Know your market

As with any 'business' it is important to understand your market in relation to your school’s vision and the facilities your school can offer

Partners (such as your County Sports Partnership) and local organisations will be able to guide you on auditing current activity and consulting with your community. This will enable you to make well -informed decisions based on your findings. 

Things to consider

If you are starting out with your current facilities:

  • you will want to make sure that you are not duplicating a facility or activity which is already being offered nearby
  • and you will want to offer activities that there is a demand for

If you are improving or scaling up your current community offer:

You will want to identify how you can retain or increase your users either by

  • widening the range and number of programmes on offer
  • increasing the range of facilities available
  • taking the next steps to build deeper partnerships with user groups/clubs

If you are designing a new build sports facility or refurbishing one:

You will find it useful to follow four key steps:

  1. Consider the supply and demand issues that need to be addressed
  2. Understand strategic considerations (I.e. has the facility been identified as a priority for a specific sport?)
  3. The type and level of use that is being proposed (I.e. will the facility be used for competition, training or education based activities, and at what standard will this be at?)
  4. How much use is being planned for the facility and who by?


audit diagram

A simple audit of your local area is a valuable exercise as it will ensure you avoid duplication and create the conditions to develop a sustainable and viable community offer.

If you are looking to grow your current community use you could ask each of your clubs/groups/hirers to provide information about:

  • the number of times and hours they use your facilities each week, month, year
  • the number of people taking part in their sport or activity
  • the balance in terms of age, gender, ethnicity and distance lived from your school
  • the number of your students or those from feeder schools that take part
  • the range of sports or activities they provide
  • Any barriers they encounter in using your facilities
  • What other resources and facilities might help them improve or grow their community programme


Investing some time up front to consult with your community and partners will help you create an appealing community offer which is sustainable, reaches the audiences you wish to target and encourages regular, repeat users of your facilities.

consult diagramYou may have key target groups identified as part of your visioning process who can be contacted via other organisations and agencies. For example you may want to contact older people via University of the Third Age, or your local library.

how to consult

Please click here for some advice aimed at clubs but also useful if you are a school with limited knowledge of social media.

Carrying out your own consultation will require staff time and resources so you may want to firstly consider viewing external consultations and research which has been carried out at a national and a local level.



Tools available for you to use

Sport England have a range of tools and expert guidance that can help you find out more about your local community and their sporting habits, as well as information relating to sports facilities in your area. Your County Sports Partnership or local authority in most cases will be able to advise you on applying and interpreting this data.

Please click here to see our Know Your Market – Research and Tools.


The next step is to analyse the information from consultations and audits to help you make informed decisions:

actionTaking this strategic approach to better know your market will help you to develop a sustainable programme of use that reflects the preferences and needs of both your own students and the wider community.