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Title: The UK School Games and the competition structure of selected participating sports: a study of policy implementation
Authors: Melville, Sarah
Keywords: Sport
National governing bodies
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: © Sarah Melville
Abstract: The UKSG was a government-funded initiative that provided a high-quality, multi-sport event for the UK s elite young athletes of school age over a six-year period. At time of investigation, the event addressed six objectives (both developmental and operational in focus) through eight Olympic sports. Operational targets ensured that athletes were selected to compete at the UKSG. Developmental targets were indirectly linked to the event and made use of the UKSG profile to drive forward other youth related projects, such as the National Competition Framework (NCF). This study explored the outcomes of these objectives, whilst understanding the relationship between the Youth Sport Trust (YST) and eight sports, and locating the implementation of the UKSG within a broader analysis of the policy process for youth / school sport. The study utilized various policy process and implementation concepts to support analysis of findings. In particular, bottom-up and top-down theories of policy implementation and the advocacy coalition framework, policy networks and multiple streams approaches proved particularly useful as heuristic devices or useful points of comparison in the analysis of stages of policy process. The findings from the three case study sports (supported by the data collected from the five other investigated sports) made for interesting conclusions in relation to the three research questions: 1). What are the key impacts of the UKSG on the competition structures of the eight sports? 2). What is the relationship between the key organisations involved in the UKSG and the NCF? And 3). What is the perceived role of each of the organisations involved in the UKSG and the NCF? Through investigating the eight sports approach to the six UKSG objectives, empirical evidence was collected that related specifically to the sport s approach to youth competition and their newly established NCF (objectives two and three). Evidence identified these objectives as the most challenging of the six to address, due to the looseness of their definition and scope for reinterpretation across and within the sport organisations. With this flexibility came differences in inter-organisational power (between home country NGBs and School Sport Associations) and therefore policy implementation. This inevitably led to mismatches in policy expectations of the YST and policy outcomes delivered by the sports. The study moves on to reveal that the six UKSG objectives proved capable of challenging, and in some cases, changing NGB behavior, albeit through several different implementation approaches. In particular, the UKSG was a programme that supported the positive development of home country NGB and School Sport Association communication and working practices.
Description: A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/10805
Appears in Collections:PhD Theses (Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences)

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