Everyone's a Winner from Community Sport in School; Wales Should Invest in Community Sport in Schools to Help Health and Education, Says Owen Hathway, Wales Police Officer for the National Education Union

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), December 21, 2017 | Go to article overview

Everyone's a Winner from Community Sport in School; Wales Should Invest in Community Sport in Schools to Help Health and Education, Says Owen Hathway, Wales Police Officer for the National Education Union


Acommon theme we see across all high-performing schools is that they inevitably have community support.

Where schools are truly seen as the centre of their societies, whereparents and teachers work in collaboration, and where a child's development is seen as something which extends beyond the school timetable, attainment and well-being is maximised.

One way in which the education sector can ensure better relationships are built between schools and communities is to establish our institutions as a community resource. A school building as an incubator for academic curiosity by day, and a house of extra-curricular exploration outside of those hours.

Too often over recent years the consequences, unintentional or otherwise, of Welsh Government initiatives such as the literacy and numeracy framework, school banding and categorisation or standardised testing, have been a narrowing of the curriculum.

Those creative subjects such as art, music, drama and physical education have become marginalised, and with them the emphasis on key aspects of pupil well-being and child development.

It is right that we build on the opportunities presented by reforms, such as the design of the new curriculum for Wales, to once again embed their importance within the school day.

However, we should also explore the extended avenues available.

Working with community groups, sports clubs, volunteers and third sector organisations, schools can create a resource in their areas that not only enhances the quality of our education sector but can also meet the challenges posed by deep cuts to our leisure services brought about by year on year austerity budget settlements.

In calling for a greater utilisation of school buildings it is important to acknowledge two key points. Firstly, this level of cooperation is undoubtedly taking place in some parts of Wales already.

More likely than not it is teachers going above and beyond the call of duty to run these after school clubs.

Secondly, I am very aware of the existing demands on the teaching profession.

The Education Workforce Council's survey of the sector provided some alarming detail about the pressures currently put on the shoulders of classroom practitioners: | 78.1% of teachers felt workload was an issue. …

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Everyone's a Winner from Community Sport in School; Wales Should Invest in Community Sport in Schools to Help Health and Education, Says Owen Hathway, Wales Police Officer for the National Education Union
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