Aims of the project
There are generally fewer opportunities for primary pupils to participate in sport compared to the busy and inclusive fixture lists of independent schools. The scheme aims to provide opportunities for local primary school pupils to experience high quality and professionally run sports events which allow them to test themselves as individuals and as a team by playing sport against other local schools. It generates a huge amount of enthusiasm and enjoyment amongst the children and develops their sense of sportsmanship and fair play.
Shrewsbury High Prep School provides:Specialist pitches, courts and courses prepared by the ground staff
• Professional organisers, umpires and referees
• Specialist equipment
• An enclosed arena that is fully risk assessed
• Dedicated changing areas and facilities
• Refreshments are provided by our on-site caterers
• Outdoor and indoor space in which to conclude the events with the presentation of medals and trophies to the winning schools and individuals
• Space to allow for spectators (mums and dads in particular) to enjoy their children playing sport.
Background and goals
In 2008, in response to there being a lack of sporting opportunities for primary school children in the central and wider catchment area of Shrewsbury, I began a sustainable project to share the staff expertise, experience and facilities that we have at Shrewsbury High Prep School to host a series of sporting tournaments to provide opportunities for local primary pupils to play sport. As we approach the end of the 2016/17 academic year, this will be our 9th successive year where primary school pupils have attended our tournaments. During these years, we have provided 6 annual tournaments in football, netball, cross country, orienteering, cricket and rounders. On several occasions, we have worked in collaboration with Shrewsbury Primary Schools Sports Partnership to provide the venue to host and organise county qualifying tournaments.
The original aim was to provide a sustainable programme of sport and this has definitely been fulfilled. The tournaments continue to be as popular and well attended as ever and this year approximately, 500 pupils have participated in our tournaments, which, working on this number brings the total of pupils participating since 2008 to 4500, together with staff and parents supporting their children.
ritical to the project is the staff expertise to be able to organise and run large scale sporting tournaments.
We have approx 15 acres of grounds including a cross country course, football pitches, netball courts, cricket wickets and rounders pitches.
All tournaments involve teaching and non-teaching staff and the use of our pupils to either compete or officiate. Caterers provide and serve the refreshments to participants and parents who come and spectate.
There is no financial contribution from the participating schools.
As the tournaments are arranged a term in advance it gives the schools a substantial period of time to prepare teams – have practices and coaching sessions – for each competition. Talking to the staff at partner schools it is evident that having an event to work towards provides an incentive for the pupils and coaching and training sessions are that much more focussed and worthwhile. Staff also enjoy watching their team develop and improve throughout the duration of the tournament or event. The frequency and regularity of the tournaments means that there is always something to aim for and the tournaments have become a fixture on primary school calendars. The facilities that we can offer and the staff expertise and experience that we have in the Prep school is a strength and visiting staff have the security of a well organised event with specialist staff and officials in a safe contained environment.
The success of the scheme can be measured by the numbers participating on such a regular basis. The sporting tournaments continue to be very popular amongst our catchment of Primary Schools and we attract new schools who want to join in and compete. The enjoyment it brings to the young children who participate and the pleasure it gives to staff and parents who attend is also a key measure of success.
Prep pupils are involved in each event by looking after visiting schools and helping with the officiating of the event. This is something that our pupils enjoy. They are very good ambassadors for our school. In particular it benefits their social skills and this contributes to their PSHE programme.
We do enter teams into the tournaments and therefore it provides more sporting opportunities for our pupils who are given the opportunity to compete against a much wider variety and number of schools. Although the tournaments are competitive, the ethos is centred on participation and being inclusive to all levels of ability. Therefore, I can provide sport for our pupils of all abilities.
The Senior School pupils are given the opportunity to develop leadership/organisational and life skills through assisting in the umpiring, coaching and running of the events, giving them a greater insight into the wider context of the world of sport. They also contribute to the older pupils gaining their Sports Leadership wards.
Frequency and duration
This is a sustainable programme designed to provide sporting opportunities for local primary school children who wouldn’t normally have this opportunity within the confines of their school curriculum. Since 2008 when as Shrewsbury High Prep School we began hosting these tournaments, over 4000 pupils and parents have shared in this experience.