In 2011, Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council were one of just three local authorities in Wales to receive a full School Sport Survey report. Here, Lynn Phillips, Assistant Director in Blaenau Gwent’s Education and Leisure Directorate, explains how their commitment to get the data they wanted helped to get the reports.
The important thing for us from the start was to have that underlying baseline and picture of participation and provision in our area. We need to make decisions in the future about services that impact on children in our area so we need to have the information and knowledge to help us do that successfully.
We had an Estyn inspection coming up and we knew how the evidence from the survey could be used, as well as having the baseline for future impact.
It was important as well that we had school level as well as local authority level data and I’ve been really pleased with how the schools are using the data positively to make improvements. It is important for us as a team that we can demonstrate that the work we are doing is having the impact we want on sport in Blaenau Gwent.
When we were going out to schools and teaching staff to talk about the survey we felt we needed to show how committed we were to the project and the importance of the data. We met with head teachers regularly to answers any questions and concerns.
In fairness to our sport team they were relentless in their determination to get reports. I think we, as a local authority sport team, need to have that drive. If we haven’t got it then we wouldn’t expect others to have the motivation to fill out the survey. We know that schools have a heavy workload and lots of priorities, but this is important and we think we put that across.
For 2013 we’ll learn from last time and we know that the questions have been looked at and the IT.
But the main message for the team will be to show that commitment to getting the data again.
We can also demonstrate the results we had in 2011. Yes, we’ve got the gender participation gap, which is the same as the national picture. But we also found that in certain schools where we have specific projects or provision we’ve managed to close and stop that gap.
It’s only by having the data we’ll know these things and be able to address them.
The Sport Wales School Sport Survey goes live from April 8th 2013. For more information visit www.schoolsportsurvey.org.uk.