In October 2012 Sport England commissioned CFE Research to undertake an evaluation of the Active Colleges investment in the following three areas:
- To measure the impact of Active Colleges on the number and proportion of FE college; students regularly participating in sport (at least once a week for at least 30 minutes);
- To find out what works, how, in what context and for whom;
- To communicate the evidence effectively to optimise its influence on policy and practice.
In April 2013 the inaugural Active Colleges Student Survey was circulated to each in-post College Sport Maker employed during wave one of the Active Colleges programme. Nearly 12,000 students from 121 colleges responded to the survey. Key findings from the survey show that:
- 77.5% of respondents took part in 1 x 30 minutes of sporting or physical activity in the past week, with 25% taking part on one or two days in the past week and 52% taking part on three or more days in the past week.
- Having a keen interest in sport, being able to access and afford the sports they wanted to play and activities being appropriate for their abilities were the most commonly cited motivations students agreed with when describing their reasons for participating in sporting or physical activity.
- More students participate in sporting or physical activity at community leisure complexes or gyms (47%) and organised clubs or organisations outside of college (40%) than at college (33%). However, only around 10% of students taking part in sporting or physical activity do so only at their college and nowhere else.
- 22.5% of respondents had not taken part in 1 x 30 minutes of sporting or physical activity in the past week. Of these students, around half had taken part in 1x30 minutes of sporting or physical activity per week at some point in the past, and around half had never regularly participated in 1x30 minutes of sporting or physical activity.
- 71% of students who were not currently participating in sport, but had done in the past, stated that they would be interested in taking up sport or physical activity again.
- More than one in five students agreed that the sporting opportunities on offer at the college were influential in their decision to apply to that college, while almost half (47%) of respondents who actively participated in sporting or physical activity in the past week agreed that being involved in college sport meant they attended college more than they would have done otherwise.
- All respondents, regardless of whether they participated in 1 x 30 minutes of sporting or physical activity in the past week or not, viewed the main benefits of participation as physical and mental health. Those active participants, however, found sporting or physical activity more fun and enjoyable than those who did not participate.
CFE Research, Phoenix Yard, Upper Brown Street, Leicester, LE1 5TE