What is a School/Club Link and why should we make them?
School/club links aim to create many opportunities for young people to compete inside and outside of school.
Establishing school/club links gives young people the opportunity to participate in worthwhile sporting and physical activity throughout their lives. It allows youngsters to try out new sports, feel comfortable in a club setting and, as a result, make them more likely to continue participating once they leave school.
School/club links are an agreement between a school and a community-based sports club to:
- Work together
- Meet the needs of young people
- Provide new and varied opportunities
- Help in realising ambitions.
What are the benefits of making a School/Club Link?
Most communities do not know what clubs are in their area – personal contact is the best way to promote your club. Posters are not enough! Creating partnerships between schools and clubs helps to create continuity between school sports and sport in the wider community. Youngsters are more likely to get involved if they know what they’re dealing with – if they have already seen club coaches in the familiar surroundings of their school, they are more likely to attend the club! (As they already know the coach!) Schools and clubs can work together to promote local sporting opportunities much more effectively.
Youngsters are more likely to get involved if they have already seen club coaches in the familiar surroundings of their school
The benefits if you are a Club:
- More young people in the club
- Increased participation in the club
- Raised base level participation in club
- Opportunity to identify talent of the future
- Potential access to school facilities and equipment
- Raised profile within the sport
- Raised profile within the community
- Financial opportunities
- Opening up club access to wider community
- Increase the potential to recruit new volunteers
- Co-operation, support and resources from other partners
- Pool of young leaders, coaches and officials of the future
The benefits if you are a School:
- More active and healthier pupils
- Raised profile within the community
- Increased funding opportunities
- Community Links – social benefits
- Pathways for sport – easy exit routes for children into on-going involvement
- Increased standard in school teams due to increased coaching received by pupils
- Recognition as an institution that supports development beyond the school environment (Value Added)
- Support and assistance with extra-curricular teams/activities
The benefits if you are a Young Person:
- Improved opportunities to access sport in the local community
- Opportunity for talent to be identified and nurtured
- Wider range of sporting opportunities
- Move confidently between school and club
- Opportunity to develop coaching and leadership skills
- Understand how experiences in school and at the club complement each other
- Recognise how PE prepares them for involvement in clubs at junior age and beyond
- Introduction to healthy living
- Feel comfortable with a range of people from different backgrounds and of different ages
- Choose club programmes that are suited to them
How can School / Club Links Work?
Good communication between the school and the club is the main contributing factor for a good school / club link.
The following list highlights some of the things that you can do to create and develop a School / Club link:
If you are a Club:
- Provide the school with information and promotional material about the club
- Assign a liaison contact to liaise with and provide info to the schools
- Run a festival/display at the school
- Run a club open day/fun day at the school
- Provide coaches to assist with the extra-curricular clubs (even if it’s just once per term)
- Run a satellite club on the school site during a term where the club goes to the school (familiar surroundings for the children), then after that the children attend the normal club night and venue. (They would have time to become familiar with the type of training and the coaches)
- Tell the schools about their pupil’s achievements (e.g. in a school newsletter)
- Advise school of relevant events and activities that might attract youngsters to the club
- Provide officials for some school fixtures /tournaments
- Make school visits
- The club provides the school with letters of support for funding applications
If you are a School:
- Promote the Club within the school – maybe immediately after a unit of work that matches the sport or during after-school clubs
- Provide facilities by offering the school site for the club to run sessions
- Offer the same sport as an after-school club in order to introduce the children to the sport in a familiar surrounding
- Distribute any promotional material that the clubs may have
- Invite club coaches to speak about their club in school assemblies/PTA meetings so that everyone is aware of what’s on offer
- Dedicate a notice board to the sports club
- Provide advice to pupils about getting involved
- Provide the club with letters of support for funding applications
- Regularly communicate local club opportunities and information to parents
What makes a school / club link effective and successful?
When a school and sports club are working well together, they:
- Talk to each other regularly
- Communicate well with young people and parents
- Respect each other
- Have a shared vision and approach
- Find ways of enabling young people to take part in club activities
- Agree expectations and goals
- Build on what young people learn in both settings
- Recognise, share and celebrate achievements
- Share and develop teaching and coaching expertise
- Share facilities, equipment and resources
- Understand the roles and responsibilities of other agencies that contribute to and support the school / club link
What to do if you are a Club:
It would help initially if a meeting takes place between the school and club to develop an understanding of the School / Club links programme and to provide a mutual commitment to the way forward and the development of the link
When thinking about establishing links with local schools, one of the club’s first points of contact should be the local schools’ Active Schools Coordinator. By making contact, the club and Active Schools Coordinator can discuss the schools sporting opportunities and identify how the club and school can work together to complement the school sports programme and increase opportunities for pupils.
A club should be able to make a strong case for developing links with the local school, as there are many benefits to be gained by both the school and the club.
School sport has in recent years suffered due to the pressures placed on schools from the ever-changing national curriculum, financial constraints and limited time. Therefore both the number of hours available for PE and for after-school sports clubs has in some schools diminished, leaving an opportunity for local sports clubs help to provide quality-sporting opportunities for young people.
Do you need funding for your club to run in a school? Look at Sportivate.