Iconic sports grounds in the city of Bath are being used as part of a pioneering programme to encourage sports skills and teamwork amongst B&NES school children.
The Bath Coaching Hub, a high quality sports enterprise developed by local primary headteachers in collaboration with former Bath Rugby players and leaders of city centre sports organisations, has successfully completed a pilot project. The project seeks to optimise use of the triangle of city centre facilities and increase pupil sports participation across B&NES.
Activities have been held at locations within the city centre, including the Recreation Ground (which hosted Ultimate Frisbee), Bath Cricket Club (hosting cricket and a health and wellbeing course run by the Bath Rugby Foundation), the Leisure Centre (Street Dance and Table Tennis). These iconic sporting venues, in the heart of the City, provide the children with inspiration and a sense of awe which will help promote an ongoing engagement with sporting activities.
For its pilot project, the Bath Coaching Hub provided six activities every week to 90 children from three junior schools in Bath – Widcombe, Oldfield Park and St Michael's – with each school being encouraged to develop sports skills and teamwork qualities.
Bath Coaching Hub Chair and Widcombe Juniors Headteacher, Kate Wilkins, said 'We all feel that it has been a privilege for our children to experience playing some familiar, and more unfamiliar, sports in such inspiring settings and it has had a really positive impact on their physical and social skills as well as being great fun!' The organisers hope that, beyond their participation in the Bath Coaching Hub, the children will use the scheme as a springboard to further involvement in various sports clubs.
Importantly, all of the teachers participating in the Bath Coaching Hub receive upskilling, meaning a boost to the standards of PE when they return to their schools.
At the culmination of the Bath Coaching Hub's pilot project, Bath Rugby First Team Coach Darren Edwards gave a presentation to the children about the importance of teamwork and encouragement between peers. "It's really important for young children to experience lots of different sports and this scheme is fantastic opportunity for them to do that," said Edwards. "The values they've learnt over the past six weeks are the same ones we uphold at Bath Rugby every single day, and they'll serve them well throughout their lives."
The success of the scheme could see the inclusion of up to 18 schools next year with an expanded roll out of the scheme already planned for the summer terms.