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Specialist sports colleges are beginning to play an important part in raising the profile of physical education (PE...
Specialist sports colleges are beginning to play an important part in raising the profile of physical education (PE) and sport in schools and local communities, says a report published by OFSTED today.

Sports colleges - the first two years, draws on inspection evidence to evaluate the achievement of the first 26 sports colleges and to explore the role of these specialist colleges in developing PE and sport, not only in their own school but in partner schools and the local community. The report is produced jointly by OFSTED and the Youth Sport Trust.

Inspectors found that in their first two years sports colleges had generally developed close links with their partner primary and secondary schools and other providers of sport, such as local clubs.

They were also emerging as new key partners to local education authorities in supporting strategies for sport and PE, such as area-wide planning and use of resources.

The report says that the colleges are making a significant contribution to in-service training of teachers and to the professional development of sports coaches. They are also opening up opportunities for out-of-school hours learning in physical and sporting activities which is benefiting the colleges' own pupils and

members of the local community.

All these achievements are helping the sports colleges to achieve their overall aims, which include:

- raising standards of teaching and learning in PE and sport to

the benefit of all children;

- benefiting other schools in their local area and providing a

resource for the wider community;

- strengthening links between schools and private or charitable

sponsors; and

- extending the range of opportunities available to children which

best meet their needs and interests.

Early difficulties experienced by sports colleges in devising effective development plans and in linking capital project plans to lottery bids have been largely overcome as the second group of colleges learned from the experiences of the first.

Inspectors believe that the colleges also need to build on some good examples of the use of information and communication technology (ICT)in order to explore more fully the benefits of ICT in both teaching and administration.

As PE and sport have become central elements of the colleges since their inception, there are early but clear signs that examination results, in both PE and other subjects, are improving.


1. Sports colleges - the first two years, is published by The Stationery Office, priced£6.50 (ISBN 0-11-350112-9). Orders or enquiries to 0870 600 5522 (telephone) or 0870 600 5533 (fax).

2. Specialist sports and art colleges came into existence in September 1997. It is the government's intention to develop some 800 specialist schools by September 2003, of which about 110 will be sports colleges.

3. This report focuses on the approaches adopted by the first 26 sports colleges - 11 in the first group in September 1997 and 15 in the second group a year later - in seeking to achieve their targets.

4. All sports colleges have received inspection visits from her majesty's inspectors (HMI) in OFSTED during their first year of operation to establish the progress being made towards the targets each college set in its three-year development plan. Between September 1997 and December 1999, eight sports colleges also received section 10 inspections as part of OFSTED's national inspection programme.

5. The Youth Sport Trust is a registered charity established in 1994 to improve sporting provision for children in the UK. Its mission is to develop and implement, in close partnership with other organisations, quality physical education and sport

programmes for all young people aged 18 months to 18 years in schools and the community.

6. OFSTED is a non-ministerial government department established under the Education (Schools) Act 1992 to take responsibility for the inspection of all schools in England. Its staff includes her majesty's inspectors (HMI), who draw on inspection evidence to report on good practice in schools and on a wide range of educational issues.

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