Monday, February 25, 2013

School Sport Survey 2013 - an Important Tool, by Kate Fox Parry

As preparations for the beginning of the 2013 School Sport Survey are well underway, Kate Fox-Parry – Headteacher of Ysgol Gynradd Cae’r Nant, Connah’s Quay, Flintshire explains why she feels it is so important for every school to take part.

Last year, 2012 was the year that had the X factor as far as British Sport was concerned. I am sure that the spectacle of the Olympic and Paralympic Games inspired everyone young and old? I was certainly sitting on the edge of my seat and glued to the T.V. screen for the whole of the Olympics. This was followed by an inspirational Ryder Cup Team that claimed victory from the edge of defeat in Medinah and not forgetting the physical strength and mental tenacity demonstrated by Bradley Wiggins in winning the Tour de France earlier in the year. The children returned to school after the summer holidays buzzing with excitement, and eager to begin practising their physical education skills and playing for the school teams.

The Sport Wales School Sport Survey is an important tool for it will inform future physical education and sports provision for Wales and so I urge as many schools as possible to participate in the survey so that the “big picture” is clear. Educators and students will be able to inform us via their responses of how they want to shape physical education provision both in school and in their communities. Pupils will have a voice and an opportunity to have their say. As a school you will receive a personalised report which will provide valuable information about your pupils and your school and the standards of well-being, physical participation and attitudes that your young people have. This will obviously allow you to plan for future provision in your Local Authority and school and may be the evidence base for future Estyn inspections.       

Every day sports personalities from all around the world perform their skills at the highest level unifying the world with their brilliance and inspiring others to replicate their feats and successes. Each one was once a child, a pupil at a school and must have been inspired themselves to develop their talents and pursue their individual goals. The source of inspiration could have been parents, coaches or very often their teachers. As professionals we need to realise the positive influences we can have on shaping our children’s education and developing their knowledge, skills and self- esteem as well as nurturing our future sporting heroes. The physical well-being of pupils in Wales needs and depends on you SO PLEASE ALLOW TIME TO RESPOND.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Yuck! There is unicorn-meat in my squirrel-lasagne!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

On Your Marks....School Sport Survey 2013, by Becca Mattingley

Preparations for the 2013 School Sport Survey are now well underway as targets are set to beat more participation records.

Becca Mattingley is leading on the Wales-wide research project for Sport Wales, and explains here what has been done in preparation for the major online sport survey.

In 2011, Sport Wales conducted the biggest survey of children, young people and sport in Wales to date.  A few short of 40,000 pupils completed an online questionnaire, making this the most successful survey outcome we have seen since these surveys began over a decade ago.
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, how do schools and community clubs link together to provide all-round opportunities for young people? 
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.
Where are we now?
·         During January, we piloted the questionnaire and software, in English and Welsh*, and are in the process of making final checks on the wording and structure of the questionnaires.  We’ve had very helpful feedback from teachers and pupils and as a result have adapted some questions to make them easier to read.  Wherever possible, we’re making the survey quicker to complete while still collecting the data used by Sport Wales, Welsh Government and partners to assess progress.

·         Local authority teams and regional officers are putting together their plans for supporting schools in their community in the run up to and during the summer term, when the survey goes ‘live’.

·         The Research team and Snap Surveys are setting up the databases and software packages that will hold every school’s results.  Snap will be providing a live monitoring system for Sport Wales and each of the 22 LAs to monitor and track their response rates.

·         With input from regional officers and the School Sport Survey Steering Group, we will shortly start to design the templates for the automated reports that will be produced when the survey closes.  These reports will be sent out to every school, local authority and region that qualifies by getting a balanced sample of responses. 
Sport Wales would not be able to undertake such a large survey without the support provided by local authority staff: sports development teams, active young people teams, education and leisure departments, schools and most importantly, the pupils themselves.  Don’t forget – the survey goes live on APRIL 8th and is open until the end of term.  We want as many schools and pupils to have their say on sport as possible.
*Special thanks to the RCT Sports Development team, Sport Pembrokeshire,  Caradog Primary School, Ferndale Comprehensive School, Ysgol Penweddig and Ysgol Gymraeg Aberystwyth

Monday, February 4, 2013

Six months after the Games by Professor Laura McAllister

After a memorable 2012 comes a new year of challenges in Welsh sport. Professor Laura McAllister explains how Wales is focussing its legacy effort.

Six months on since the floodlights were turned off at the spectacular Olympic Park in Stratford and I am keen to reflect on the progress that has been made towards achieving our Vision for Sport in Wales.
I am genuinely pleased with many of the reports of the surge of interest at our grassroots clubs across the country. You can find evidence of this from Welsh Gymnastics (20%) and Swim Wales (39%) who have both seen big increases in their membership levels in the last quarter of the year (link to hot topic story). Pleasingly, reports of more boys wanting to take up gymnastics shows the power of how watching their new heroes medal in London can instantly transfer to interest in our communities.

Other sports - athletics (12%), cycling (24%), Boxing (33%) and hockey (32% of clubs) – have also reported significant increases, while we have also been impressed by other sports like canoeing who have told us of the 30 new clubs that have been established in Wales, as well as the big numbers now on Welsh Sailing’s learn to sail programme, and the legacy plans in disability sport such as their focus on the inSport programme.
On the other hand, there are sports that have not seen the same initial growth, which is a cause for great disappointment. Why have some sports and clubs managed to prepare and market themselves so well and held the door open to new participants, while in other sports the unique opportunities presented by London 2012 would seem to have been lost?

Thankfully, the overall picture is positive but, as we develop our new Partner Investment Principles, let me be clear that it is those who have shown they can be successful by planning and boosting the numbers of young people involved in sport who will be looked on as strong and reliable partners in achieving our vision when we have to make difficult funding decisions.

We must always remember that public funding is a privilege and not a right, and we will look at every penny that we invest in Welsh sport to ensure that we make the most of the resources we have to get every child hooked on sport and to punch above our weight on the elite stage.
As a Board Member of UK Sport I know how difficult decisions on funding can be. The recent funding announcements leading up to the next Olympics and Paralympics in Rio 2016 give an indication of the culture which exists in sport. Those who show they can achieve are rewarded, while those who do not meet expectations and targets will not be allowed to drift.

This attitude is something our Board at Sport Wales are fully behind as we move forward over the coming months and years, particularly as we have another fantastic opportunity to promote sport with the Commonwealth Games in 2014.
Returning to the grassroots again, I am still slightly concerned at the lack of evidence from some partners on planning for our workforce needs in Wales. It is all well and good coming up with targets and ambitions for increases in participants, but this must be married with detailed planning for coaches, volunteers and the paid workforce to support it.

We have seen positive gains in our work to develop young leaders and to support elite coaches, just for two examples. Around 1700 Young Ambassadors have been recruited across our primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities this year to act as sporting role models, while working in partnership with Sports Leaders UK and several governing bodies we have trained around 6,000 young people in leadership skills to be able to deliver and assist sporting opportunities in schools and communities.

On the high performance side, we have nine elite or aspiring coaches part of the UK-wide Inspire/Aspire coach mentoring programme – including Welsh Gymnastics coach Olivia Bryl, who was recently named Young Coach of the Year at the UK Coaching Awards.

But until the workforce agenda is a regular item at every board meeting, and prominent in every business plan for partners, then we are missing the opportunity for real progress. Make no mistake, Sport Wales will be scrutinising our own work in this area too, particularly as we look at how we can support the grassroots so that they have access to information, support and funding when they need it. At the moment, research is showing that this knowledge and support is the exception rather than the rule.

More than ever, the last six months have focused on the importance of schools and the whole education sector to our work for sport.

You will all know that we now have a Joint Ministerial Task and Finish Group which will be reporting on its work later in the year and again highlighting the vital importance of PE and physical literacy.
I am very much of the opinion that a school with sport at its heart is a high performing school.
And on the subject of evidence, we are now making final preparations for our biennial School Sport Survey.

To achieve the largest survey of school pupils in Wales in 2011 was very encouraging for us, particularly leading up to 2012. But there were also many local authorities and schools who did not get the appropriate data because they did not get sufficient response rates.
It is a fair question to 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.

More than ever, we will be using this evidence-based research to influence the decisions we make on our resources – as I’ve touched on above.

2013 will see us continue to push forward with an added emphasis on women and girls, ensuring child poverty and sport is at the fore of our work and making inroads into getting other under-represented groups participating in sport. Sports plans without these areas included are not sports plans that are meeting the needs of all of our citizens.

Finally, I want to end this latest blog with a word on Dr Huw Jones, our Chief Executive who has just announced his intention to retire from his position later this year.

Huw has made such an incredible impact on sport during his time at Sport Wales, including 15 years as Chief Executive, and the fruits of his hard work, enthusiasm and professionalism will be a lasting legacy. Huw has been a superb colleague to me and to you all, and he will be a hard act to follow. On all of your behalfs, I would like to thank Huw for his fantastic work for Welsh sport.

But this is an opportunity for us too and we look ahead to the recruitment process for a new CEO at a time when Sport Wales’s stock is sky high and the profile of sport in Wales is so positive. I will have more updates on progress as we continue to find the right person with the energy and drive to continue to propel us towards our Vision for Sport in Wales.

Sport has never had such a high profile, but with that comes even greater scrutiny.  Huw has steered the organisation through significant cultural change, setting a new ambitious vision and targets along the way. I can reassure you all that we will not be diverted from the strategic direction that has been put in place, for the simple reason that it is the right one.

Mae’n chwe mis ers diffodd y llifoleuadau yn y Parc Olympaidd trawiadol yn Stratford ac rydw i’n awyddus i edrych ar y cynnydd sydd wedi cael ei wneud tuag at gyflawni ein Gweledigaeth ar gyfer Chwaraeon yng Nghymru.
Rydw i wir yn falch o glywed am y cynnydd yn y diddordeb yn ein clybiau ni ar lawr gwlad ar hyd a lled Cymru. Mae tystiolaeth o hyn i’w gael gan Gymnasteg Cymru (20%) a Nofio Cymru (39%), dau gorff sydd wedi gweld cynnydd mawr yn lefel eu haelodau yn ystod chwarter olaf y flwyddyn (link to hot topic story). Ac mae’n bleser clywed yr adroddiadau am fwy o fechgyn eisiau cymryd rhan mewn gymnasteg, sy’n dangos bod gwylio eu harwyr newydd yn cipio medalau yn Llundain yn gallu trosglwyddo’n uniongyrchol yn ddiddordeb newydd yn ein cymunedau ni.
Mae chwaraeon eraill - athletau (12%), beicio (24%), bocsio (33%) a hoci (32%) – i gyd wedi cofnodi cynnydd sylweddol hefyd. Ac mae sawl camp wedi gwneud argraff fawr, fel canŵio, sydd wedi dweud wrthym am y 30 o glybiau newydd sydd wedi cael eu sefydlu yng Nghymru, yn ogystal â’r nifer fawr sy’n rhan o raglen dysgu hwylio Hwylio Cymru yn awr, a’r cynlluniau treftadaeth mewn chwaraeon anabledd, fel eu ffocws ar y rhaglen inSport.                
Ar y llaw arall, mae yna chwaraeon nad ydynt wedi gweld yr un twf, sy’n siom fawr i ni. Sut mae rhai chwaraeon a chlybiau wedi llwyddo i baratoi a marchnata eu hunain mor dda, ac wedi agor y drws i gyfranogwyr newydd, ac eto mewn chwaraeon eraill mae’r cyfleoedd unigryw a gyflwynwyd gan Lundain 2012 wedi’u colli yn ôl pob tebyg?   
Rhaid diolch bod y darlun cyffredinol yn un cadarnhaol ond, wrth i ni ddatblygu Egwyddorion Buddsoddiad Partner newydd, gadewch i mi ddatgan yn glir mai’r rhai sydd wedi dangos eu bod yn gallu bod yn llwyddiannus drwy gynllunio a rhoi hwb i nifer y bobl ifanc sy’n cymryd rhan mewn chwaraeon fydd yn cael eu hystyried fel partneriaid cryf a dibynadwy ar gyfer cyflawni ein gweledigaeth pan fydd raid i ni wneud penderfyniadau cyllido anodd.
Mae’n rhaid i ni gofio bob amser mai braint, ac nid hawl, yw arian cyhoeddus, a byddwn yn edrych yn fanwl ar bob ceiniog y byddwn yn ei buddsoddi mewn chwaraeon yng Nghymru, er mwyn sicrhau ein bod yn gwneud yn fawr o’r adnoddau sydd gennym ni i gael pob plentyn i wirioni ar chwaraeon ac i ragori ar ein disgwyliadau ar y llwyfan elitaidd.
Fel aelod o Fwrdd UK Sport, rydw i’n gwybod pa mor anodd yw gwneud penderfyniadau am gyllid. Mae’r cyhoeddiadau cyllido diweddar sy’n arwain at y Gemau Olympaidd a Pharlympaidd nesaf yn Rio 2016 yn arwydd o’r diwylliant sy’n bodoli mewn chwaraeon. Mae’r rhai sy’n dangos eu bod yn cyflawni’n cael eu gwobrwyo ac ni fydd y rhai nad ydynt yn bodloni’r disgwyliadau a’r targedau’n cael llithro o’n gafael.          
Mae ein Bwrdd ni yn Chwaraeon Cymru’n gefnogol i’r agwedd hon wrth i ni symud ymlaen yn ystod y misoedd a’r blynyddoedd nesaf, yn enwedig gan fod gennym ni gyfle ffantastig arall i hybu chwaraeon gyda Gemau’r Gymanwlad yn 2014.
Gan ddychwelyd at lawr gwlad unwaith eto, rydw i dal yn poeni braidd am y diffyg tystiolaeth gan rai partneriaid o gynllunio ar gyfer anghenion ein gweithlu yng Nghymru. Mae meddwl am dargedau ac uchelgais ar gyfer cyfranogiad yn dderbyniol iawn, ond mae’n rhaid priodi hyn â chynlluniau manwl ar gyfer hyfforddwyr, gwirfoddolwyr a’r gweithlu di-dâl, i’w cefnogi.  
Rydyn ni wedi gweld cynnydd cadarnhaol yn ein gwaith ni i ddatblygu arweinwyr ifanc ac i gefnogi hyfforddwyr elitaidd, fel dwy enghraifft. Mae tua 1700 o Lysgenhadon Ifanc wedi cael eu recriwtio eleni yn ein hysgolion cynradd ac uwchradd ni, ac yn y colegau a’r prifysgolion, i weithredu fel modelau rôl mewn chwaraeon. Hefyd, gan weithio mewn partneriaeth â Sports Leaders UK a sawl corff rheoli arall, rydyn ni wedi hyfforddi tua 6,000 o bobl ifanc mewn sgiliau arwain, i allu cyflwyno a helpu gyda chyfleoedd chwaraeon mewn ysgolion a chymunedau.                  
O ran perfformio ar lefel uchel, mae gennym ni yn awr hyfforddwyr elitaidd, neu hyfforddwyr sy’n anelu at fod yn rhai elitaidd, ar raglen mentora hyfforddwyr Inspire/Aspire y DU – gan gynnwys hyfforddwraig Gymnasteg Cymru, Olivia Bryl, a gafodd ei henwi’n ddiweddar yn Hyfforddwr Ifanc y Flwyddyn yng Ngwobrau Hyfforddi’r DU.
Ond hyd nes bod agenda’r gweithlu yn eitem reolaidd ym mhob cyfarfod bwrdd, ac yn amlwg ym mhob cynllun busnes gan bartneriaid, yna rydyn ni’n colli cyfleoedd i sicrhau cynnydd go iawn. A chofiwch, bydd Chwaraeon Cymru’n edrych yn fanwl iawn ar ein gwaith ni ein hunain yn y maes hwn hefyd, yn enwedig os ydyn ni am edrych ar sut gallwn ni gefnogi chwaraeon ar lawr gwlad, fel bod ganddynt wybodaeth, cefnogaeth a chyllid pan mae arnynt eu hangen. Ar hyn o bryd, mae’r gwaith ymchwil yn dangos mai eithriad yw’r wybodaeth a’r gefnogaeth hon, yn hytrach na rheol.                        
Yn fwy nag erioed, mae’r chwe mis diwethaf wedi canolbwyntio ar bwysigrwydd ysgolion a’r sector addysg yn ei gyfanrwydd i’n gwaith ni dros chwaraeon.
Rydych chi i gyd yn gwybod bod gennym ni Grŵp Gorchwyl a Gorffen ar y cyd â Gweinidogion yn ei le erbyn hyn, a bydd yn adrodd yn ôl ar ei waith yn nes ymlaen eleni.     
Rydw  i o’r farn bod ysgol sy’n rhoi lle canolog ac allweddol i chwaraeon yn ysgol sy’n perfformio ar lefel uchel.
Ac wrth gyfeirio at dystiolaeth, rydyn ni ar hyn o bryd yn gwneud y paratoadau terfynol ar gyfer yr Arolwg yr ydym yn ei gynnal bob dwy flynedd ar Chwaraeon Ysgol. 
Roedd sicrhau’r arolwg mwyaf ar ddisgyblion ysgol yng Nghymru yn 2011 yn galonogol iawn i ni, yn enwedig yn ystod y cyfnod yn arwain at 2012. Ond hefyd roedd llawer o awdurdodau lleol ac ysgolion na chawsant y data priodol am nad oeddent wedi sicrhau cyfraddau ymateb digonol.         
Mae’n gwestiwn teg i’w ofyn: sut gallant gynllunio i ehangu, darparu adnoddau a buddsoddi heb y darlun manwl yma o chwaraeon ar gyfer pobl ifanc?
Bydd lefel y data a gaiff eu casglu drwy Arolwg 2013 ar Chwaraeon Ysgol yn galluogi i ni wneud cynnydd sylweddol o ran deall beth sy’n digwydd ‘ar y tir’, a deall agweddau disgyblion tuag at chwaraeon a hamdden gorfforol. Bydd hefyd yn sail i’n penderfyniadau ni ar gynllunio, a dyna pam mae mor bwysig i’n partneriaid ni – yn enwedig mewn awdurdodau lleol – wrth i ni edrych ar adeiladu ar y digwyddiadau mawr yn Llundain yn 2012 a Glasgow 2014.
Yn fwy nag erioed, byddwn yn defnyddio’r ymchwil yma sy’n seiliedig ar dystiolaeth i ddylanwadu ar y penderfyniadau rydyn ni’n eu gwneud am adnoddau – fel rydw i wedi’i grybwyll uchod.
Yn 2013 byddwn yn dal ati i wthio ymlaen gyda phwyslais cryfach ar ferched a genethod, gan sicrhau bod tlodi plant a chwaraeon yn cael lle blaenllaw yn ein gwaith ni hefyd, a sicrhau cynnydd o ran cael grwpiau eraill a dangynrychiolir i gymryd rhan mewn chwaraeon. Nid yw cynlluniau chwaraeon nad ydynt yn cynnwys y meysydd hyn yn gynlluniau chwaraeon sy’n diwallu anghenion ein dinasyddion ni i gyd.       
Yn olaf, fe hoffwn i orffen y blog diweddaraf yma gyda gair am Dr Huw Jones, ein Prif Weithredwr ni sydd newydd gyhoeddi ei fwriad i ymddeol o’i swydd yn nes ymlaen eleni.            
Mae Huw wedi cael effaith anhygoel ar chwaraeon yn ystod ei gyfnod yn Chwaraeon Cymru, gan gynnwys 15 mlynedd fel Prif Weithredwr, a bydd ffrwyth ei waith caled, ei frwdfrydedd a’i broffesiynoldeb yn dreftadaeth barhaus. Mae Huw wedi bod yn gydweithiwr rhagorol i mi ac i bob un ohonoch chi, a bydd yn anodd llenwi’r bwlch mae’n ei adael ar ei ôl. Ar eich rhan chi i gyd, hoffwn ddiolch i Huw am ei waith rhagorol dros chwaraeon yng Nghymru.
Ond mae hwn yn gyfle i ni hefyd edrych ymlaen at y broses recriwtio ar gyfer Prif Swyddog Gweithredol newydd, ar adeg pan mae Chwaraeon Cymru yn uchel iawn ei barch a phroffil chwaraeon yng Nghymru mor gadarnhaol. Bydd gen i fwy o newyddion am y cynnydd wrth i ni barhau i chwilio am y person mwyaf priodol; person sydd ag egni a brwdfrydedd i barhau i’n symud ni tuag at ein Gweledigaeth ar gyfer Chwaraeon yng Nghymru.
Dydi chwaraeon erioed wedi mwynhau proffil mor uchel, ond ynghlwm wrth hynny mae mwy fyth o graffu. Mae Huw wedi llywio’r sefydliad drwy newid diwylliannol sylweddol, gan bennu gweledigaeth a thargedau newydd uchelgeisiol ar hyd y daith. Gallaf eich sicrhau chi na fyddwn yn gwyro oddi wrth y cyfeiriad strategol sydd wedi cael ei roi yn ei le, am y rheswm syml mai hwn yw’r un iawn.