College Sport Survey 2016 – headline report

The results of the latest AoC Sport College Sport Survey have been collated, and show some positive signs for sport and physical activity in the FE sector.


Each year, AoC Sport collects sport data to assess progress against the targets set in the national college sport strategy.

The data provides essential management information for colleges, with regional and national benchmarks to compare, and helps identify priorities for college Self-Assessment Review (SAR) and sport strategies. It also provides a valuable advocacy tool to make the case for further investment into college sport nationally.

AoC Sport had been working towards the ‘Growing Sport, Growing Colleges’ strategy since its inception, inheriting this strategy from the Association of Colleges. AoC Sport continued to work towards this under the leadership of the AoC Sport managing director and board until the launch of ‘Fit for College, Fit for Work, Fit for Life’ which replaced the previous strategy in July 2015.

Some of the key headlines from this year’s survey are outlined below:

Colleges provide a workforce for sport

Colleges train almost 70,000 students each year in industry related sport qualifications, from Personal Training to Leisure Management.

On top of formal training, approximately 23,000 students regularly volunteer in sports programmes at college, including things such as coaching, administration, officiating and organising.

AoC Sport also provides students with the opportunity to volunteer and develop their employability skills through the AoC Sport National Championships, the ECFA activator programme and the National Student Management Team.

In addition, 56% of colleges have formed their own Student Management Team to help organise and promote student sport in their college.

Sports Leaders6


Colleges provide extra-curricular sport, enrichment and physical activity opportunities

More than 75% of student participants do not study a sports qualification in college. This is an encouraging percentage, as it demonstrates the wide demand for competitive and non-competitive sport and physical activity provision beyond those who may wish to have a career in the sector.

To meet this demand, colleges organise 593 sessions and events per year, spread across 55 different activities. On average, colleges provide 21 different sports for their students, with 17of these being available on-site.

The most popular sport among colleges is badminton, with more than 90% offering this to students. Basketball, table tennis, football (11-a-side and small-sided) and netball are also provided by more than 80% of colleges.

Colleges also have links with community clubs to help provide additional opportunities for their students, as well as exit routes, and ensuring participation after college life, alongside offering facilities to local clubs. On average, colleges link with nine clubs in their local community.

Colleges provide competitive opportunities at all levels

More than 41,000 students compete in inter-college activities, through AoC Sport-organised competitions and other events, catering for those new to sport through to elite athletes.

Each college provides an average of three specialist sports academies – largely football, rugby and cricket.

Tyne Met Gym


Colleges contribute to a quality stock of facilities

Colleges provide fit-for-purpose facilities for an average of seven sports per college. This includes things such as swimming pools, sports halls, tennis courts, grass pitches, synthetic turf pitches and dance studios.

In addition, more than 40 colleges have indicated they are planning or looking to plan the installation of new sports facilities on-site.

In excess of nine out of 10 colleges make their sports halls available for community use, while other facilities are also hired out to club, community groups and the general public.

Colleges are part of the community sport planning system

Many colleges are putting an increasing amount of time, investment and thought into their sport offer, with 42% having written a sport and physical activity strategy.

93% of colleges also have links with their County Sports Partnership, while colleges provide an average of nine community club links for students, helping them to participate outside of college provision.

Sport in Colleges: Key Facts 2016/17

The full report is available to colleges who submitted a response to the College Sport Survey 2016.