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  • 04 February 2014 00:00
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Excellence through collaboration is vital for our future says Youth Sport Trust CEO

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Youth Sport Trust CEO John Steele says that "excellence through collaboration” and working in strong partnerships is vital for the organisation as they look to help strengthen the physical education and school sport sector. 

Physical education and school sport has faced turbulent times in recent years; most notably at the end of 2010 when the Coalition Government announced in their first Comprehensive Spending Review that the entire £162 million of funding for the School Sports Partnerships would be axed. 

The move was met by such a fierce wave of protests from teachers, pupils and Olympic and Paralympic athletes that the Government had to partially backtrack on the decision and reinstall some of the School Sports Partnerships funding for a short period.

But there have since been improvements for the sector with the Government investing £150 million-a-year into primary school sport through the School Sport Premium for three years from 2013 to 2015.
All the changes to the sector mean that the Youth Sport Trust has had to adapt their role in order to work closer in partnership with those around them.

This will be highlighted this week at the two-day Youth Sport Trust Conference in Telford on February 5-6, which is themed is "Excellence through collaboration”. 

"I feel the conference is a very timely gathering for us because so much has happened in the physical education and school sport sector recently,” Steele exclusively told Community Sport Network.

"This is a good chance to gather and discuss it all. 

"The theme is "Excellence through collaboration” and that is important because we are now an organisation that works very much in partnership with others. 

"The role of the Youth Sport Trust has changed in recent years. 

"We previously took the lead in the majority of areas across the sector but that has altered since 2010 with the changes brought about by Government. 

"Obviously we still do look to lead in many areas of physical education and school sport but we now work more in partnership with others and the conference is a great chance to meet with all of them in one place and to exchange ideas and best practices. 

"So the conference has perhaps become even more important for us because of the expansion of our partnerships.”

Steele also revealed that he is happy with how the organisation’s five-year strategy is progressing one year in.

However, he explained that it was very much a flexible strategy that can be adapted should significant change occur in the sector over the coming years.

"It is obviously important to have a long-term strategic plan in any organisation but it is prudent to have an adaptable strategy because change is all around us,” explained Steele.

"Our focus is for the period 2013-2018 so we are now through the first year of that plan. 

"I am very pleased with how we have progressed to date but I am fully aware that there may be changes over the next four years which could be brought about by changes in Government and so forth. 

"So this is not a regimented strategy that is completely locked-in and cannot be changed because that would be a failure. 

"What we have is an adaptable five-year plan. 

"We are an independent charity and therefore very much in control of our own strategy but clearly we must be aware of the changes around us and we must be ready to adapt to them if necessary. 

"So overall I am pleased with how the strategic plan looks, particularly after a strong first year, but we are open to change and we are able to be flexible which is very important to an organisation like this.”

To read the full Q&A with John Steele Click Here
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