Annual sports project with primary schools
Every year in the first week of our summer holidays King’s invites around 130 pupils in Years 4&5 from three Merton and Wandsworth primary schools to enjoy a week of arts or sports activities on our site. The sports side of the project is for pupils in years 4 & 5 at St Mark’s, Southmead and Bond primary schools, all of which have a higher-than-average number of pupils on Free School Meals and minimal sports facilities. The project is run by around 50 sixth-formers from King’s and some of our secondary partner schools, Ricards Lodge High School, Coombe Girls' School and Coombe Boys’ School, supervised by five members of staff. Games activities enjoyed by the children include hockey, rounders, football, tag rugby, tennis, cricket and swimming. On the last day of the project, the pupils participate in a sports tournament and a prize-giving to which their parents are invited.
The aims of the project are to share our sports facilities with the wider community and to give our pupils and those at two of our secondary partner schools invaluable work experience as organisers and coaches on the project. The need for such a project was identified in discussions with the primary schools in which it was agreed that their children could benefit both from our facilities and exposure to good teenage role models. The critical factors for success are the trust that has built up between all our schools over the years, the careful training and supervision of the team of sixth-formers and the enthusiasm and commitment of staff. The head teachers at the maintained primary and secondary schools also need to agree to release their pupils and supervisory staff for a whole week towards the end of their summer term. The beneficiaries are the primary school pupils, the sixth-formers and the King’s staff who gain experience of working with maintained school pupils.
The project sprang from the success of an arts project for two primary schools which had been taking place since 2008 on our site in the first week of our summer holidays. In the case of the third primary school, a regular Friday afternoon activity established the basis for inviting them to join in when it was decided to add the sports project in 2011. This decision was made by King's staff who identified the first week of our summer holidays as a time when our sports as well as our arts facilities were available. All three primary schools were well known to us from weekly volunteering activities established well before 2008, meaning that a high degree of trust and familiarity had already been built up between the schools. Sixth-formers from some of the secondary schools in the Wimbledon ISSP were invited to join ours in 2012 and have been participating every year since then. In the case of St Mark's and Southmead primary schools, pupils do the arts project in one year and the sports project the next, meaning that they participate in two projects run by sixth-formers during their time at school.
The project requires the availability of the school site and a budget for transport and payments to staff. It uses mainly teaching staff but members of the school's support staff are also involved, including the porters, groundsmen and nurse. The arts and sports projects are run by ten members of staff, including the school’s swimming coach, and last five days. The costs are met by a combination of direct funding by Kings and a generous contribution from our parent-teacher association, known as the Friends of King’s.
The project is assessed and reviewed by means of questionnaires which are filled in by the visiting primary school staff. These also report back to their headteachers, who often attend the tournament on the last day and chat to the parents who come along. The schools return every year.
Around 50 boys and girls in Year 12 from King's and two of its partner secondary schools, Ricrads Lodge and Coombe Boys' School organise and run the activities every year.
This project is run annually in the first week of the summer holidays on-site at King's.