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4 Ways To Manage Sport & PE In Your Primary School

There are a wide range of options available to you as a school leader in regards to how to best manage sport in your school, this article breaks down four different options for you to help you to weigh up the pros and cons of each option.


uSports have been delivering sports provision for primary schools since 2017 beginning in Reading, Berkshire and have now expanded to work across the whole Thames Valley region & since 2023 in Bristol & South Gloucestershire as well. In this time, we have come across a lot of different strategies for managing sports in primary schools with varying levels of effectiveness.


Of course, we can recommend you a good sports coaching provider... but we have put together this blog to give you options & ideas. I will share with you the 4 main ways that I have seen schools manage sport in their setting with pros and cons of each.



Firstly when I say 'sport', I mean PESSPA

I have a blog specifically on what exactly PESSPA means, but in a nutshell:


  • PESSPA = Physical Education

  • PESSPA = School Sport

  • PESSPA = Physical Activity



Option 1 - External Sports Coaching Provider

We might be biased, but a great way to ensure that sport in your school is delivered by those passionate about the subject is through an external sports coaching provider. A good sports coaching provider should be able to cover all aspects of PESSPA from delivering PE lessons, to promoting physical activity through active lunch clubs and developing school sport through extra curricular clubs. At uSports, we have worked with many schools over the years and would be able to suggest the best provisions to put in place for your specific setting.


Many sports coaching providers can also offer more than just traditional sports. Two additional areas that a sports coaching provider can help you are:


  1. One to One Support & Alternative Provision / Curriculum Sports coaches often make excellent role models for SEMH, SEND, Vulnerable & Disadvantaged students. Using a sports coaching provider for one to one support in particular can help schools to bring in relatable role models for young people but also can help to address the issue of a shortage of supply staff in schools to make sure that support is in place for those who need it.

  2. Wraparound Childcare Many sports coaching providers also offer wraparound childcare solutions for schools as well as sports which would allow you to work with just one provider to manage both PESSPA & childcare options for your setting. At uSports, we have two different avenues for wraparound care: Traditional Wraparound Care through our sister company uKids and Sports Specific Wraparound Clubs through uSports


You can view the full range of school sports provision which uSports offers here:


Pros

  1. Flexibility - you only need to pay for the hours that you need delivered rather than recruiting a full time member of staff

  2. Subject Specialists - qualified sports coaches are specialised in sports and have a passion for the subject

  3. Less Admin & HR - if you choose a well established provider, the organisation of sport in your school can be taken off your hands and any issues can be managed by them

Cons

  1. Quality Can Vary Depending On Your Provider - some providers may not meet all the expectations of your school from quality to organisation so it is important to choose the right provider

  2. Dealing With External Organisations - while it can be a bonus to have less responsibility for organisation of coaches, it may create additional responsibilities to work with an external provider depending on the policies in your setting

  3. Cost  - it will be an additional cost for your setting if you don't use current staff BUT if you speak to the right provider they can help you to make sure you are using your PE & Sport Premium funding where possible


Option 2 - Teachers Deliver PE

The traditional route in the past has been using teachers for all aspects of PESSPA within a school. Years ago, using teachers for the delivery of sport and in particular PE, was the only real option available to schools. There are now a larger number of options out there but this does not mean that using teachers to deliver sport in your school isn't a good option! There are a lot of positives to using your own teachers to fully cover sports provisions in your setting.


Often, teachers lack confidence in delivering PE and this is where a sports coaching provider can support your school through Teacher CPD where coaches come into your school to directly support class teachers in how to deliver more effective PE lessons with their own classes. Find out more about our Teacher CPD here: www.u-sports.co.uk/schools/teacher-cpd


As arguably the most traditional route, I won't go too far into what this looks like so let's go straight to the pros & cons:


Pros

  1. Cost - you are already paying teachers & support staff so you can utilise their time by also adding sport to their responsibilities

  2. Understanding of school culture - teachers fully understand the expectations of the school from behaviour policies to long term visions for the school which can be continued in sport.

  3. Opportunity for teachers - lots of teachers enjoy delivering sport. For many children, sport is a real highlight of their school years so it is a real privilege to be a part of this and by utilising your PE & Sport Premium funding you can upskill teachers through a CPD programme.

Cons

  1. Teacher Preference - some teachers may not enjoy teaching PE which can impact the quality of delivery

  2. Less Subject Specialism - with a broad curriculum, teachers have a lot to be specialists in! While some teachers may have a passion for sport, not all will be specialists in sport

  3. Not Maximising PPA Time - it is important to maximise the effectiveness of PPA time for children and sport is a good subject to be delivered during this time


Option 3 - Internal Sports Coaches

Some schools choose to recruit a sports coach to work directly for the school. This option can allow you to have a sports specialist who is an employee of the setting which allows more flexibility as to where you can deploy staff. This can be a good option for larger schools with high intakes of children as there will be more sport to be delivered during the day. For smaller schools, it may be challenging or cost too much to offer a full time sports coaching role as there is not as much demand for sports delivery during the day so sports coaches may not have enough sport specific work each day to make this a viable option. This is where using an external sports coaching provider may be more suitable as you can just use sports coaches as and when you need them.


Pros

  1. Understanding of school culture - internal sports coaches fully understand the expectations of the school

  2. Subject Specialists - qualified sports coaches are specialised in sports and have a passion for the subject

  3. Cheaper Than Teachers - sports coaches will generally be cheaper to hire than additional teachers for your school

Cons

  1. Not Enough Work Available - in smaller schools there may not be enough sports delivery for a full time role so an internal sports coach might not be used completely effectively

  2. Cost - as you are likely to hire this person on a full time basis, the cost may be higher than other options

  3. HR responsibilities & sickness cover - as an employee of the school, you would still be responsible for all HR matters and if the coach is sick you would need to find cover whereas an external sports coaching provider would sort out cover for you.


Option 4 - Combination

Arguably the most common solution is a combination of all or some of the above! With PESSPA being so varied, there is a lot of scope for flexibility. Here at uSports, the work which we do in each school varies considerably and we have come across schools who use all of the above options and more!


Pros

  1. Flexibility - you can pick and choose the options which work for you


Cons

  1. Having To Manage Different Options - more solutions may mean more work for you to coordinate the different provisions


If you would like advice as to how you can:


...then get in touch with us and we'd be more than happy to help!


PHONE 0118 449 2641





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