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An initial investigation into the soft legacy impact of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games on schools outside London

Minshull, Sarah Kate (2013) An initial investigation into the soft legacy impact of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games on schools outside London. Masters thesis (MPhil), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

Although much literature on legacy has recently emerged, the soft legacy impacts of mega events have often been overlooked. This research focuses on the soft legacy impacts of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games on participation rates, human and social capital levels and pupil experience in local schools. The complex nature of legacy creation is also explored here with the processes behind the schools’ efforts to generate a soft legacy being investigated. The local aspect of this research, focusing on the area of Cheshire East, is noteworthy as previous study has focused on the host city only. This study used the Get Set programme to identify sample schools that were engaging heavily with London 2012, and examined whether Get Set had been used as a catalyst for initial efforts for legacy creation. As suggested by previous legacy research a mixed method approach of validated surveys and interviews with pupils and key players in school sport has been utilised. Baseline participation data from schools in Cheshire East was analysed to establish a pre-Olympic baseline. Analysis of the 2009/10 quantitative results showed no clear pattern in the data, with no differences emerging between schools of different Get Set registration status. Limited comparisons could be made between the 2009-10 and 2010-11 data because of the PE and School Sport Survey being withdrawn when the School Sport Partnerships were disbanded. However, the data captured from one cluster of schools did provide some information on the impact of the removal of the SSPs on school sport, the most notable of which being the demonstrable decline in the links between schools and community sports clubs. Interviews, with teachers and pupils, were completed in three secondary and one primary school that all had identifiable interest in creating their own Olympic legacy. Thematic analysis has led to a number of key areas emerging as central to the creation of a school level Olympic legacy. Including; the importance of enthusiastic people to drive the legacy, a strong focus on the Olympic and Paralympic values, rather than sporting participation, and the subsequently positive impact upon inclusion of a wide range of pupils. Field observations enabled an insight into the variety of Olympic and Paralympic activities that the schools used to inspire and engage pupils. The relationship between the findings of the different methods employed, also highlighted the individual differences in approaches to creating a soft legacy by the case study schools, facilitating conclusions to be made about the soft legacy impact of the London 2012 Games at both a school and pupil level. Inquiry at the case study schools showed that it was possible to create a soft legacy for young people in an area remote from the host city before the Games had even taken place.

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