What it's all about
In 2009, I joined Loughborough College and helped to devise a scheme that would put our sports students into 22 schools in two counties - and eventually across England, writes Rob Jarram.
Backed by primary PE teachers and elite athletes, the programme launched in August 2011. The PE apprentices are each allocated to a primary school to assist with lessons, lead lunchtime and after-school clubs, develop community links and organise sporting guest speakers.
Broom Leys Primary in Coalville wanted apprentice Jordan McIlwraith to join the staff after just three weeks. The quality and diversity of PE teaching at the school has soared: it has introduced same-sex clubs and now has gymnastics, handball and dodgeball, along with hockey, netball and football. Pupil participation has rocketed, particularly among older girls and boys from low-income families. Jordan now has a full-time job.
A key element of the programme is to identify and nurture potential elite athletes. Loughborough College has now launched the country's first Elite Athlete Performance Centre for 16- to 18-year-olds. We are also working with children as young as 7 to find out which sports they enjoy and are good at, so we can direct them to local clubs and national bodies that will develop those skills even further.
The aim is to drive sport through county partnership funding, with primaries appointing their own apprentices. We train them each summer and support them through the academic year.
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