School Sport Survey: How we did it




Vale of Glamorgan

Undertaking the School Sport Survey may be a daunting task for schools and local authorities, so back in 2013 we asked the Vale of Glamorgan to share how they tackled the task.

How did you approach the 2013 School Sport Survey?

We didn't have the manpower to physically go into schools to support them. And besides, we wanted schools to value and own the process.

We set up a steering group, sent information to headteachers and attended different meetings to explain the survey and sell it. We offered a cash prize draw for schools in the Vale that had to be spent on tackling an area raised in the survey report.

What did you do once the survey was live?

To qualify for a Local Authority report, we needed a cross-section of schools - eg, schools from different Free School Meal quartiles. The steering group approached specific schools to take part.

We could see if schools had started the process but not finished it so we'd call and tell them how many more children were required to qualify for a report. 

What advice would you give other Local Authorities?

Schools will get involved for different reasons. Some will want a dedicated report on health and wellbeing, some will compare themselves to neighbouring schools and some will want to win the prize draw.

We also explained to schools that if they were arguing for an extra resource or intervention, the report may provide the evidence to back up the request. And maybe we could offer support?

What are your tips for schools to complete the survey as efficiently as possible?

Every school is different so it's not one size fits all. It can depend on a number of factors - eg, the ICT available

A champion in school itself to engage other staff is vital

You need to survey different year groups, so you need more than one member of staff to drive it forward

It's important that schools know the survey can be flexible to suit the school. If you want to survey one pupil at a time, you can. If you want to cover whole classes at a time, you can.

The survey is live for an entire term so if you want to do it in the first week, you can. Or save it to the last week. It's really what works best for you.

There is support available so ring your local authority sports development team if you need to

Why do it?

Previously, we collected programme data on Dragon Sport and 5x60. But that only shows us part of the story. The School Sport Survey captures wider population data.

It has allowed us to base our work programmes and investment on areas of need. Everything we plan now is based on robust data. It's not just what we think we should do for children in the Vale of Glamorgan. We have evidence to back it up.

What's changed since the survey?

The way we approach and react to work is different - especially in primary schools. We analyse school reports, pull out areas where we can make the biggest difference and tailor interventions.

For example, we have looked at the five lowest schools in terms of participation and introduced a Young Leadership programme. A number of young leaders will be trained up to run lunchtime clubs, act as role models and encourage children to take part. We believe this will help increase participation and is a good example of how we are using the insights from the School Sports Survey.

For more information about the 2018 School Sport Survey, visit