Last week, TeamUp and the Youth Sport Trust joined forces to host a conference aimed at secondary school teachers in London, to encourage those who deliver sport in schools to rethink their teaching methods to maximise engagement among girls.
To close the jampacked day, attendees were treated to inspirational talk by Olympic Gold Medallist, Kate Richardson-Walsh. The former Great Britain hockey captain recounted the team’s journey to Olympic champions, and the challenges they faced and overcame along the way by working together collaboratively.
Throughout the conference, held at the KIA Oval, the teachers took part in interactive sessions led by the Youth Sport Trust, the England & Wales Cricket Board, England Hockey and England Netball, that highlighted the wider outcomes that can be achieved through the delivery of team-based sports.
Ali Oliver, CEO of the Youth Sport Trust, opened the conference with a powerful address that underlined the nuances between delivery of sport to girls and boys, noting that girls need inspiration and role models to look up to. She said teachers should aim to make PE ‘about fun and friendship’, while ‘creating meaning and value to them’, to help girls understand how the skills they learn in PE can be transferred into later life.
The opening address was followed by a ‘Power of PE’ workshop, which developed the idea that teachers need to adopt an explicit life skills approach to teaching PE to build the confidence, competence and motivation to be active for life among young people. For this to happen, they need to understand that PE is relevant to their lives. Youth Sport Trust research (2017) shows that only 29% of girls aged 14-16 years old, compared to 47% of boys, thought the skills learnt in PE were relevant in their day to day life.
Alongside the Power of PE workshop, the TeamUp Teacher’s Conference included breakout sessions from all three sports:
· Cricket – this session was comprised of games, peer led discovery and group discussions to demonstrate how cricket can be used as a tool to develop collaborative approaches between students;
· Hockey – this session looked at how hockey can benefit all students in helping them enhance their own verbal and non-verbal communication techniques in a fun, safe and engaging environment;
· Netball – this session focused on providing innovative ways of engaging girls in netball and the wider sporting offers available within schools, and demonstrated how teachers and coaches can utilise specialised netball messaging to inspire a life-long habit of physical activity
Thanks to funding from Wembley National Stadium Trust, the
conference – valued at £400 per person – was offered free to teachers from
London schools. In addition, each delegate that attended the conference was
gifted two tickets for an England v Uganda netball match.
TeamUp is a joint initiative launched in 2016 by the
England & Wales Cricket Board, England Hockey and England Netball. Its goal
is to maximise the legacy of three consecutive home women’s World Cups between
2017-2019 and ensure that thousands of seven to 13-year-old girls across
the country have the chance to play team sports.
The initiative was given a significant boost in May 2017 when Wembley National Stadium Trust committed over £650,000 to extend the initiative within the London boroughs and provide local delivery support for London schools and additional opportunities for girls to participate in sport. Schools can access this support by registering at www.teamupengland.com and applying for support.