Peter Drew, CEO Tennis Wales
Introducing tennis to children at school is probably the most important part of Tennis Wales’ 2020 Vision Plan to grow the game. Tennis Wales is aiming to double tennis participation over the next few years and introducing children to tennis at school is a very important part of that objective. We want every child in Wales to have the opportunity to be introduced to tennis when they are at school and the School Sport Survey helps us greatly to understand how successful we are being with that, and helps us to identify where the gaps are and where we need to be better at that.
The data that we got from the 2011 School Sport Survey was extremely useful to us when we came to develop our 2020 Vision Plan in 2012. Some of the key themes that we saw from the data were that 60% of Primary Schools provided tennis, 53% of Secondary Schools provided tennis, and 40% of children Year 3 to 6 played tennis. This is very valuable information for us because by 2020 we want all of these numbers to be as close to 100% as possible. The 2013 survey will help us to know how successful our current strategies are for trying to achieve this. The 2011 data also showed several other very interesting and useful trends for us. It showed us that at Primary School there are roughly equal numbers of boys and girls playing tennis, but at Secondary School there is a significant drop-off in girls relative to boys. As a result of this we have now introduced two new programmes aimed at retaining and attracting more teenage girls to tennis. The 2011 data also showed us that there was a big increase in school tennis participation in 2009 coinciding with a big push in the schools tennis programme the year before when a lot of our current schools tennis initiatives were launched. We also saw that there is a really huge latent demand for children at school who would like to play more tennis. Tennis has one of the highest levels of latent demand in school children out of all the sports in Wales. So this means we know that investing significant resources into our schools tennis programme is going to have a big impact on tennis participation. This is very valuable information both for Tennis Wales and for its other funding partners, namely Sport Wales and the Tennis Foundation. From this data Tennis Wales, Sport Wales, and the Tennis Foundation can all be very confident that investing resources into schools tennis in Wales is going to have a very positive impact on getting every child in Wales hooked on sport.
Tennis Wales is increasingly using a very focussed, evidence based approach to developing and implementing its strategies, and determining where to prioritise its resources. The School Sport Survey is absolutely critical for this purpose and is one of our most useful strategic tools.