School Games Evaluation

Youth Sport Trust

The Client

The Youth Sport Trust (YST) is a national children’s charity working with educators and young people with the vision of creating a future where every child enjoys the life-changing benefits of play and sport.

The project with inFocus focused on the School Games, which is a government programme (funded by Sport England) providing young people in England with the opportunity to be more physically active whilst targeting those that need our help the most to participate in inclusive competitive sport at both the primary and secondary level. The competitions are designed by National Governing Bodies (NGBs) and delivered by School Games Organisers (SGOs) who work as part of the School Games. The following three elements are also key to the School Games:

  • Tackling inequalities
  • Youth Engagement
  • Physical Literacy

There is currently a vast range of School Games formats delivered across the School Games programme, which differ between National Governing Bodies (NGBs).

The Challenge

The Youth Sport Trust as the funded development agency for School looked to update their School Games formats offer, and required a piece of research to be conducted to understand how stakeholders used the formats and gather their feedback on what the future formats should look like.   

The Project Solution

A key focus on this project was to involve as many stakeholders as possible, within the short time frame, to ensure the findings and recommendations are as representative of the views of various stakeholders. Within the two months’ time frame to collect data, the inFocus team engaged National Governing Bodies, School Games Organisers, Development Coaches, Active Partnerships and young people through surveys and in-person events.

InFocus adopt creative methods for focus groups as a key approach, particularly with young people. For this assignment our evaluators conducted workshops in both primary and secondary schools using practical activities, photo prompts and drawing activities to gather information about the outcomes they have experienced/would like to focus on when participating in School Games formats. The young people also designed their ‘ideal event’, which shaped the feedback on what future School Games formats should include.

The project included regular meetings between the evaluation team and YST to share initial findings and feedback, and to shape the final report to the needs of the client.

inFocus also conducted a recommendation workshop with key individuals from YST to discuss priority areas moving forwards, and what the next steps could look like in the development of the new formats. An additional workshop was also conducted with the School Games  consultation group which is made up of colleagues from across the network and from the regions to present the finding and, to finalise the recommendations, and to provide wider stakeholders with an opportunity to review priority areas and identify any gaps.

Client Feedback

Feedback from the client indicated that the work with inFocus was successful in meeting their needs. Our support helped them to move onto the next phase of the School Games Format review. Giving them real time insights from the network. The organisation is now using the recommendations from the research to engage the NGBs and to develop a checklist to align formats, redesign the cards, and develop visual resources with NGBs.

The team were appreciative of the participatory approach, and the inclusion of youth voice in an interactive way.

“I think the other good thing that you guys were able to do is to get into schools, because I think that’s really difficult to do. I think it’s difficult to get genuine pupil voice and I think you’ve achieved that which I think is great.” Staff member, Youth Sport Trust

Moreover, the client enjoyed how flexible the inFocus team are to work with. This ensured the project could adopt a collaborative approach, with both sides being able to share their thoughts along the way.

“inFocus were really professional in their approach, asking pertinent questions and fulfilling the brief to a high standard. As a team they are really easy to work alongside, making the whole process an enjoyable experience.” Consultant, Youth Sport Trust

“I would say that we were so impressed with how quickly you hit the ground running, how agile and flexible you were in terms of moving the evaluation forward in that kind of really tight timescale.” Staff member, Youth Sport Trust

Project Deliverables

The project involved a final report and summary visual report to present the feedback from all stakeholders, and provide clear recommendations for different actors within the School Games network, on the next steps for the School Games formats

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