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Department of Exercise and Sport Science. Masters by Research The evolution of the 5 hour offer for youth sport: the perceptions and experiences of policy-makers and practitioners Jamie Gold. Aims.

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department of exercise and sport science

Department of Exercise and Sport Science

Masters by Research

The evolution of the 5 hour offer for youth sport:

the perceptions and experiences of

policy-makers and practitioners

Jamie Gold

  • To contribute through an explanatory study to the knowledge and understanding of the nature, development and implementation of New Labour’s youth sport policy (YSP)
  • To inform more effective policy-making and practice in the future
policy defined
Policy defined

“A guide that establishes the parameters for decision making and action”

(Human Resource Council for the Voluntary and Non Profit Sector, 2009)

“A statement of intent regarding achieving, maintaining,

modifying or changing something”. Green (2010, p. 147)

“A set of interrelated decisions taken by a political actor or group of actors

concerning the selection of goals and the means of achieving them within

a specified situation where these decisions should, in principle, be within

the power of these actors to achieve”

Jenkins (as cited in Houlihan, 1997, p.3)


‘The provision of all 5-16 year olds with the weekly

opportunity to participate in two hours of high

quality National Curriculum PE and an additional

three hours of sport beyond the curriculum in

school, club and community settings’ DCSF (2007)

  • Launched in 2007 & enshrined in the Govt’s Public Service Agreement 22
  • Managed nationally via a partnership between Govt and sports development agencies & locally via a network of school sport partnerships (SSP)
  • Opportunities from grass roots to elite level, delivered via the PE and Sport Strategy for Young People (PESSYP)

Theoretical backdrop

The Multiple Streams Framework (MSF - Kingdon, 1995)

identifies 4 pervading influences and a ‘policy window’:

  • Ideas and ideology
  • Interest group activity
  • Institutional arrangements
  • Impact of significant individuals




  • Deductive study
  • Semi-structured 1:1 interviews:

- Derek (former officer directing PE/ sport across the DfES and

DCMS and currently a senior official with Sport England’s Young

People Directorate)

- George (senior officer, Youth Sport Trust)

- Vincent (former Sport Unlimited officer,Sport England)

- Colin (former New Labour minister at the DCMS)

- Teresa (freelance consultant on PE, sport and governance)

ideology ideas
Ideology & ideas

“The two main drivers were school improvement; so academic attainment,

behaviour, attendance.....and it was the health agenda” - Derek (DfE/ DCMS)

“The health agenda has always been a bit marginal” - Teresa (Consultant)

“If I mentioned sport to the National Health Service,

they would just run a mile” - Vincent (Sport England)

Maximising the sporting legacy from London 2012 “absolutely”

became a key driver - Derek

“It was largely the opportunity to sustain this” - George (YST)

Youth sport policy was driven by a “combination” of agendas, which also embraced

sport for sport sake. “I went to try and create a structure for sport that in its self

would be seamless..... a cultural shift” - Colin (DCMS)

interest groups
Interest groups
  • The PE fraternity

“concerted and collaborative lobbying” - Teresa (Consultant)

It was “not for sport for sport’s sake, it wasn’t put on the table for a love of PE; rather

it was put on the table because of what PE and school sport could do for school

improvement, behaviour and attendance” - Derek (DfE/ DCMS).

They “slowed down sports development immeasurably .....over the last two

decades.....Without my pragmatism and with (their) idealism, we wouldn’t

get anywhere.....I would say to the PE lot: ‘get over it. Join your thinking

around the (player) pathway’” - Vincent (Sport England)

“Well you know, the agenda for change around this stuff was just too significant, it

was too big, it was too fast moving to just give a lot of experts seats around the

table to contemplate what needed to happen” - George (YST).

interest groups1
Interest groups.....
  • Youth Sport Trust

“To change opportunities for kids across the spectrum”, but “we soon found

ourselves in the school sport territory” - George

“(school) was the place you can get to every kid..... (and where the ) system didn’t really think that school sport was that wasn’t really on anybody’s agenda” - George

“PE should have led the way with the YST in support, but unfortunately from a

PE point of view, it turned the other way, with the YST doing a bloody good job

of policy entrepreneur and implementation .....they managed their way

through the governmental morass very, very well” - Teresa

“When Blair came into power and he said the three priorities were ‘education,

education, education’; we then made damn sure that we demonstrated how

what we were doing could deliver what they wanted to achieve” - George

institutional arrangements
Institutional arrangements
  • The National Curriculum for PE
  • Relationship between PE & sport

“(The) position of PE as a National Curriculum subject is the single most

important piece of policy that we have and it’s the one where we are the

most envied across the world. And there is no doubt.....PESSYP couldn’t

have been a success without that position, without that status” - Teresa.

“the vast majority” of PE teachers began seeing themselves as “sport teachers.....

seduced by.....a sport-led policy, paid for by education” - Teresa

“you will still hear of ministers and even the prime minister talking about sport

when they mean PE and I think that sometimes you just have to accept that...

it really doesn’t matter” - George

institutional arrangements1
Institutional arrangements.....
  • Funding

”.....the amount of resources brought to the table can often govern

and drive what that agenda is” - George

“(The) UK School Games kind of appeared.....somebody, somewhere in Government

wanted a school games..... And all of a sudden money became available from Lottery....

We were a bit mystified because we had done all this work with governing bodies

around performance pathways. Why would you need a separate pathway for schools.....

which nobody really needed? And that was pretty much the opinion” - Vincent

“If you don’t spend it, you lose it. And so there is real pressure on implementers like

me to actually make sure that you use public money really well and you’re spending it

having acquired it..... So it was incredibly well intended and when funding became

available we had to go. We just had to move on it” - Vincent

institutional arrangements2
Institutional arrangements.....

“until you understand why…..(and) how civil

servants get promoted, you will not

understand the policy process. Because it is

not in their interest to make waves…..(or) to

look at the bigger picture. It is not in their

interest to be passionate about things…..

They have to meet the milestones and they

tick the boxes and they present that to

ministers. If on the way, they have totally

misunderstood the context within which

they are working, tough! So if they see some

drafting which they think is clumsy, even

though it may be because of technical

language, they will take responsibility to

change it and sometimes that means it

changes the sense” - Teresa

  • Civil servants
key individuals
Key individuals
  • Sue Campbell

“The real impetus for it was Sue Campbell, telling the secretaries of state (DfE and

DCMS) ‘we have got to do something about sport’” - Derek

“A very skilled policy entrepreneur.....she can persuade you to do anything and let

her loose on politicians and you see her working her magic” - Teresa

“Fantastic vision, fantastic determination, an unbelievable networker. Knows how to

make things happen. Very practical, cuts to the chase” - Vincent

“(A)great opportunity taker..... she is able to position things, sell things.....

incredibly persuasive” - George

“A very forceful character..... absolutely key.....she changed the culture” - Colin

“.....but you know sometimes there is enough kudos for everybody in this” - Derek

key individuals1
Key individuals.....
  • Tony Blair
  • Gordon Brown

“Absolutely committed” - Colin

“(He) wanted it to be more than what Tony Blair wanted and

Tony wanted four hours, so we had five” - Derek

“What happened quite quickly was that the new prime minister wanted to

ramp this up.....He decided to go one beyond that and say five (hours).....

So in other words, like a good politician, there were Brownie points to be made

from just ratcheting this up a bit. ‘Seventy percent of the work had been done

and if I can put a bit more in, I can get a lot out’” - George

“We were surprised, because he was briefed and it was four (hours). So when he

said five, we said: ‘blimey that’s really good’” - Vincent

  • An endorsement of the MSF as a model for analysing YSP
  • A dominant sport lobby/ agenda
  • The constraining nature of the policy process

“Policy is by definition complex and changeable and political actors who

recognise its nature are likely to be more successful than those who

uphold rational procedures” (John, 1998, p. 27).

a final thought from teresa
A final thought from Teresa

“I thought policy was a linear process, logical, well informed. Well it isn’t. It’s about whim, it’s about people’s ego and status and it’s about committee processes and making sure that we keep an eye on every single piece of the process..... That’s why I am so critical of so much policy analysis which only looks at text. Because textual analysis only tells you about what is produced. It does not tell you about the process and it does not tell you anything about the dynamics of the struggle. It doesn’t tell you about the horse trading. It doesn’t tell you about the things that you tried to get through and you couldn’t. And what you got through and which was even more difficult than anyone might imagine”.

selected references
Selected references

Department for Children Schools and Families., Department for Culture Media and Sport., Sport England & Youth Sport Trust (2009). The PE and sport strategy for young people - a guide to delivering the five hour offer. London: DCSF, DCMS, Sport England & YST.

Green, K. (2008). Understanding physical education. London: Sage.

Houlihan, B., & Green, M. (2006). The changing status of school sport and physical education: explaining policy change. Sport, Education and Society 11 (1), 73-92.

John, P. (1998). Analysing public policy. London: Continuum.

Kingdon, J.W. (1995). Agendas, alternatives and public policies (2nd ed.). New York: Longman.

Penney, D. & Evans, J. (1999). Politics, policy and practice in physical education. London: E.& F.N. Spon.

Penney, D. and Evans, J. (2005). Policy, power and politics in physical education. In K. Green and K. Hardman (Eds.), Physical education - essential issues (pp. 21-38). London: Sage.

Strategic Policy Making Team (1999). Professional policy making for the twenty first century. London: Cabinet Office.