as well as helping the next generation to stay fit and healthy throughout life.
“We know that schools and teachers are under a lot of pressure and have lots of different priorities which may mean the School Sport Survey may not necessarily come top of the list. However the data collected affects decision making at lots of different levels. I urge every school to take the time to fill in the survey because it does make a difference to sport in Wales and that difference is our children’s future.”
Schools and local authority areas who achieve enough respondents are entitled to a free personalised report on the results of their pupils, with the overall aim of making evidence-based decisions and improvements.
Importantly, Estyn recognise the survey as an effective tool for evidencing well-being in their self-evaluation guidance for schools.
The bilingual Snap survey will be going live from April 8th until the end of summer term. Schools will receive personalised instructions to access their own survey.
Sport Wales Chair, Professor Laura McAllister said:
“The level of data collected through the School Sport Survey in 2013 will allow us to make considerable headway in understanding what is happening ‘on the ground’ and understanding pupils’ attitudes towards sport and physical recreation.
“It will also inform decisions we make on planning, which is why it is so important for our partners – particularly in local authorities – as we look to build on the major events in London in 2012 and Glasgow 2014.”
To find out more, visit www.schoolsportsurvey.org.uk