Playing for Success…but not for long.


Yesterday evening I was the guest of honour at a Playing for Success (PfS) award ceremony. I expect you’ve heard of Playing for Success. No? It’s another superb programme that supports children’s learning and development and has got the thumbs down from the government. Funding ends in March.

 PfS uses top flight sports venues such as premier league football stadiums as after school study centres. PfS is not about sport but uses the discipline that sportspeople have as inspiration to support children in their basic literacy and numeracy skills. Pupils also brush up their ICT and develop their team work, personal and study skills. Pupils from a local secondary school give up their own precious free time to mentor the younger pupils.

 At the event I attended, I handed out certificates and prizes to children from four local primary schools. The kids who attended the study centre after school were supported by their very proud parents. The venue is a world famous centre for sporting excellence and is more than generous with their time and support too. They provide food and drink for the event, a representative speaker and free use of their amazing facilities. They organise for famous players to speak to pupils and provide prizes and support to the programme.

 It’s the second time I’ve presented prizes at this event and I always feel so impressed by what the pupils and their leaders have achieved.  In my speech I acknowledged their hard work and gently reminded the families in attendance that with government cuts biting deeply, we should take advantage of the excellent services we currently enjoy.

 While we hear about the major cuts in the national media, it’s the smaller cuts to children’s services that I think will really harm the chances of state school educated children. And when people describe public sector workers as feckless, lazy and parasitic, perhaps they’d like to see the committed, passionate and energetic staff members that I work with.  Not all of us push papers around.

 So this is where we are:

 Playing for Success: funding ended.

 School Sports Partnership: funded ended.

 National Healthy Schools Programme: funding ended.

 Extended services: funding ended.

 Primary and secondary strategies: funding ended

Happy Christmas and a prosperous new year?


6 Responses to Playing for Success…but not for long.

  1. Citizen CW says:

    As a community education worker, we worked with PfS and Extended Schools projects. It wasn’t just the children they supported, but the communities as a whole. I used to run around six First Step ICT courses a week (of which I taught on some), each with about 10 people, all of them from deprived communities or marginalised groups. By the time we finished, around 3 or 4 of these six were making use of facilities through extended schools and a facility provided by PfS. Through these projects, we got venues for free, so the course could stay free. If we had charged, people still would have come. However, they would be the cream of the crop, the people who could afford such courses anyhow.

    Sadly, the funding for the ICT courses ended a while ago. However, we were not the only project using these facilities. Without them, the whole community will be worse off.

    • citizenr says:

      I ownder if the government have any real understanding of what it’s like to be poor and poorly educated in today’s society and how much of a lifeline these programmes are to both children and adults.

  2. Tim says:

    This is a terrible shame, especially when I consider how prevalent sport is in the activity and culture of Australian schools. (My wife is an Aussie, so one of us is currently enjoying the cricket more than the other!) There is so much to be gained from participating in sports, the discipline involved in high-level sport which is applicable in all aspects of life, and some of the great (and not so great) role models that exist in the sporting world. It saddens me that my boys (aged 3 and nearly 1) are growing up in a worldwhere sport is considered increasingly an expensive and unnecessary luxury rather than a fundamental part of the curriculum. Sigh.

    • citizenr says:

      Well I hear today that the government will be putting a biut of money into school sports but I fear it’s not enough and excellent staff have already gone through redundancy. The thing baout PfS is that it looks at what it takes to be a winner in all aspects of life- determination, discipline, integrity.

  3. guerrillamum says:

    It must have been so lovely to do this, and so worthwhile to be involved in such a worthwhile organisation. Sadly due to the cuts most of our state educated children will see the loss of educational services on which they have come to rely – be that sports opportunities, music, literacy, numeracy or ICT support or extra curricular activities. Government representatives keep on saying that the cuts should not affect ‘ront line services’ but the have and do. In many cases children will only be able to access these extra opportunities to learn and participate in enriching programmes if their parents can pay – and this should not be what our society is about!

    Ellen Power

  4. citizenr says:

    Yes, the PfS awards are one of the highlights of my work. The frontline services that were supposed to be protected are being eroded slowly but surely from the youngest, oldest, poorest, and sickest. I can’t help but get frustrated.

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