Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson blogs on the importance of the School Sport Survey and why it’s not just about the children who enjoy sport but why it’s about making sport good for the person who likes sport the least.
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.
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. 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.
For more on the School Sport Survey visit www.schoolsportsurvey.org.uk.