«Developing the Potential of Young People in Sport A report for sportscotland by The University of Edinburgh Developing the Potential of Young People ...»
The issue about that is voluntary sport's a bit like that. Anybody who puts their hand up gets to do it. I think what we're saying now is that ‘well it's a bit more than that’. There needs to be a support mechanism to allow people to do it in the best way possible and also some training for them that's not too much of an imposition on them. People can’t do that or don't have the personal time to do that. To do it on a week by week basis is the best way. This is the best way to do it.
The organic nature of the programme is well demonstrated by comments in this section.
Both resources and training were adjusted in the light of feedback from earlier participants. Pleasingly, participants reported satisfaction with both resources and training. Indeed, the overall impression appeared to support the efficacy of the DPYPS approach over other initiative-based or even conventional training and/or support packages.
Section 5 Impact of the Intervention
5.1 Children 5.1.1 Overview of Data Collection and Analysis This section of the report aims to assess the extent of any behavioural or attitudinal impact of the DPYPS programme on the children involved. Participation levels and self-perception instruments have measured this over a variety of time scales, ranging from ten weeks to one year, with DPYPS involvement ranging from ten to 20 weeks.
For reference, baseline participation data was reported in the initial interim report, with any directly relevant data repeated here. The data were collected through the ‘Young Persons Physical Activity Questionnaire’ and the ‘Young Persons Perceptions Questionnaire’ (presented to sportscotland by the University of Edinburgh), and evaluation was carried out at three stages throughout the year, namely, December 2002 before the beginning of the programme, mid-term in October 2003 and finally post DPYPS in December 2003. This allowed a variety of cross sectional analyses, acute and chronic tracking to be done at a variety of age levels.
As we recognised at the beginning of the DPYPS programme, changing behaviour, in conjunction with attitudes, is the ultimate goal for any participation promotion initiative. However, it is also the most difficult thing to change, and the short time scale that was afforded to the DPYPS pilot programme was recognised as too short to hope for such a significant impact. Furthermore, comments by the Local Authorities, Specialists and Seconded Teachers also highlighted that to change participation and perceptions was an unrealistic expectation considering the short term nature of the pilot. However, some interesting and unexpected data have emerged and are presented below.
Due to practical reasons, the cross sectional analysis for the children involved purely at secondary school was not appropriate and would therefore fail to provide meaningful information or add value to the tracking data. There were several reasons for this. The delayed commencement of DPYPS in the Stirling clusters meant that they were not in a position to utilise this style of evaluation at all, regardless of how well the programme ran. The Stirling clusters were only involved for one ten week block between October and December 2003 and therefore there was no comparison available between cohorts over the time scale of a year.
While the North Ayrshire cluster did run the programme over the year, unfortunately there were several problems associated with the cross sectional analysis at the secondary school that diminished its meaningfulness and value as an evaluation comparison of whole year groups. The first reason relates to the fact that the secondary school response to the club was ad hoc. The S1 and S2 groups who chose to take part had one ten week block of DPYPS each. The S2 group were trained between January and March 2003, and the S1 group between May and June
2003. The club did not run in the subsequent school year from October to December 2003 for practical reasons. Secondly, over the whole year there was a small uptake to the programme (S1 – 30, S2 - 20). These issues, combined with the ad hoc nature of the programme in secondary schools renders the cross sectional year group analysis far less meaningful and therefore adds no value on top of the individual tracking data, which will be presented later. Indeed, even to split the cross sectional analysis into groups of those who took part and those who did not (DPYPS versus control) would leave the problem where it would not be possible to differentiate between the effects of DPYPS programme and the characteristics of those who chose to take part.
These problems notwithstanding, the baseline data of P7 and S1 North Ayrshire children in December 2002 will be compared in a cross sectional manner. New cohorts of P7 and S1 in December 2003 had all received either one ten week block of DPYPS as P7 between October and December 2003 or two ten week blocks of DPYPS as P7 from January to June 2003. Therefore, every child took part in at least one block of work and can therefore be compared with the cohort before it who did not take part in any DPYPS training. However, it must be recognised that one caveat of this data analysis is that there are no control schools involved to compare against – unfortunately, there are simply no others in the area.
Some caveats also need to be addressed when interpreting the tracking data. There were two forms of analysis over the two areas. The first looked at the immediate acute effects of the programme. In this analysis, both of the areas had P7 cohorts who had received a ten week block of DPYPS training with data collected immediately before and after the programme. The second form of tracking was following children across year groups. This only occurred in North Ayrshire for the reasons outlined earlier and occurred for each age group involved, P7 to S1, S1 to S2, and S2 to S3. It is important to note, as the DPYPS baseline report and past research shows (e.g. Sallis, 1993), the trend towards a natural decline in participation and perception rates from year to year. Therefore, while one would ultimately look for an increase in participation and attitudes over time to show improvement, this must be considered within the context of the natural decline that occurs as children get older. Additionally, within participation, specialisation often also starts to increase the older the children get (Bloom, 1985; Cote, 1999). However, while there are some sport specific differences (Rowley, 1992), research does highlight that this is not beneficial for children’s overall development if this transition happens too early (Carlson, 1988). Therefore, at the young ages a decrease in levels of specialisation could also be considered a positive outcome.
Finally, in all statistical analyses, several characteristics must be considered against the ‘apparent’ results. The high variation in data against the relatively small numbers in the analyses inevitably limits the achievement of statistical significance. Neither can this limitation necessarily be countered by consideration of other indices, such as effect size. Rather, trends in the data must be considered against the ‘real-life’ meaning of the various findings. Thus, for example, has the programme been successful in countering the decreased participation trend to an extent sufficient to have meaningful consequences in either the short or long term?
5.1.2 Quantitative Data
The cross sectional analysis reveals that there is small positive, but insignificant overall difference between the two year groups for average number of clubs attended (F (1, 273) = 0.226, p0.05). Interestingly, when gender is considered, there was an increase in all groups with the exception of female out of school clubs. However, again there was no significant interaction effect of gender (F (1, 273) = 0.425, p0.05).
The importance of this has been mentioned earlier in the introduction to this section, where it has been shown that early specialisation in a specific sport may hinder development. With regards to the data above, even though there is little change in average number of clubs attended, the results regarding specialisation and inactivity were positive, revealing that, for both males and females, less children were sedentary (25% and 11% less females and males respectively did no activity (group 0)). Children involved in the DPYPS programme also showed higher participation levels, with less totally inactive and less participating in many different clubs. Thus DPYPS appeared to encourage the inactive to get involved, and those participating in a wide variety of clubs to ‘get serious’ on fewer sports.
S1 – Cross Sectional Analysis
There is a similar trend with the S1 cohorts as with the P7 cohorts, with a slight, but statistically insignificant overall increase in average club attendance (F (1, 306) = 0.016, p0.05). However, a difference in trends from the P7 cohort was apparent when gender was considered, where all female clubs and male out of school clubs showed increases, while male school clubs fell between cohorts. Once again there were no statistically significant differences between males and females (F (1, 306) = 0.424, p0.05).
Specialisation and Sedentary Children
The consideration of specialisation revealed that, while the changes were far smaller than the P7 cohorts, positively males showed slight decreases in inactivity and specialising children and an increase in children who participated in a nonspecialised way (attended two or more different types of activity clubs). On the other hand, whilst again there was a reduction in specialising and an increase in nonspecialising children, there was also a slight increase in inactive females.
Summary of Cross Sectional Analysis
Overall, there were no statistical differences between the cohorts. However, considering that a participation change is not expected on such a short time scale, it is encouraging to see that, in general, there were positive, albeit slight, developments in participation levels. Indeed, there is a similar overall trend for the cross sectional analysis for both P7 and S1 cohort groups. Both groups, where the intervention S1 group received two blocks of training and the P7 group received one block, showed a slight overall increase in the average number of clubs attended, with specific gender effects (i.e. different trends for males and females) within that differing for each group. All groups showed an increase in unspecialised participation levels and both the male and female P7 groups and S1 male group showed a decrease in inactive pupils, whereas for the female S1 group this showed as light decline.
Acute Effects Cohort 1: Stirling
The graphs above show that there was a universal and statistically significant increase in the average number of clubs attended across time (F (1, 250) = 10.956, p0.01), with no differences in trends for males and females (F (1, 250) = 0.282, p0.05), cluster groups (F (1, 250) = 2.508, p0.05) or primary year group (F (1, 250) = 0.180, p0.05). In other words, this trend was not affected by age, area or gender.
Equally as positive was a reduction in totally inactive children and specialising children and an increase in non-specialising children for both males and females in the Stirling cluster (rationale for why increased non-specialisation is positive is presented earlier in the section).
Cohort 2: North Ayrshire
No acute effects of the DPYPS was collected on the first cohort of primary children as they were tracked across the whole year, with data collection occurring only in December 2002, October 2003 and December 2003. However, the second cohort of primary children was involved in a similar programme of work (acute/short term) as those children in Stirling, with one ten week block of work between October and December 2003.
North Ayrshire Primary Oct03 - Dec03: Number of Clubs Attended:
Change Over Time Indeed, a similar trend occurred for specialisation and inactivity levels, where males showed a slight increase in both specialising and inactive children, with a decrease in those non-specialising. However, more positively, females showed a decrease in specialising (group 1) and completely inactive females (group 0), with an increase in the percentage of those who were involved in two or more different types of activity (group 2).
Chronic Effects: P7 – S1, North Ayrshire
The ‘more chronic’, or longer term, effects were measured by tracking children across year groups. Of course as we have mentioned earlier, children tend to show a steady decrease in participation rates, as they get older. Indeed, it is also common, but not necessarily useful, for children to start specialising as they move along the school continuum.
North Ayrshire was the only area to track children across year groups. The children who were involved in the P7 to S1 tracking analysis undertook two terms of DPYPS work as P7 children before moving into secondary school, where data was then collected at the beginning of their first term.
While there was an overall decrease in number of clubs attended, more positively, females did show a decrease in complete inactivity. Additionally, all the children showed a trend of increased specialisation and decreased non-specialisation. Again, unfortunately there are no control groups for comparison.
Chronic Effects: S1 – S2, North Ayrshire
It must be recognised that, at this age group, DPYPS became a voluntary after school club and therefore although we have control groups, they are not an equal representation within the age groups and do have different initial characteristics, which are reflected in the initial levels of club attendance shown in the graphs. The children who did take part had one ten week block of DPYPS between April and June 2003 and initial data was collected at the end of December 2002 and post data collected in October 2003.
North Ayrshire S1-S2 Dec02 - Oct03: Number of Clubs Attended: