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What do you think of Primary schools hiring sports coaches to deliver PE and sports sessions?

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TheaThompson, May 23, 2018.

  1. hurtigruten

    hurtigruten New commenter

    Specialist sports coaching is most beneficial in small, rural schools where realistically there may be no teacher with either confidence or aptitude in teaching PE. I have seen this work really well in 'Cluster' groups, where the SSCO coordinates a sports festival, enabling all these schools come together for an afternoon of PE or Games. Larger schools (4 or more teachers?) really have no excuse for not having at least one teacher who is competent/enthusiastic about teaching PE, in the same way that they would employ a music specialist or an IT expert.
    TheaThompson likes this.
  2. TheaThompson

    TheaThompson New commenter

    Some good points here.
    If you had a coach coming into your school, would you feel confident that they would be able to teach/coach your low attaining or SEN children?
  3. CarrieV

    CarrieV Lead commenter

    We use Sports Premium funding to provide a specialist teacher for each class for two terms a year, one indoor PE and one outdoor PE. The class teacher takes part in the sessions ( so it is NOT used for PPA cover) with the intention that they are "upskilled" in a variety of different sports over the years.
    TheaThompson likes this.
  4. ViolaClef

    ViolaClef Lead commenter

    Primary-aged children can benefit hugely from subject specialist teaching. It means they get teachers who are genuinely passionate, skilled and knowledgeable about the subject and consequently the children can be inspired and experience more. Surely few primary teachers can say - hand on heart - that they feel enthusiasm, personal competence and confidence in every subject area they are required to teach. In order for the pupils to be given the ‘best deal’ subject specialists should be used. Interestingly the subjects most likely to be taught by specialists at primary level are P.E./Sport and Music, though I’ve heard of others too. It makes sense either to bring in specialists or swap classes to use the expertise and enthusiasms of the staff.
    TheaThompson likes this.
  5. ViolaClef

    ViolaClef Lead commenter

    You seem to be suggesting that a sports coach is qualified to teach a particular sport but may have no large group behaviour management skills or mixed ability teaching experience. If that were to be the case I’m not sure they would be much use in a school setting. A coach ought to be able to coach/teach at a range of levels from beginner upwards; however, experience of teaching in a school - or training to do this (e.g. primary teacher with P.E. specialism) would make a significant difference.
  6. Admin Princess

    Admin Princess Occasional commenter

    Yes, because we would seek references, interview the company thoroughly, etc. If any school just says "Hey, we've had this lovely colourful flyer from Company X, we'll give them a go" they deserve everything they get.

    Something that can't be emphasised strongly enough for Primary schools in this discussion is the need to use the Sport Premium effectively, and what it can/can't be used for. You can't use if for swimming lessons, you can't use it to pay a qualified teacher to teach PE in another teacher's PPA time. For some schools, hiring external coaches might be their only option to spend this large chunk of money which is ring-fenced, so can't be used elsewhere to plug the gaps in an otherwise woeful budget.
    agathamorse likes this.
  7. NotAPowerRanger

    NotAPowerRanger New commenter

    It was a comment about your spelling, not that s/he didn't understand what you were saying.
    WJClarkson and TheaThompson like this.
  8. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    So you can't use it to pay a PE teacher to teach PE, but you can use it to pay someone who isn't a teacher to teach PE?

    agathamorse and TheaThompson like this.
  9. Admin Princess

    Admin Princess Occasional commenter

    Exactly right! Which is a bit tricky for schools like ours that recognised the need for specialist PE teaching BEFORE the Sport Premium was introduced, pay our (excellent) PE teacher on the upper pay range...and then have to try and spend thousands of pounds to improve our provision even further. There's only so many after-school clubs you can have in a week :eek:
  10. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    And you can't use it for swimming lessons, which is probably the only school activity which could potentially save your (or someone else's) life!
    agathamorse likes this.
  11. hurtigruten

    hurtigruten New commenter

    I agree, any worthy coach should be able to teach to a range of abilities. What is more fundamental I think, is a pastoral knowledge of the children they are coaching. I cannot believe that an external coach would have the same sensitivity and knowledge of particular pupils' needs as a permanent member of the teaching staff? Even if provided with any pertinent information prior to the session/s? I am speaking as one who has performed both roles. I think we all agree that sports coaching is invaluable; the argument really is about whether this should ideally come from within the school.
    ViolaClef, chelsea2 and TheaThompson like this.
  12. TheaThompson

    TheaThompson New commenter

    I’m passionate, I was typing quickly.
  13. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    The nature of many primary schools as I see it through the eyes of Mrs P who has worked in several -often doing PPA is that schools need some part time staff to cover the PPA time for their full time teachers. They use this in a variety of ways with music and PE often seeming to be chosen subjects.
    At this point, quality assurance becomes important. You can get brilliant part time teachers to cover PPA or you can get teachers with less competence. Part of the job of SLT is to use effective recruitment techniques to recruit strongly and then to monitor the delivery of what is needed. What Mrs P has noticed is that agencies are sometimes less good at delivering (any) staff than you get from a contract with a named teacher. (In two schools she worked in they were badly let down with staff failing to attend and not even apologising. One of those schools was using an LA agency).
    A good children's sports coach, by the nature of the job, will probably already be good at working with mixed abilty groups and have a fair number of group and behaviour management skills.
  14. ViolaClef

    ViolaClef Lead commenter

    Yes, the quality of the teacher and the teaching is paramount. Heads should be just as concerned to recruit excellent P.E. or Music teachers as they would be to appoint an excellent class teacher.
  15. palmtree100

    palmtree100 Lead commenter

    In larger primary schools a specialist PE teacher role can be created, so they get to know the school and the children well, rather than external coaches coming and going. I have seen this work well.
    TheaThompson and chelsea2 like this.
  16. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    I've seen it work in two schools long term (ppa/pe coaches) In the first school, the team was led by a full time qualified PE teacher/coach and the PE teaching was excellent, almost certainly better than most general teachers would offer. In the second school, a team of young coaches with no clear direction or support seemed to result in very poorly planned lessons, an awful lot of football and running about with little teaching that we could see. Oh and the latter led no after school clubs or teams at all which was surprising.
    chelsea2 and TheaThompson like this.
  17. bevdex

    bevdex Star commenter

    I can teach P.E. - I hold coaching certificates for gymnastics and lacrosse - BUT - being honest, Sam the coach does a far better job teaching P.E. than I do - he's committed, passionate about sport of all kinds and doesn't have a knackered left ankle. He gives the children in my class a much better P.E. education than I could.
    agathamorse, TheaThompson and drvs like this.
  18. drvs

    drvs Star commenter

    If you had no interest in maths but chose to be a primary class teacher then you would have made a poor career choice. The straightforward answer is, as you no doubt know, that state schools are externally judged on their pupils' performance in maths, not in PE. Maths will naturally have a higher profile.

    And no, I don't think that primary PE should become an examined subject or an Ofsted focus.
    TheaThompson and bevdex like this.
  19. TheaThompson

    TheaThompson New commenter

    Thank you to everyone who has replied to my post. All of your comments have been valuable, and created a good discussion.
  20. The-Gaffer

    The-Gaffer Occasional commenter

    In a nutshell I'm against it with an unrivalled passion

    You can get a dodgeball level 2 coaching qualification inside of a day for a £100 which a sports coaching company or yourself could then use to be employed in a Primary School to lead an entire PE curriculum

    That needs repeating, a level 2 coaching qualification, which is (at the risk of flogging a dead horse) a level 2 qualification - you know like a GCSE is a level 2 qualification

    Or a BTEC level 2 - like a GCSE - how many teachers are responsible in primary schools for delivery of an entire subject with only a GCSE in it & no formal training in teaching

    I think it's a disgrace
    TheaThompson likes this.

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