High quality sports and movement coaching and mentoring to enhance fitness, skills, mental health and behaviour and build opportunities for a deprived and diverse community
Children and parents tell us they want more chances to play and enjoy sports in and out of school. A lack of access to sports and PE harms children’s development and can contribute to mental health and behavioural issues. The needs have been exacerbated by the inequality of experiences during the crises of Covid and rising cost of living.
Oval Learning is therefore excited to be part of this four-year partnership with Greenhouse Sports which involves one secondary school and four primaries. Impact on Urban Health, Greenhouse and partners are generously funding the majority of the costs which totals more than £1m over five years).
Working with 300 10-14 year olds annually, the project will expand and enhance Greenhouse Sports’ established model of embedding sports coaches in schools. The coaches will provide universal sports coaching, as well as targeted mentoring and in-school pastoral support for children at risk. The coaches will engage children before, during and after school as well as during the holidays – all at no cost to families. This is also an opportunity to develop and test a potentially replicable model to fill the current mental health support capacity gap in schools.
The project aims to support children most at risk of developing or worsening behavioural difficulties as they transition from primary to secondary school. This is a point in a child’s life which is known to trigger a decrease in mental health, particularly for children and young people from lower socio-economic backgrounds or who are experiencing behavioural difficulties. It will deliver a pioneering study into a public health concern that particularly affects young people from among the poorest in our society.
The project is being led by Greenhouse Sports, overseen by a Project Steering Group of partners including Oval Learning, ImpactEd, Place2Be and Impact on Urban Health – to share learning and adapt provision as required to maximise impact.
An external evaluation by UCL will assess the effectiveness of the intervention and its impact on students’ behavioural difficulties in the context of school transitions.