PE lessons delivered by football coaches in primary schools are set for significant improvement following the launch of a collaborative partnership between The FA and Premier League.
For three years The FA’s PE and coaching in education unit have supported community coaches as part of the Level 3 Certificate in supporting the delivery of physical education and school sport.
Classroom management, understanding pupil needs, planning, pedagogy and reflection are all covered on the course, which aims to help club staff exceed the expectations of the national curriculum when delivering in schools.
The Premier League have made the qualification mandatory for all club coaches working on their new Premier League Primary Stars programme, launched this autumn.
Roger Davies, FA coaching in education manager, said: “The idea that a coach and a teacher are something different is merging and blending. This course shows that it’s actually just about high quality teaching.
“One Premier League club has over 300 members of full and part-time staff working in their community programme – all delivering content in schools. The FA has a responsibility to support these networks of staff because they are out there delivering football.
“The feedback from the coaches that have completed the Level 3 PESS course has been that the work actually helps them get better at their day-to-day job – it’s not just ticking a box. It is helping the coaches get better and giving the kids a better experience.”
Davies’ thoughts are echoed by Ross McKinley, programmes executive at the Premier League Charitable Fund, who is helping develop the new Primary Stars programme, which will also offer digital support to those schools located remotely and out of reach of a football club community programme.
McKinley said: “This is the first time during my time at the organisation that we have been involved – as a charitable fund – in a formal relationship with The FA’s education team.
"It has been one of the best relationships we’ve had – certainly at a partnership level – in terms of the knowledge sharing between the two organisations.
“Both organisations are pushing in the same direction and trying to achieve the same thing. We’re funding our clubs to go and work in schools and from The FA’s point of view they are training the coaches to provide better delivery in schools.”
Chris Brammall, FA PE and coaching in education coordinator, believes that the mandatory qualification will help change the perception of what football clubs can offer to education.
He said: “There is no mandatory requirement to teach football in PE within the national curriculum – so we look at how football can act as a really useful tool to fulfil certain aspects of the curriculum.
“This course is about high quality PE and what it looks like and then putting that into practice.
“Our FA Level 2 football coaching course gives you many transferable skills useful in a school setting, but it doesn’t teach you how to deal with 30 pupils in a PE lesson – it is not designed to do that.
“This course is designed specifically to support coaches in PE and looks at differentiation, assessing pupil progress and meeting individual pupil needs.
“For example: how do you manage and include all pupils with such a wide range of ability levels, or say a special educational needs pupil with mobility issues who uses a frame to help them move around in your PE lesson? That’s what this course is designed to highlight and discuss.”