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.
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.
Headline findings 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.
National researcher for Sport Wales, Becca Mattingley, is keen to point out how the data will shape future sports planning. She said:
“This survey provides the sports sector with essential information about the state of sport in Wales through the eyes of children and young people.
“Pupils tell us which sports they take part in - both in school and in the community - and the types of activities they want to do more of. We get feedback on their attitudes towards taking part in PE and sport and what they think of sports provision, allowing us to check whether the services provided meet their needs.
“We also get vital feedback from the teachers who provide school based activities – such as how much time and staff resources are put towards providing quality physical education and sport, what activities are provided and how schools and community clubs link together.
“This information will help us understand how the education and sports sectors are delivering, as we aim to provide all children and young people with the skills and opportunities they need to participate in sport and enjoy a healthy lifestyle.”
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 is now being piloted at a number of English and Welsh Language schools, with the full survey going live on 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:
“To achieve the largest survey of school pupils in Wales was very encouraging for us, particularly leading up to 2012 as it provided schools and local authorities with detailed information to positively influence their sports provision.
“But there were also many local authorities and schools who did not get the data because they did not get sufficient response rates.
“I would ask how they can plan to grow, resource and invest without this detailed picture of sport for young people.
“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