John Bentley, CEO of Inspiring Learning, comments on the government's latest policy paper on sport

Let’s work to improve sporting outcomes

While I welcome the latest government strategy to tackle the flat-lining levels of sports participation, as outlined in the recent Sporting Future: A New Strategy for an Active Nation’  policy paper, I do have a concern.

I believe that generally there is too much focus on numbers and not enough on the positive physical and psychological outcomes that sports participation brings. If young people understood those, they might be more inclined to participate. 


Despite the government’s £750m pledge to extend the direct funding scheme for school sport for a further five years, this doesn’t address all the issues around this subject, such as for example timetabling. When a pupil is taken to a school sports field for a lesson there is frequently not even enough time for a proper game or discussion of strategies, how to work as a team, as so much of the time is taken up with changing and sometimes even travelling to the facilities.

By taking children on organised developmental sports trips you ensure that they are not just playing matches, but are training for three to four hours a day. That’s 12-16 hours of coaching and development during a four-day trip, which is equivalent to more than a whole term’s worth of extra-curricular sport and far more likely to interest a student so that they become more engaged and involved with sport. 



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