Discuss the role of policy and legislation on experiences in sport, with focus on Children and Young People
Sport policy and legislation have key roles on people’s experiences in sport. They shape the whole way in which sport is accessed for example the running of grassroots clubs to the planning of major sports events. Within the United States, the rate of childhood obesity is expected to achieve 40% in the following twenty years (Kopelman PG, 2000) and Type 2 diabetes is forecasted to affect 300 million people worldwide inside a similar time (Zimmet P 2003). The UK government has aims made in term of sports policy is to make sure that people are able to access a variety of sports activities preferably local to avoid statistics like these. The UK government has made a goal of achieving ‘70% of the country to be substantially active (30 minutes of moderate exercise five times a week) by 2020. (Game Plan, 2002).These can be organised by sports clubs or independently. One of the main groups of people who are focussed on when make these different polices and types of legislation are children and young people.
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There are many reasons why policies and legislation affect children and young people as there are many motivations and limitations for them wanting to participate. (Allender S; Cowburn G et al 2006) explore these reasons and why children and young people do and don’t want to take part. The study which they completed took place over the course of 14 years which began in 1990 and was finished in 2004. This period was considered acceptable to cover the most relevant information on barriers and motivation to participation in sport. It found that Young children motivations were; Experimentation, Unusual activities, Parental support Safe environment. The limitations are the idea that all sports are competitive sports and this makes them highly structured activities. Participation in young children was found to be higher when children were not being forced to compete and win, but just encouraged to participate in different games and sports and just have fun. (MacPhail et al 2003). Worries about body shape and weight administration were the fundamental purposes behind the investment of young ladies. Various investigations most notably (Cockburn C, Clarke G, 2002) reported pressure to conform to popular ideals of beauty as important reasons for teenage girls being physically active.
Parents have a very important role in allowing their children to access opportunities to be participate in physical activity. (Bostock 2001) Found that parents with younger children deterred their children from participating in an environment where their child’s safety is not guaranteed. (Porter 2002) demonstrated that guardians are more in favour of activity with simple access, a protected play condition, great ‘drop-off’ courses of action and exercises accessible for different individuals from the family. Sports Scotland raising the bar program is something which tackles this. In the 2015-2019 corporate plan one of the strengthening enablers is places. They identified that the people of Scotland need access to a good quality of sports facilities in order to meet their needs and create a positive safe environment which makes them welcome and will encourage them to return. They aim to by 2019 have an established sportscotland national centre in Inverclyde as a fully inclusive sports facility.
By looking at all of these reasons the government has to identify what are the benefits of these children and young people participating in sport and why they should consider making policies and legislation to put in place in order to reinforce and maintain that they stay participating not only in their early life but their later life also.
The Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government who were in office from 2010 to 2015 before the conservatives were reelected with a majority vote, identified that participating in sport aids people to keep healthy and helps to build a good local community. Taking part in sport at school or in a local club can be seen as the first step in order to move onto a more performance focused sport environment which involves competing in competitions. This in turn will help to improve our recognition as a sporting nation, and will also contribute well to our economic growth. However, they have found that children leaving school tend to stop playing sports, this means people can’t fulfil their full potential in that sport. This can of course lead to a less healthy lifestyle. They decided that their main objective is to get more people playing sport safely from a young age, and help them keep playing sport throughout their life, no matter what their economic or social background.
In order to achieve these goals, the government funds Sport England, they are an organisation that decides how to invest the funding which the government have given them and to help people across England get access to more sporting opportunities. This is done by investing money in new and current sports facilities, schemes and training programmes that allow for more people to play sport and develop new and existing skills. Between 2012 and 2017, Sport England received £1 billion from the government and National Lottery funding to invest in projects that plan to enable more individuals to have a hobby in sport for life, open doors for youngsters to play sport, sustain and create ability, give the right, sports venues in the correct spots, bolster nearby authorities and gain funding locally, guarantee opportunities for communities
Another government project in place is the Sainsbury’s school games. It aims to keep competitive sport at the heart of schools and provide more young people with the opportunity to compete and achieve their personal best. Registered to over 21,500 schools across the UK it is managed and funded by the government department for culture, media and sport (DCMS) and the non-governmental department Sport England. £150 million was given to this group between 2011 and 2015 (Bullough et al 2015). During the 2017/18 academic year, the School Games was able to offer 2.3 million participation opportunities for young people at local inter-school events. By having a project like this in place the government is allowing children and young people to enjoy a range of sports of a competitive nature which will hopefully in turn allow them to enjoy that. If they enjoy the competitive nature of it then hopefully they will continue to participate in that sport as they grow older and hopefully they will reach a higher competitive level.
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This work done by the government can be seen to have a positive effect on children. The office for national statistics released an article on Children’s engagement with the outdoors and sports activities in the UK from 2014 to 2015. It found that the average amount of leisure time children aged 8 to 15 years old in the UK spent per day in 2014 to 2015 taking part in an outdoors activity, sports and exercise-related activity or actively travelling, was 68 minutes. This considers all children surveyed in this age group whether or not they actually participated in any of these activities.
There has been a history of reported cases of abused children in sport. (Parent and Bannon, 2012) Found that in Québec 2% and 6% of male athletes have suffered sexual abuse in the context of their sport. Further information from (Fasting, K. et al. 2011) This article presents data from Experiences of Czech, Greek, and Norwegian Female Sport Students’ the results show that 34 percent of the students had experienced sexually harassing behavior from a man and 12 percent from a woman. (Brackenridge et al 2000) Done research a lot closer to home within the Uk and have reported cases that demonstrate coaches abusing their position of power resulting in the sexual abuse of athletes.
In order to avoid things like this happening the Scottish government have set up the The Protection of Vulnerable Groups Act 2007 (PVG). The main point of the changes is to enhance controls to guarantee that people who are (or who move toward becoming) unacceptable don’t get access to groups kids or protected grown-ups through the work environment. People who are barred from working with youngsters/protected grown-ups won’t have the clearance to scheme members and scheme members who later turned out to be barred from working with kids/protected grown-ups will have their important plan membership cancelled and their employer informed. This is a great way of keeping track of who is getting access to these groups and ensuring that they are being looked after by an appropriate individual who has passed numerous background checks which are renewed every 3 years to maintain membership to the scheme.
In conclusion the role of policy and legislation for children and young people in sport is massive. The government have identified possible problems involving children’s health that will arise if no action is taken. They have looked at reasons for non-participation in sport and set up government funded projects in order to boost participation. This has been beneficial as it has provided children with sporting opportunities in their local area. The government then re-assessed children’s health and found that the changes they have made have had positive impacts on reducing things like cardiovascular disease. As well as providing all these sporting opportunities they government has to ensure that the environments that these are being participated in are safe. Due to children being so vulnerable the Scottish government have set up the PVG scheme in order to ensure that they are being looked after by a suitable person who has had to be approved after a number of background checks.
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- Department of Culture Media and Sports Strategy Unit, Game Plan: A Strategy for Delivering Government’s Sport and Physical Activity Objectives http://www.gamesmonitor.org.uk/files/game_plan_report.pdf