Schools chiefs tee off Ryder Cup curriculum plan

26th March 2010 at 00:00
Education chiefs aim to use sporting event as catalyst to improve teaching and learning

In October the eyes of the world will be focused on the south Wales city of Newport as it plays host to golf's prestigious Ryder Cup competition.

But while Europe and America's finest golfers will compete for glory at the Celtic Manor Resort for just three days, it is hoped the event will have an educational impact that will last for many years.

This week Newport City Council launched a unique Ryder Cup-themed curriculum for pupils aged six to 13. Developed over the course of two years with input from teachers and other professionals, the curriculum is designed to inspire a generation of pupils and to improve pedagogy.

It is the first time an educational resource has been produced for the Ryder Cup, and it has received the backing of the event's organisers, who have allowed the council unprecedented use of the tournament's world- famous logo.

Although golf provides the background, the curriculum is not designed to teach children about the sport or how to play it.

Instead, it fits in with the Assembly government's aim of promoting thematic learning and the development of key skills, such as communication and IT, through a cross-curricular approach.

A particular focus will be on improving the core skills of English (or first-language Welsh) and maths.

Ideas for lessons include planning a golf festival, using IT to design a course, and using the sport to explore issues of equality.

Brett Pugh, Newport's chief education officer, said the council wanted to exploit the potential of a huge international sporting event to create an educational legacy.

"We wanted this to be a process that would improve young people's education and understanding of the sport of golf," he said. "We didn't want to just pay lip service to it."

Mr Pugh said he hoped the curriculum would encourage the development of high-quality, innovative teaching, and that pupils would be encouraged to "take ownership" of their learning.

The council will encourage all schools in Newport to make use of the curriculum, and is holding a series of training sessions for teachers in the next month. The resources will be available to download for free in English and Welsh.

The council hopes that schools across the UK will make use of them, and that the curriculum will be adapted for other major sporting events.

A number of schools in Newport have been "twinned" with local golf clubs, and some have even developed on-site facilities. St Gabriel's RC primary, for example, has become the first school in Wales to have its own golf course.

IN THE SWING OF THINGS

Although the Ryder Cup is being held in Newport, schools across Wales want their pupils to benefit from a major international sporting event happening in their country.

Monmouth Comprehensive School recently invited one of the architects of the Celtic Manor Resort's bid to host the tournament to speak to its students.

Simon Gibson, chief executive of Wesley Clover, the company that owns the resort, sits on Monmouth's board of associates, a group of business people who help support and guide the school.

He spoke to Year 9 pupils about the bidding process, focusing on the socio-economic, environmental and business impact of the event on the local area.

BTEC sports science students gave a presentation about how they felt the Ryder Cup would affect health and well-being in the area, and business studies students presented ideas to Mr Gibson.

Andy Williams, the school's senior leader, said: "It's important when you have such a massive event that local schools can become involved. The Ryder Cup is going to have a huge impact on students at this school for years to come."

Original paper headline: Newport schools chiefs tee off Ryder Cup curriculum plan

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