An enrichment programme combining creativity and sports to raise aspirations
The programme aimed to harness the power of both sport and art to engage students at risk of disengaging with school and to improve their awareness of pathways that could lead to careers in these sectors. It also worked to tackle barriers to participation in sport and art by improving students’ confidence, team skills and motivation.
SLN and GoSketch (which was set up by social enterprise company Future Proof in 2016) contacted schools directly to established initial interest in running the programme, which was offered to Uni Connect students at 10 priority schools across Sussex. The GoSketch team then followed up with more details on the programme and made arrangements for the sport/design sessions.
In 2017-18, more than 70 Year students took part in these interactive sessions at the participating schools: Peacehaven Community School (15 students), Durrington High (20), Patcham High (18) and Hastings Academy (18+). Four other schools ran the programme in September 2019, with groups of between 16 and 20 pupils at each school.
The programme involved six weekly sessions combining sport and design activities to encourage pupils to take part in both and using the design aspect to make sport more relevant to inactive young people. Coaches from local sporting bodies, including Sussex Cricket, Badminton England and the Rugby Football Union, and school PE leads ran the sport sessions. These were designed to suit participants’ abilities and aspirations, develop skills over time in a non-pressured way and build on the positive relationships developed on the court or pitch. Two sports undergraduates provided practical support to the coaches and talked to participants about life at university and possible routes into higher and further education.
GoSketch and school art staff oversaw the programme’s design activities, which involved pupils working together to create team mascots, branding, merchandise and other product designs based on a brief from the sporting body. The pupils also spent time discussing and researching careers associated with sport and art such as marketing, management and public relations. At the end of the six weeks, participants celebrated their achievements. GoSketch pupils at Peacehaven, for example, were presented with the kits and bats they had designed at the Newhaven Cricket Club, followed by a game of cricket and afternoon tea.
Before the programme started, schools were sent evaluation forms to complete. This was followed by additional forms in the final week with questions on how participants’ attitudes to and participation in sport had changed; if they were more likely to choose sport and/or creative subjects, work experience or further studies; and how the sessions had affected their confidence and motivation. This data was shared with the schools involved and others interested in running the programme in the future.
The programme was warmly welcomed by all schools taking part, with several continuing to engage with it. Feedback from participants at Peacehaven and Durrington schools give an indication of the programme’s impact:
- After the sessions, 50% of participants at Peacehaven (61% at Durrington) said they were more likely to choose sport or creative subjects at college.
- 25% of Peacehaven participants and 17% at Durrington stated they would like more job information on both sports and design roles.
- 50% at Peacehaven and 17% at Durrington said they would like have work experience in either sport or design.
- 75% of participants at Peacehaven felt more positive about sport (88% at Durrington), while 88% at Peacehaven and 33% at Durrington felt more positive about creative subjects.
- 75% of Peacehaven participants said that higher education was now a realistic option for them, with 50% stating they planned to go on to university (50% and 39% at Durrington respectively).
- GoSketch participants in both schools said they felt their motivation, concentration, cooperation and respect for others had improved because of the sessions.
- The project taught students that design and sport can be fun, and can lead to great career and education choices too, as well as a chance to get healthier, make new friends and learn new skills.
- Pupils quickly engaged with the project and its sport and design challenges, and showed their commitment through good attendance and requesting extra coaching.
- Getting schools onboard proved more difficult than anticipated, which may relate to the participants’ age (and the difficulty of engaging with them during their GCSE years) or the time of year. Saying that, some schools that couldn’t fit the programme in during 2018-19 signed up for 2019-20.
- The GoSketch programme is flexible and can be adapted to suit both the teachers’ approach and the pupils’ needs. Each school had its own successes – for example, students at Peacehaven produced brilliant designs, while at Patcham, the programme included more discussions about careers and personal development
- Clearer briefings to each school on the project’s data requirements would encourage better and more consistent feedback.
- With funding agreed halfway through the school year, the programme had a tight timescale to work in. While not a problem, in the future it would be better to have a longer lead time.
- When delivering more sessions in the future, it would be good to explore how other projects could complement the programme. For example, could those completing GoSketch automatically attend a high-intensity workout session at a local stadium? This would offer a more holistic approach and provide additional benefits for participants, such as an awareness of the architectural and engineering considerations involved in building large sporting arenas.
The programme offers students an insight into how subjects taught at school can be combined to facilitate a rewarding career. The sports and arts sectors are huge growth areas in the UK, so allowing Uni Connect students to see viable career pathways in both is valuable.
Many students with a talent in a particular sport think that being a professional player is the only way of having a career in that sport. This programme aims to widen students’ knowledge of other careers in the sports sector. Similarly, many students interested in art might not be aware of the many applied professional careers in the field including product design, architecture and graphics.return
Sport and art activities can foster confidence, wellbeing and creativity, and offer viable career opportunities, yet many school pupils become disengaged from the subjects and are put off pursuing careers in these areas due to misconceptions and lack of careers advice. Schools seek interactive and interdisciplinary support programmes to address this issue.
September 2017 to July 2018