Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted)
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Learning lessons from School Sport Partnerships

An Ofsted report launched today, picking out the lessons learned from School Sport Partnerships, says schools should build strong partnerships with sports clubs, community groups and other local organisations to stimulate participation and competition in the variety of PE and sports on offer and engage children at risk of adopting unhealthy lifestyles.

The report, a survey of good practice, shows that by offering a wide range of activities, from boxing to basketball, to fencing and dance, schools raise participation and competition in sport. It shows that collaborative planning can increase the capacity of schools to improve PE and sport. Inspectors also found effective use of the 2012 Olympics boosted pupils’ interest in learning and academic achievement.

Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Christine Gilbert, said:

“This report shows that where secondary, primary and special schools can work together they can increase the quality and quantity of PE and sports opportunities on offer for young people. Partnership in teaching and leadership can have a positive impact on both pupils’ participation in PE and sports and their overall performance at school.

“Each case study takes one aspect of innovative practice and describes it in detail. We hope this approach will enable other schools to learn from the case studies and to improve the way they engage children and young people in sport and physical exercise.”

In the School Sport Partnerships inspected, strong partnerships were built between schools, local authorities, leisure services, sports organisations and local clubs who worked jointly to increase the quantity and quality of PE and sports activities. Inspectors also found good examples of School Sport Partnerships providing a range of breakfast and after-school clubs in activities such as kick-boxing, squash, and rugby. School Sport Partnerships regularly brought in specialist coaches to develop pupils as junior leaders in sports such as gymnastics and provide practical support for teachers.

The values of the 2012 Olympics were used to stimulate pupils’ interest in learning and motivate children to boost their academic achievement. City Academy School Sport Partnership (Bristol) used PE and sport to engage children in mathematics, running an ‘Olympic SATs booster programme’ during the school holidays and organising practical Olympic-themed mathematical problems to help boost pupils’ academic achievement.

The Olympics were also used to develop leadership among pupils, with growing numbers of pupils of all ages being given the opportunity to run clubs and competitions for others. Older pupils led play activities for younger children, with Year 5 and 6 pupils (end of primary school) and secondary school pupils involved in organising a range of sporting festivals and events.

Strong partnerships helped develop pathways for children to move from participating in PE and school sports to competing as members of community sports clubs. For example, the Rugby Football Union worked with Wyre and Fylde School Sport Partnership to strengthen links between schools and clubs, organising rugby mini-festivals and tournaments to boost the numbers of junior players competing in mini-rugby.

The report shows that schools and their partners can learn from the 12 School Sport Partnerships featured and apply the lessons learned.

Notes for Editors

1. The report School Sport Partnerships: A survey of good practice applies to England. Ofsted reports are available on the Ofsted website at

2. The 12 SSPs featured in the report are as follows:

  • Hamble SSP (Southampton)
  • Rye Hills SSP (Redcar and Cleveland)
  • West Sussex SSP
  • Corpus Christi SSP (Lancashire)
  • City Academy SSP (Bristol)
  • The Mountbatten SSP (Hampshire)
  • Thirsk SSP (Yorkshire)
  • The Vale SSP (Oxfordshire)
  • West Oxfordshire SSP
  • Wyre and Fylde SSP (Lancashire)
  • Chorley SSP (Lancashire)
  • Buckingham SSP.

3. Since 2006, all schools in England have been part of an SSP. They are a family of secondary, primary and special schools working together to increase the quality and quantity of PE and sports opportunities for young people.

In October 2010, the Department for Education informed the Youth Sport Trust that ring-fenced funding for SSPs would not be continued after March 2011 in order to allow schools to concentrate on competitive school sport. Schools were free to continue to work in partnership to deliver school sport if they wished, but they were not required to do so. The Department for Education confirmed that it would pay SSPs for the full school year to the end of the summer term 2011 to ensure the partnerships and their service could continue until the end of the academic year.

In December 2010 it confirmed that every secondary school would receive funding up to the end of 2013 to pay for one day a week of a PE teacher’s time to be spent out of the classroom, encouraging greater take-up of competitive sport in primary schools and securing a fixture network for schools to increase the amount of intra- and inter-school competition.

4. The Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted) regulates and inspects to achieve excellence in the care of children and young people, and in education and skills for learners of all ages. It regulates and inspects childcare and children's social care, and inspects the Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service (Cafcass), schools, colleges, initial teacher training, work-based learning and skills training, adult and community learning, and education and training in prisons and other secure establishments. It assesses council children’s services, and inspects services for looked after children, safeguarding and child protection.

5. Media can contact the Ofsted Press Office through 020 7421 6574 or via Ofsted's enquiry line 0300 1231231 between 8.30am - 6.30pm Monday - Friday. Out of these hours, during evenings and weekends, the duty press officer can be reached on 07919 057359.


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