From a young age sport and fitness has always supported me with my mental and physical health, something that declines quickly when I don't participate in fitness. My vision is to ensure every child has the opportunities to have access to a variety of sports, in and out of school. I have seen first hand the issues within primary schools; the obesity and the lack of good P.E. provision; I have also researched the statistics that surround sedentary behaviour during the school holidays.
Having noticed these two major issues in children getting enough exercise, I decided to form Apollo Sports, a company that is focussed around providing outstanding P.E. provision and sports camps. To do this, I decided that, the approach that most schools take, of hiring coaches to come in, wasn't working; and I decided that we needed P.E. teachers not coaches to change the P.E. provision being received. To work as a teacher, you need to have a qualified teaching status, and to say that exercise and nutrition is such an issue, the lack of standards around who delivers P.E. is ridiculously low. Three in five children are obese or overweight; to counteract this we need quality teachers who understand the needs of children who don't like to participate; not coaches who have only worked with children who enjoy sport.
This is where Apollo Sports comes in, the aim is to employ QTS teachers who want to deliver P.E. in schools, teachers who understand learning styles and pedagogical methods. The aim is not to hire freelance coaches but to hire amazing teachers who can really make a difference, who understand the school environment, who Apollo can provide CPD training for and they intern can deliver CPD in schools in relation to P.E. If we are to take the obesity crisis seriously, then we need to take who delivers P.E. seriously. I also want every school we are in to provide a school holiday sports camp, something my team already deliver at a different location, along with nutrition sessions. Statistics show the decline in physical and mental health during the school holidays is huge; and with mental health issues increasing, we need to use exercise as a tool to combat it.
As a fitness enthusiast, who has tried all things sport related, I can't emphasise enough the difference quality sport provision can make to a child. My degree was in Secondary Education, Physical Education and Sport; I received a first class degree and participated in four placements in a variety of settings. I am currently studying for a Biology PGCE. I tutor from KS1 to A level; and run a sports camp, my experience is vast and I want to make a difference, using the methods I believe we are missing as a nation.
How it would work
Apollo would hire staff to work for them, we would then train the staff to a standard we believe matches our aims. We then put staff into schools as full or part time members of the school community to deliver P.E. sessions, this is important as it keeps that member of staff consistent in that school and provides that school with quality provision alongside the benefits of having the same P.E. teacher. The P.E. teachers/specialists would work for Apollo with lots of room for growth, some having dual roles such as marketing, research or designing our training programs; it would be a flexible role suitable for people who enjoy variety and a challenge. This would also stop the traditional model of P.E. provision, where coaches free lance in with little accountability and leave whenever they want; we would ensure accountability, planning structure and behaviour management protocols.
Our staff would also run the camps; and plan nutrition sessions; with constant training from us. If our staff are ill we provide cover, which saves the school extra expense and time.
Who will it benefit
The first to benefit will be the students; they will be receiving quality P.E. provision from a qualified P.E. specialist; someone who is passionate about sport, who can deliver and plan inclusive and differentiated sessions. They will receive extra-curricular sessions, along with school holiday clubs; and these will be delivered from a teacher who is not over-stretched and who is a specialist in P.E.
The second to benefit will be the school; studies show an increase in exercise increases cognitive ability, therefore providing children with more exercise should see and increase in grades. Having excellent sport provision will also give children the opportunity to increase their social skills, mental health and physical health; which will make for a happier environment within the school. The school won't need to cover P.E. sessions via teachers in the school, or from a multitude of external agencies; they also won't need to cover any absences as we will do that. We can also provide PPA and absence cover like a cover agency does. We will also provide the school with competitions by leasing with local schools and with our own points charts to get children excited about P.E.
The third to benefit will be our staff, staff who are passionate about delivering quality P.E. who have trained hard to make a difference; its sad to see quality teachers not being given the opportunity to make a difference, when coaches who have very little knowledge surrounding pedagogical approaches are being placed in schools.
Lastly, communities will benefit, if we can get into as many schools as possible, we will have a knock on effect into the community. Increased grades, increased happiness, increased physical health all benefit a community, we will also be providing a safe and secure environment during the holidays for children to stay, rather than on the streets or being bored at home.