The following 11 primary schools had an audit of their PE and sports provision (including PE lessons, extended day activities, after-school clubs and sport provided by external suppliers) in 2014:
Grafton, Ambler, Montem, Rotherfield, Pakeman, Duncombe, Gillespie, Newington Green, Winton, Hanover, Canonbury
Each audit took a week in the school. The cost of the audits (£500 each school) was met from the Future Zone budget.
Audits were run like this:
- Meeting with Headteacher – to understand the schools action plan for sport, the school values, and the current situation of PE and sport provision in the school
- Headteacher to brief all PE/sport suppliers on my role
- A week in the school, observing and evaluating all sport, PE, pre-school, during school and after-school, including competitions, playtimes, lunchtimes, clubs, swimming etc.
As part of the audits, quantitative data from pupils was collected. This was captured through questionnaires, and was used to measure a baseline of sport/PE provision and delivery in the schools. Over 1500 pupil questionnaires were complete and these provide an extensive view of pupils in FZ.
Once school audits were complete, the results of the audit were presented to the school’s SLT in the form of a pdf report document and also a powerpoint presentation and discussion. In addition, a staff meeting was held at most schools were Mark Carter presented key findings and issues were discussed with staff (teachers, TAs and coaches).
There was some early impact of the audit process, for example:
Newington Green: Appointed an assistant to the PE Co-ordinator to give the PE Co-ordinator more time to introduce new clubs and improve PE.
Winton: Trialled a new format for PE where children from across year groups where grouped together for PE according to ability and interest.
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It was decided to trial a skill development centre for children from FZ primary schools, to see whether we could provide a central place for development of specific targetted groups within particular sports. A football skill development centre was set-up at IAMS to operate on Sunday afternoons for girls and for high-ability boys. The details of this were:
- Football Skill Development Centre
- Sunday afternoon for 12 weeks
- Starting on Sunday 27th April till Sunday 13th July
- At Islington Arts and Media School, IAMS
The following 9 schools nominated children:
Ambler, Montem, Rotherfield, Duncombe, Newington Green, Winton, Gillespie, Pakeman, Hanover
The cost was: Schools collect £24 from the families, and were then invoiced the school for this amount plus £3 per child per week (£36 total per child) paid by the school (therefore total of £60 per child).
The success of the Football Skill Development Centre was mixed. From a register of 90 children, only 60 ever attended a session, and by the end of the programme a regular group of just 30 children were attending.
The learning points were:
- Some schools nominated children without telling the children, thus giving them no chance of ever attending; Other schools nominated children but did not check with parents how the children would travel to IAMs on a Sunday
- Schools that were further from IAMS had much worse attendance from those close to IAMS, thus showing that travel to/from was an issue
- Some schools gave their children free places on the programme, while for others the places were subsidised over 50%. It was thought that the lack of financial commitment from families lead to poor attendance.
- The programme was not linked to competition or performance, thus meaning that there was no ongoing motivation to attend for some children. It would have been better had we been training and learning together in order to perform (at a end of programme tournament for example).
- Different schools had very different definitions of ‘high-ability’. The ‘high-ability’ boys group was in fact very mixed-ability. The very best boys soon dropped out of the programme as they realised the children were not getting challenged appropriately.
However, there was also some success:
- 30 children enjoyed regular weekend football with children from other schools, with expert coaches, in a FZ secondary school venue. For most weeks of the programme, there were at least 3 groups of girls learning and exploring football together in girls-only sessions with a female coach.
- Strong links were built with some of the families, and most parents stayed to watch their children play and learn – something that doesn’t happen in school sport and PE very often.
The most successful example from a school of how to make a Skill Centre work came from Ambler Primary School. Ambler had by far the highest interest in the programme from children at the school and the highest attendance on the programme also. Ambler continues to send children and teams to Ministry of Football Skill Centres on weekends. This is how Ambler made it work:
- The school printed out flyers for children with all information
- They talked about the Skill Centre in assembly
- The Head teacher held a coffee morning with parents to explain what the Centre was trying to achieve, and why it was important they attended
- There was an ongoing dialogue between Head teacher, parents and children about the Centre (e.g. “Mohamed, how was football on Sunday?” etc)
- In addition, IAMS was local to Ambler so most children could walk to the venue
If future Skill Centres for FZ children are to work well, then schools need to make the same level of commitment to the Centre as Ambler.