Blackpool FC Community Trust column: Utilising the power of PE in schools

As restrictions begin to ease, we decided to reflect on how the latest lockdown impacted on BFCCT’s work in local primary schools.

Friday, 2nd April 2021, 12:30 pm

Chris Debar, PE manager for BFCCT, shares how the last few months have gone.

He said: “‘New start’ is usually the term thrown around at the beginning of the calendar year but, unfortunately, that didn’t last long as we entered another national lockdown following the first day back in schools.

“Being able to provide support with PE and physical activity to schools and pupils who needed it was of the utmost importance to us.

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“As always, we offered our support to primary schools that we work with and continued to provide a variety of physical activity sessions for pupils still at school.

“This time, that number of pupils was higher due to the key worker criteria expanding and more schools required support.

“Our staff had become confident in delivering sessions that were Covid-safe. They deliver in a range of schools, all with different procedures and protocols to follow.

“The team have done a fantastic job in being able to respond and act accordingly in whatever environment they have been placed in.

“Continuing this support was important for many reasons, but it also helped to ensure our primary schools team kept some form of working routine, which was vital for their own mental and physical wellbeing.

“It’s been a challenging time for everyone, getting used to where we can go, what we can do and who we can see.

“Rules and guidance seem to have changed frequently, and so too has the role our staff have played in primary schools. It’s not been easy at times but the team have cracked on and accepted any challenges and situations that have come their way.

“My role has changed during the pandemic. There have been periods of being unable to work, of working with a few pupils in a group, and with a full group.

“It has challenged my ability to deliver but there have also been positives, as working with a reduced number has meant more time to get to know the children better and understand their individual needs.

“Covid has reminded me just how important our role in schools can be, and in some instances, we have contributed to being the ‘constant’ in a lot of children’s lives during a difficult time.

“To all our school team and all the school staff that have worked continuously throughout the last year in difficult circumstances, we massively thank you.

“All primary school pupils had returned to school before the Easter break.

“We have continued our provision in schools to help with the reintegration of those pupils who have not seen their classmates since January 4.

“The team have helped work on communication skills, being able to work as a team and the importance of resilience, all while having pupils be physically active. There’s no other subject like PE.

“Physical activity and the benefits of participating in it, both physically and mentally, are not new. They have been known about for years. It’s a real shame that it has taken a global pandemic for people outside the PE and physical activity world to listen and take note.

“I try and be a glass half full person, so I’m hopeful that now it’s been spoken about in the public domain as much as it has in the last 12 months, that the government will act quickly on the future of the Primary PE and Sports Premium funding.

“It is due to conclude at the end of this academic year and schools will need adequate time to plan accordingly.

“My hope is that those with the power ensure that PE and physical activity are put at the top of the priority list whenever ‘normal’ returns. I also hope the word ‘unprecedented’ never gets used again.

“One thing I know for sure is that we will always be a strong advocate for PE and physical activity, and whether the PE and Sport Premium funding continues or not, we will still be here, supporting our schools, our pupils and our community.”

For more information about Blackpool FC Community Trust please visit www.BFCCT.co.uk, follow BFCCT on social media or call 01253 348691.

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