Sioned Hancock, Ysgol Y Strade,
There's a sporting revolution going on at a school in Llanelli
with pupils embracing sport like never before.
A shake up of old fashioned PE kit and giving pupils an
increased say in school sport is getting children involved in
sports like waterpolo, archery and judo. And what's more, it's
improving confidence, self worth and whole host of other
The findings of the 2013 Sport Wales School Sport Survey
prompted the school's Head of Physical Education to make some
Sioned Hancock approached the School Sports Council - which is
made up of pupils - to help her devise ways to encourage more
children to take part.
"It would be easy to do the survey and then just let it sit on
the shelf," said Sioned. "But we wanted to build and develop."
One of the first things to change was the out-dated PE kit:
"It really needed modernising. We came up with 20 different
options and the whole school voted and narrowed it down to three.
The School Sports Council made the final decision.
"We have had really positive feedback. The girls are now pushing
for leggings which we'll consider if it helps girls with confidence
and body image."
The survey also identified a demand in the area for racquet
sports and cycling that prompted Ysgol y Strade and the local
primary schools to work together and focus on these sports,
organising coaching and festivals.
Ysgol y Strade - and each of the local primary schools - also
has their own individual targets and they meet up to discuss
progress. The work has even been presented to Heads of PE across
Carmarthenshire's secondary schools as well as the regional Sport
& Leisure Physical Literacy steering group with the aim that
other clusters may adopt a similar approach.
Responding to calls for more sporting role models, pupils have
been to watch Wimbledon. Sporting legend Non Evans and Team GB
waterpolo captain Craig Figes have also given inspirational talks.
"We have even skyped Tanni Grey Thompson," says Sioned.
She underlines that the Sport Wales School Sport Survey is not
just a set of results, but that it's making a real difference:
"There's more enthusiasm to take part in a wider range of
sports. We saw huge numbers wanting to get involved in archery
sessions - and pupils who wouldn't normally be engaged in
"More pupils want to get involved in the School Sports Council -
they see that it makes a difference and they want to help come up
with ideas and make decisions.
"I've seen confidence levels improve among pupils involved in
the School Sports Council as well improved behaviour and self
worth, leadership and communication skills."
The School Sport Survey is set to gather the opinions of
children right across Wales once again this spring. Sioned says
Ysgol y Strade will definitely be getting involved:
"It's a great way to find out what's working well and what's
not. It helps us as a school to keep building and keep
And should other schools get involved? "Absolutely! If you want
to make changes and you need to persuade the governors and your
Headteacher, the survey is a really good tool. You have statistics
to compare with other schools and that means you have evidence to
back up your argument."
The 2015 School Sport Survey will be a great tool
for identifying what changes are working particularly well and what
areas we need to focus our efforts on in the next couple of
years. To ensure that the data is as robust and therefore
useful as it can be, we need as many children as possible to be