At present, there is no widely recognised national training or quality standard for coaching children in sport. ‘TOP Coach’ has been developed by the Youth Sport Trust, the charity who brought the world-famous TOPs programmes to every primary school in the country in the 1990’s.
It responds to the need to increase activity levels in young children and a growing demand from head teachers for an easily recognizable accreditation mark. The programme will give clarity and confidence to parents, schools and community organisations when looking for specialist child coaches in the school environment.
Currently being piloted with coaches from British Gymnastics and Premier Education –the programme will launch in February and will be aligned to the new national standards from Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMPSA).
Ali Oliver, Chief Executive of the Youth Sport Trust, said:
“The establishment of national standards for coaching children in sport is something we have wanted to see for a long time and we are thrilled to support CIMSPA in the development of these. However, the value of the standards is in the quality of training they drive and we are confident TOP Coach is part of the solution to a serious need in the industry. There is currently no nationally recognised training for coaching children and this needs to change.
“With primary schools now receiving £320m extra funding through the PE and sport premium and through working with fantastic partners like UK Coaching, we have never been so close to achieving our goal. Children deserve to have appropriately trained and accredited professionals introducing them to their first experiences of sport and the new national standards and TOP Coach will ensure this is so.”
Trainees on the TOP Coach programme will undergo a series of short courses, complete face-to-face training, and online learning. Delivered by tutors experienced in youth and school sport, the course supports and challenges coaches to understand the important factors contributing to appropriate physical development of children. It also looks at the wider outcomes including personal, social, cognitive and creative development, along with the important nuances of delivering sport in a school setting.
"Children deserve to have appropriately trained and accredited professionals introducing them to their first experiences of sport and the new national standards and TOP Coach will ensure this is so."
Ali Oliver, Chief Executive
David Turner, Development Lead for Children at UK Coaching, said:
“UK Coaching is delighted to be working in collaboration with the Youth Sport Trust to develop training for the coaching in primary school sector. We have consulted widely across the sector and believe this training will meet the needs of schools, coaches and young people themselves.
“We feel this pilot is an existing opportunity to ensure that coaches have the right training they need to deliver a fantastic school sport experience for young people and to help schools meet the outcomes of the Primary PE and Sport Premium.”
TOP Coach will address the challenges of inconsistent training and assessment criteria through the current coach accreditation system and create an entry point into the industry for the next generation.
David Batch, Premier Education CEO, said:
“With over 1,200 passionate professionals delivering in schools daily, we are always striving to maintain and improve the highest delivery standards for the benefit of all the young people attending our events. We are looking forward to collaborating on this pilot with Youth Sport Trust and investigating new ways of raising the bar further.”
David Marshall, Participation Director at British Gymnastics, said:
“We are committed to helping improve the standards of the delivery of sport, specifically gymnastics in primary schools. It is important that we provide children with the best quality experience of sport, helping them to develop positive attitudes towards participation. Through being involved in the programme we are supporting coaches to understand how to deliver high quality and relevant activities in schools.”
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