Girls Day Schools Trust: national evaluation

This process was designed specifically to gauge the impact of, and girls’ attitudes towards, school PE and sport across the GDST network of 26 schools (24 schools and two academies) in England and Wales. It was driven by the GDST’s desire to offer the highest quality experience, to encourage girls to get involved in sport and adopt healthy lifestyles and to ensure that the quality of its PE and sport proposition stands out and distinguishes it from the competition. It successfully focused on five core elements:

  • School philosophy, leadership & staffing as it drives/affects PE and sport;
  • Pupil participation, experience & enjoyment;
  • The variety of PE, sports and activities on offer and girl’s response to this
  • Provision for competitive sport & talented pupils; and
  • Quantity, breadth, quality, availability and use of facilities

It was explicitly geared to evaluating whether and how girls enjoy, respond to and rate the PE they receive, how it is taught, the quality and relevance of curricular and extra-curricular opportunity and their preference for games and/or individual activities. Also assessed was the extent to which attitudes and preferences change as girls mature and how the ethos of the school and the quality and approach of PE staff and coaches affects perceptions and enjoyment.

KKP made recommendations both with regard to the approach taken at each individual school and on how the GDST network as a whole can improve PE and sporting provision.

Strongly supported by a specifically appointed cross-disciplinary project working group, the process encompassed all junior schools, senior schools and sixth forms with an initial emphasis on 11-18s. All 26 schools were visited and face to face interviews conducted with head and senior teachers, heads of PE and all PE staff and coaches.

150+ school staff (including head/senior teachers through to PE staff) were interviewed and all girls in each of years 8, 10 and 13 in every school surveyed. A total of 4,550 responses (85%% of all pupils in these cohorts) were analysed providing valid ‘food for thought’. Survey results were enhanced via focus groups conducted with year 8 and 10 pupils in each school; involving c. 500 girls in all.

The report includes a strategic overview, benchmarking, qualitative/quantitative performance analysis and specific recommendations.

Tom Beardmore-Gray, GDST Finance Director said: We expect our sporting offer to improve exponentially as a result of this project…it has been an important catalyst in improving the quality of sporting offer in all of GDST’s schools. KKP highlighted what was going well in each one and encouraged us to share best practice across the network. KKP also showed us how we could improve – we are now in the process of implementing its recommendations’.

As part of the process KKP presented at the GDST Heads’ Conference in October 2013 and to its ‘Sport for All’ themed Annual Conference in June 2014. We have now been commissioned to undertake follow up work in lieu of implementing some of the key recommendations.

Contact: clare.macleod@kkp.co.uk