Since October 2014, Sport England has been the funding partner of the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS).
Sport England TASS is a Government funded programme that represents a unique partnership between talented young student-athletes, National Governing Bodies of Sport (NGB’s) and the Higher (University) and Further (College/School) Education sectors.
TASS aims to provide the opportunity for young athletes to balance academic life with training and competition as a talented athlete without having to make the hard decision between the two.
The programme was established in 2003 by the then Secretary of State, the Right Honourable Tessa Jowell MP, Department of Culture Media and Sport. Since 2004, when the first TASS awards were made, the Scheme has invested almost £39m into athletes and the supporting network around them, providing up to 6000 awards enabling thousands of student-athletes to fulfil their academic and sporting potential.
The impact of TASS investment was already evident at the Beijing Olympic/Paralympic Games in 2008, where TASS Athletes and Alumni won 19 medals (15 at the Olympics, four at the Paralympics). Two years later at the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010, the only GB medallist was TASS Alumna Amy Williams, and 55 TASS supported Athletes and Alumni won 85 medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
200 TASS Athletes and Alumni competed at London 2012, 44 of them winning a medal, with 10 being multi-medallists – 15 gold, 15 silver and 27 bronze medals (33 Olympic, 24 Paralympic).
At the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, 29 TASS Athletes and Alumni competed. Lizzy Yarnold won gold, Aileen Neilson bronze and Jade Etherington was a multi-medallist (3 silver, 1 bronze).
At Glasgow 2014, 63 current and former TASS athletes celebrated medal success at what Commonwealth Games Chief Executive Mike Hopper described as “the standout Games”. Former TASS athletes won 18 gold, 23 silver and 22 bronze medals.
The Scheme is also getting worldwide recognition with TASS now advising the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on the development of its Education Section for their Athlete Career Programme (ACP), which included a presentation at the IOC ACP Forum to over 30 National Olympic Committee.
In 2015-16 there will be 400 athletes across 30 sports on TASS.