AoC Sport Curriculum Conference – a reflection: a blog by Donna Thompson

Ahead of next week’s Sport in the Curriculum Conference Donna Thompson, Strategic Lead – Policy and Development at AoC Sport, blogs about her reflections on previous conferences and why 2018’s is not to be missed.

This will be the fourth sport in the curriculum conference.  How many of you, like me, have attended and thoroughly enjoyed all of them?  As I reflect on the last few years I can see that so much has changed in the sector, yet nothing has changed.  Back in January 2014 we had a keynote on employability and progression with a great discussion between colleges, employers and HE providers.  We’re still having those discussions although the details may have changed.  Workshops then included curriculum reform, HE in FE, apprenticeships, Ofsted and funding…

We were busy building a voice for the sector, convincing anyone who would listen that sport could bring huge benefits to colleges through the Growing Sport, Growing Colleges strategy.  We were building a community to share experiences and learn from each other, all keen to demonstrate ‘Why Sport Matters’ and without doubt we were enjoying the attention (and money) from Sport England for the Active Colleges programme to bring new opportunities to so many colleges.  At that time it was all about networking and you may remember the plea for us to act locally and think nationally to create one powerful voice.

And now?  We are still in the midst of great change within both the education and sport sectors – I’m convinced this rollercoaster is even faster now!  And yet the key to success is still to work together.  To learn from each other and to support each other with the many challenges.  To have a louder, more credible voice to influence more people that sport in colleges can really improve student outcomes in education, employment and health.

This conference is still THE best way to talk to peers across the whole country about sport in the curriculum.  It is the only event with this specific focus.  It isn’t about sports development or competitive sport and we make no apologies for that.  It is about sport education in colleges and if you are involved in this or care about this in any way then you should come.  I look forward to seeing you there.

Written by Donna Thompson, Strategic Lead – Policy and Development, AoC Sport

If you would like to attend the upcoming AoC Sport Curriculum Conference on 24 January, visit