Press Release

18 March 2011

More than 90% of the UK's further and higher education institutions expect to be involved in London 2012 related activities with increased sport participation among students the key legacy outcomes, according to new research released.

With the countdown to the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games well under way, a report commissioned by Podium – The Further and Higher Education Unit for the 2012 Games, and conducted by the Centre for Sport, Physical Education & Activity Research (SPEAR) at Canterbury Christ Church University, demonstrates that the FE and HE sectors are already enthusiastically involved with the Games. They have hundreds of new projects in the pipeline and expect to see the Games deliver a tangible legacy at their institutions.   

Nearly 240 of the UK’s colleges and universities took part in the survey, making it by far the largest study of the FE and HE sectors’ involvement with a major sporting event anywhere in the world[i]. The results form the basis of the report entitled, The Engagement of Further and Higher Education with the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Key findings include:

  • 92% of further and higher education institutions expect to be involved in some way in activities relating to London 2012 in the run up to the Games 
  • More than two thirds of further and higher education institutions expect the Games to help deliver lasting partnerships, enhanced organisational profile and increased sport participation among students
  • There is nationwide engagement with London 2012 in the FE and HE sectors with 70% of the survey respondents being based at institutions outside of the capital.

Professor Mike Weed, Director of SPEAR, said: “This research shows that the further and higher education sectors are keen to respond to and embrace the opportunities that the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games can offer universities and colleges. 

“It also shows that involvement is set to grow, with both the number of universities and colleges and the number of projects in which they are involved increasing, particularly as partnerships develop on a more local level as the Games approach. 

“Furthermore, the benefits for students are expected to be substantial, with universities and colleges seeking to use the Games to improve facilities and international links. But, perhaps most significantly, more than two-thirds of institutions expect the Games to leave a legacy of increased sport participation among their students.”

Professor Geoff Petts, Chair of Podium and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Westminster, added: “The further and higher education sectors are using the power of the Olympic and Paralympic Games to engage and unite young people from all backgrounds and all cultures; to inspire change, and to leave a meaningful legacy for future generations in the form of both new facilities and new opportunities.

“For me, the legacy of London 2012 will be the awakening of a generation of young people who say ‘I can’. Amongst them will be the next generation of leaders who will say ‘Together, we all can’.”

The full report is attached and available to download at and


[i] 25 higher education institutions responded to a survey which formed the basis of a report entitled, The contribution of the Higher Education Sector to the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. The document can be downloaded here:

Notes to Editor

Podium is the Further and Higher Education Unit for the 2012 Games and was established in 2007 as a division of London Higher, which is the umbrella body representing more than 40 universities and colleges in London.

Podium functions as a platform on which to build the nationwide engagement of FE and HE with London 2012. The unit is funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England as well as the Skills Funding Agency and is directed by a Board of leading figures from the sectors.

Working with key stakeholders and alongside the Games authorities, Podium’s role is to communicate Games related opportunities, support the development of programmes and share examples of good practice across the sectors. Simply put, Podium’s core functions are to communicate, collaborate and enhance.

Although an independent body, Podium works extremely closely with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) with the Head of the unit being seconded into LOCOG on a part-time basis.

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Canterbury Christ Church University

Canterbury Christ Church University is a modern university with a particular strength in higher education for the public services.

With nearly 18,000 students, and five campuses across Kent, its courses span a wide range of academic and professional expertise.

  • As a leading provider of teaching and health care courses we have produced nearly 3,500 health and social care professionals and 7,000 teachers in the last five years.
  • Over 90 per cent of our graduates gain employment or are in further study in the first six months after graduating.
  • Along with over a thousand undergraduate, postgraduate and professional training courses on offer, we are also home to world-leading and internationally recognised research in Education, History, Music and Sports Related Studies.
  • Canterbury Christ Church University was founded in 1962 by the Church of England as a teacher training college.

Centre for Sport, Physical Education and Activity Research (SPEAR)

The Centre for Sport, Physical Education and Activity Research (SPEAR) is a cross-departmental and cross-faculty research centre at Canterbury Christ Church University. It conducts theoretically informed critical analyses in sport, physical education, physical activity and leisure.  It has funding from a range of public, private and not-for-profit organizations.

SPEAR’s recent work has included research on Olympic physical activity and sport legacies for the Department of Health and Sport England; on school sport and young people for the Youth Sport Trust and StreetGames, and on the impact of city centre big screens for the NHS.


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Last edited: 14/12/2018 22:14:00