The England Talent System

The England Talent Pathway is an integral part of the UK’s high-performance system

We’ve committed in the region of £85 million of investment into the England talent system for the 2017-21 funding cycle, and currently fund England Talent Pathways (ETPs) in 43 sports.

Amongst them are a mix of Olympic and Paralympic sports, some of which deliver programmes across Great Britain and Northern Ireland and are in receipt of World Class Programme funding from UK Sport.

Additionally, there are a significant number of Commonwealth Games, individual, team and disability sports which are not in receipt of UK Sport funding and therefore their performance pathways are resourced in other ways.

Collectively these ETPs are significant in their scale – there are around 60,000 selected athletes within ETP programmes and 200,000 aspiring, predominantly young, athletes accessing coaching and competition as part of entry level national governing body talent programmes.

How Sport England and UK Sport align 

UK Sport currently targets investment and support to Olympic and Paralympic sports with credible medal potential for athletes across the UK.

The Performance Pathway spans the Podium and Podium Potential stages, which are typically when an athlete is respectively four or eight years out from an Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The ‘World Class Programme environment’ is defined as the Podium and Podium Potential activity of these UK Sport-funded Great Britain and Northern Ireland World Class Programmes.

Sport England, like the other home country sports councils, invests in and supports the stages prior to the Performance Pathway for English athletes and programmes, and this is known as the Talent Pathway.

The key interface between the two agencies and their respective investment programmes is the stage known as Performance Foundations.

Performance Foundations is defined as sports-specific programmes where“a selected cohort of highly talented athletes within the upper levels of the Home Country Talent Pathways are identified, confirmed and prepared to meet the increased demands of the World Class Programme environment.”

The England Talent Pathway

The route relating to the development of talented athletes, about which the stages, structures, policies, practices and partners/ stakeholders are organised.

When referring to the talent pathway, we’re describing all the moving parts that support the development and progression of the athletes.

National governing bodies (NGBs) tend to organise their support for athletes around certain age groups, or stages of development and performance.

These pathway stages are ideally linked to each other by a common development curriculum or framework, which is essentially a recipe, designed to develop optimal performance at a senior level, which is delivered, by specialist coaches and sport science practitioners

Athletes progress through stages of the pathway by way of milestone events (e.g. age-related banding, competition results, education changes) or skill-based criteria.

There are other system partners and stakeholders who provide support to athletes at different stages on the pathway.

Active Partnerships (APs)
There is a nationwide network of 43 APs which are committed to improving lives by growing grassroots sport and physical activity in their communities.
Local authorities and local government
Local authorities and councils play a central role in the provision of community and recreation facilities, from local parks to leisure centres.
Education institutions Schools, colleges and third level education providers facilitate participation and progress in sports through their sports clubs and teams and the associated training and competition opportunities for young and developing athletes.
SportsAid SportsAid is a national charity which supports aspiring international athletes (the vast majority are aged 12 to 18) by providing them with a financial award to help towards training and competition costs.
Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS)
TASS is a Sport England-funded partnership between talented athletes, education institutions and NGBs. The scheme helps athletes in education (aged 16 plus) to get the best from their sporting and academic careers.
Backing the Best Backing the Best is a Sport England scheme (managed by SportsAid) which supports the families of aspiring athletes in the early stages of their career, who might feel competitive sport is out of their financial reach.
Diploma in Sporting Excellence (DISE)
Formerly known as the Advanced Level Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence, DISE is a sports performance programme which provides a structured training and development route for talented young athletes (aged 16-19).
Typically, clubs are affiliated to a NGB and they provide and facilitate the ‘daily training’ facilities, camaraderie, coaching and governance structures necessary to support talented athletes.
National Governing Bodies of Sport (NGBs) NGBs are typically responsible for managing their specific sport within England/UK, including but not limited to: affiliating to the international federation/governing body, selecting and nominating international teams, upholding the rules of the sport, training and qualification of key roles and personnel and organising the training and competition pathways and structures for both recreational and competitive participation.