Developing club-school links

Why links between clubs and schools are important

Many young people take part in school sport, but fewer take part in activities outside of school. After finishing school, most young people do not take part in any form of regular sport or physical activity.

You may have seen the term 'club-school links' in grant applications and strategies, or in discussions in state sporting organisations. It's seen as a way of helping young people participate in sporting and physical activity throughout their lives.

Establishing club-school links allows young people to try out new sports, feel comfortable in a club setting, get familiar with club coaches, and as a result makes them more likely to continue participating once they leave school.

Benefits of making a club-school link

Creating partnerships between schools and clubs helps to create continuity between school sports and sport in the wider community. The hope is that these links will become increasingly more common.

Creating club-school links can create the following benefits:

Club

  • More young people in the club
  • Increased participation in the club
  • Raised base level participation in club
  • Opportunity to identify talent of the future
  • Potential access to school facilities and equipment
  • Raised  profile within the sport
  • Raised profile within the community
  • Financial opportunities
  • Opening up club access to wider community
  • Increase the potential to recruit new volunteers
  • Co-operation, support and resources from other partners
  • Pool of young leaders, coaches and officials of the future

School

  • More active, and ultimately healthier, pupils
  • Raised profile within the community
  • Increased funding opportunities
  • Community links – social benefits
  • Pathways for sport – easy exit routes for children into ongoing involvement
  • Increased standard in school teams due to increased coaching received by pupils
  • Recognition as an institution that supports development beyond the school environment
  • Support and assistance with extra curricular teams or activities.

Young people

  • Improved opportunities to access sport in their local community
  • Opportunity for their talent to be identified and nurtured
  • Wider range of sporting opportunities
  • Move confidently between school and club 
  • Opportunity to develop coaching and leadership skills
  • Understand how their experiences in school and at the club compliment each other
  • Recognise how physical education prepares them for their involvement in clubs at junior age and beyond
  • Introduction to healthy living
  • Feel comfortable with a range of people from different backgrounds and of different ages
  • Choose club programs that are suited to them

How to develop a club-school link

Good communication between both parties is the main contributing factor for a good club-school link.

It initially helps for a meeting to take place between the school and club to develop an understanding of the club-school link program and to provide a joint commitment on how the link will be developed. A program of regular meetings between the school and sports club is a good way to review the effectiveness of the link.

The following list highlights some of the things that you can do to create and develop a club-school link.

Club

  • Provide the school with information and promotional material about the club
  • Assign a liaison contact to liaise with and provide info to the schools
  • Run a festival/display at the school
  • Run a club open day or fun day at the school
  • Provide coaches to assist with the extra curricular clubs (even if it’s just once per term)
  • Link with a school’s physical education coordinator to help assist links with primary schools. e.g. Run a satellite club on the school site during a term where the club goes to the school (familiar surroundings for the children) then after that the children attend the normal club training night and venue (there would have to have been time to become familiar with the type of training and the coaches by then).
  • Tell the schools about their pupil’s achievements for publishing in the school newsletter
  • Advise school of relevant events and activities that might attract young people to the club
  • Provide officials for some school fixtures/tournaments/interschool sports program
  • Make school visits
  • The club provides the school with letters of support for funding applications

School

  • Promote the club within the school – maybe immediately after a unit of work that matches the sport or during after school activities
  • Provide facilities by offering the school site for the club to run sessions
  • Offer the same sport as an after school activity in order to introduce the children to the sport in a familiar surrounding
  • Distribute any promotional material that the clubs may have
  • Invite club coaches to speak about their club in school assemblies/school council meetings so that everyone is aware of what’s on offer
  • Dedicate a notice board of other point of notice to the sports club
  • Provide advice to pupils about getting involved
  • Provide the club with letters of support for funding applications
  • Regularly communicate local club opportunities and information to parents

What makes a club-school link effective and successful

When a school and sports club are working well together, they:

  • Talk to each other regularly
  • Communicate well with young people and parents
  • Respect each other
  • Have a shared vision and approach
  • Find ways of enabling young people to take part in club activities
  • Agree on expectations and goals
  • Build on what young people learn in both settings
  • Recognise, share and celebrate achievements
  • Share and develop teaching and coaching expertise
  • Share facilities, equipment and resources to understand the roles and responsibilitiesof other agencies that contribute to and support the club-school link

Who else can assist with developing a club-school link?

Council's Sports Development or Women's Sport Officers can support the club in a number of ways:

  • Keeping clubs informed of wider sporting opportunities that are taking place locally and nationally
  • Providing training opportunities for coaches, administrators and other club personnel
  • Helping with applications for funding
  • Creating links with schools
  • Sourcing facilities or accessing time in facilities
  • Linking with other sports and community programs
  • Supporting club promotions
  • Develop current and new ways to get children participating in regular, fun and safe physical activity, before, during and after school
  • Establish effective partnerships with clubs, community groups and other organisations at a local and national level.
  • Lead the recruitment and ongoing training of coaches, leaders and volunteers (in particular, young people) whilst providing ongoing training opportunities
  • Disseminating information on sport and physical activity.