The Elms Sport in Schools

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by The Elms Sport in Schools's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from The Elms Sport in Schools is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Sport and physical education
are of great importance when it
comes to the youth of today
Sporting education fosters
resilience and determination
For 15 years, The Elms Sport In Schools has been a leading
provider of sports coaching for the primary school sector
within London. As society changes, it is all the more
important that new generations of children are given the
opportunity to learn and explore physical activity in the context
of primary education. To this end, The Elms currently works
with over 140 primary schools, offering extracurricular clubs,
structured lunchtime play, PPA cover, CPD training and one-off
sports events as well as holiday camps. Managing Director Jason
O’Connor tells
The Parliamentary Review
We believe sport and physical education has a significant part to play in moulding
the youth of today.
The two hours of physical education a child receives during the school week, as
well as the opportunity for extracurricular activities, help them to develop basic
motor skills, relationships with other children and resilience through both the joy of
winning and the despair of losing.
The Elms philosophy
We aim to ensure that all children, no matter their age or ability, are catered for
appropriately. We believe that physical education should be for everyone – our
coaches are correspondingly trained in inclusivity so that we do the most we can
for everyone.
»Managing Director:
»Based in Stanmore, Middlesex
»Established in 2005
»Services: Sports provision for
primary schools
»No. of employees: Over 120
»Over 1,100 coaching hours
delivered per week
The Elms Sport in
Highlighting best practice
Teachers, coaches and parents can
easily forget about the importance
of letting children develop and enjoy
what they are doing from such a
young age. It is imperative that
children have as much time as possible
to play, explore and develop in a safe
school environment.
Throughout the academic year, we
have generic plan for coaches to
follow, but we still allow them the
freedom and flexibility to adapt them
as they see fit. This could be based
on many factors such as number
of children, resources available and
facilities to name a few.
Children are taught techniques and
skills in as many as 12 different
disciplines, including football, tag
rugby, netball, tennis and cricket.
We task our coaches to find ways
to continually keep children active,
engaged and challenged throughout
the academic year through the use of
various coaching techniques.
Alongside our 100-plus coaches, we
employ eight full-time members of
administration staff to support schools,
allowing them to concentrate on what
they do best: teach.
Outstanding partnerships
We are fortunate to work alongside
some of the most established and
driven charities whose goals align
directly with our own. Maccabi GB
and The Golf Trust, as well as many
borough councils, use our services to
deliver a variety of sports programmes
across the academic year.
Together, this drives participation
numbers to a level that would have
otherwise never been attainable – the
variety of relationships we have with
other celebrated local and national
partners allow us to provide thousands
of children with access to new sporting
opportunities every day.
PE and sport premium
The launch of the PE and sport premium
in 2013 enabled schools to have more
of a focus on physical education.
While a well-intentioned move, the
funding itself can be misappropriated
or badly used if a school is not properly
informed; it is vital that it is used to
cover key components such as:
»Developing or adding to the PE,
physical activity and sport activities
that a school already offers
»Building capacity and capability
within the school to ensure that
improvements made now will
benefit pupils joining the school in
»The engagement of all pupils in
regular physical activity – the UK’s
chief medical officer recommends
that all children and young people
aged between five and 18 engage
in at least 60 minutes of physical
activity a day, of which 30 minutes
should be in school
We deliver more than
1,100 coaching hours a
week across London
We believe
that physical
should be for
»Raising the profile of PE and sport
across school
»Increasing the confidence, knowledge
and skills of all staff when it comes
to teaching PE and sport
»Broadening the range of sports and
activities offered to all pupils
»Increasing participation in
competitive sport.
The introduction of the sport premium
has certainly helped us to grow the
organisation; we are now effectively
able to cater to all these listed points
and consequently assist a school in
developing the sporting areas of
Our future growth as an organisation
will largely depend on the continuation
of this funding as well as the
preferences of key decision-makers at
primary schools.
Staffing and school challenges
The absence of a large pool of skilled
and qualified coaching staff will always
affect our operation, but we have
appropriate, time-tested procedures
in place to ensure that we never let a
school down.
Prerequisites for coaches include a
fully enhanced DBS, child protection
and safeguarding training, first aid
qualifications and disqualification
It is also imperative that all Elms
coaches put themselves in a teacher’s
shoes to effectively assess each
school’s individual situation. Our staff
are regularly given the opportunity to
develop through internal and external
training, which consequently provides
them with the best possible skillset to
adapt to any difficult challenges they
come across in school. All coaches
have a pathway for progression
through in-house licence points, and
all are assigned a senior manager to
assist in their development.
The next generation of coaches
For the past four years, we have run
an apprenticeship course with the
assistance of an education provider,
allowing us to nurture and train the
next generation of coaches. This is
of vital importance for the long-term
survival of our business.
Being able to nurture a young coach
by giving them experiences they would
otherwise never be prepared for has
been key to our success; the process
does, however, come with both
positives and negatives, including levels
of maturity, dedication and, of course,
cost implications.
Going forward, we recognise that our
focus must be continuing to deliver
a high-quality service to primary
schools. This can only be achieved
by continually working with staff to
keep them abreast of new strategies
It is vital that schools continue to
support us in this endeavour and
consequently imperative that we have
a line of communication with them to
ensure that all objectives are met.
We are
fortunate to
work alongside
some of the
most established
and driven
charities whose
goals align
directly with our
We provide supporting
education in 12 separate
sporting disciplines

This article was sponsored by The Elms Sport in Schools. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development