The Football Association of Wales is the governing body of football in Wales and, in addition to its administration responsibilities for football, has the responsibility of running the international teams. Alongside the FAW, the Welsh Football Trust (WFT) is the charitable organisation responsible for developing the grassroots game, including working with coaches and volunteers and increasing opportunities for young players to play and improve.
Here, FAW Research and Evaluation Officer Llŷr Roberts, and the WFT’s Operations Manager Kevin Moon describe how the School Sport Survey can make a difference for Welsh football.
There are many different elements to our work but ultimately we want Wales to become a more successful football nation at grassroots and international level.
Among our high level targets are for Wales to achieve a Seven Star Rating for the UEFA Grass Roots Charter, and to qualify for major international tournaments.
Football is by far the most watch and played sport in the country but, to keep it that way and continue to grow and improve, we need to have a picture of the participation and views of the people who we want to play and enjoy the game.
At a grassroots level, the Sport Wales School Sport Survey gives us a valuable suite of data that we can use as evidence and background to guide our work and target our resources.
Using the data from 2011, we wanted to establish baseline figures of both club membership and also wider participation in football. We have information relating to club membership but needed assistance in obtaining indicators of informal participation so that we know exactly what types of footballing opportunities young people are taking part in.
We have been working with Data Unit Wales to undertake initial research and recommendations, but the School Sport Survey provides both membership and participation data and prevents duplication of work.
We will also be using School Sport Survey as the data source for our annual reporting and making use of the forthcoming adult survey data for the senior game.
The term ‘school’ in the title of the survey masks how much pupils filling in the questionnaire can influence how the game of football in Wales is planned. That is why we would urge schools to complete the survey and ensure that all of us working in sport have the knowledge and information to provide the best possible opportunities we can.
Llŷr Roberts and Kevin Moon.
For more information on the Sport Wales School Sport Survey visit www.schoolsportsurvey.org.uk.