‘Invest in sport. . . and be FANTASTIC’

Northamptonshire schools sport conference at Highgate House in Creaton.
Northamptonshire schools sport conference at Highgate House in Creaton.

Schools in Northamptonshire are being encouraged to 
invest in sport and increase the number of qualified 
coaches in the county.

More than 170 school leaders and PE teachers attended a conference at Highgate House last Friday which included keynote speeches by Baroness Sue Campbell, chair of the youth sport trust, Dr Akeem Ali, director of public health and wellbeing in Northamptonshire, and Linda Brooks, chairman of the strategic PE and school sport group in the county.

The event also included the launch of the Fantastic Coach campaign by Chris Heaton-Harris, Conservative MP for Daventry and former badminton world champion Gail Emms.

The campaign, which provides schools with a check list to make sure their coaches are qualified, suitable and safe, is backed by Northampton Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder and Northampton Steelbacks coach David Ripley.

Mallinder, who taught maths and PE before he became a professional rugby coach, said that the FANTASTIC Coach campaign can provide the next layer of support to existing programmes like the Aviva National Schools Programme.

He said: “The FANTASTIC coaching campaign is important and just what is needed. Children want to be inspired, they want to be motivated, and that’s down to good teaching and good coaching. We’ve got to pursue that and encourage that, and the better the coaches are the better it is for the children in schools.”

At the conference, headteachers were encouraged to work together to spend the £10,000 of funding they have received from the Government.

Dr Ali has challenged schools in the county to do something “extraordinary” with the total of £2.6 million available and he will add an extra £300,000.

Dr Ali said childhood obesity was a growing problem in the county and the number of children with diabetes was increasing.

Northamptonshire Sport is a partnership of local and national organisations working together to provide opportunities for people to participate in sport and physical activity.