Chalk Talk: A cheering legacy of the summer of contentment

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The Independent Online

The Olympic legacy means different things to different people, as we could see from the article on these pages earlier this month about the school that inherited the athletes' dining hall to use in place of its burnt-out arts block, .

Another possible way in which last summer's games have left their mark emerged from a seminar held last week by the Legacy Trust UK – set up to aid innovative cultural projects to coincide or follow from the Olympics – to publicise new research showing how last year's summer of contentment has changed the lives of young people.

In the wake of the games, the vast majority who replied to a survey believed that it had changed their lives and they were ready to tackle new challenges as a result.

It had, said Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the Royal Society of Arts (where the event was held), put the focus on developing leadership and organisational skills, so much so that he predicted the employers of the future would be more interested in looking at employees' potential in that direction rather than just scrutinising exam results.

Indeed, we are already witnessing a shift in emphasis at the helm of the Confederation for British Industry, whose director general John Cridland has been warning in recent months of the dangers of too much emphasis on the league-tables-and-testing approach in today's schools – and not enough on developing skills such as communication that are best honed in an extra-curricular environment,

The most interesting changes, it seems, often emanate almost by accident rather than being planned and implemented top-down from Whitehall.

To those with long memories (ie, me!) it brings back thoughts of each pupil having a record of achievement, which contained details of what pupils had been beavering away at outside the classroom. Has its time come again?