Monmouthshire County Council has achieved the goal of becoming the country’s first local authority to deliver a highly regarded sporting programme to an entire year group.

The council’s sport development team started the autumn term with a clear target to involve Year Five pupils in the Sports Leaders UK Playmaker award and four months later 941 children – every single Year Five pupil – have successfully undertaken the six hour leadership programme.  All 30 of Monmouthshire’s primary schools engaged in the scheme.

The Playmaker programme is widely recognised for developing opportunities at a primary school level and focuses on communication, leadership, organisation and resilience.  After pupils have achieved the award they provide a positive impact on well-being within their schools.  In Monmouthshire they will assume responsibility for supporting Bronze Young Ambassadors – two pupils in every Year Six class in the county – for the rest of the academic year and continue their leadership as they progress into Year Six.

With leadership opportunities established in the county’s secondary schools Monmouthshire’s sports development team aims to increase the number of young people holding recognised qualifications as well as making a positive impact on their personal development.

Councillor Bob Greenland, Monmouthshire County Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for leisure said: “This outstanding programme is a potential game changer in tackling obesity and ensuring our younger generation has the best possible start in life.  Our aspiration is that our young people continue to grow into confident leaders, embedding health and physical activity into the centre of their daily routine and lifestyle.”

Richard Norman, Chief Executive of Sports Leaders UK commented: “At Sports Leaders we believe every child has the potential to be a leader and Monmouthshire has taken this concept to heart and delivered truly inspiring results.  The Playmaker programme is not just about young people enjoying being active – by receiving the opportunity to be a leader with their friends, their confidence, behaviour and education all benefit.  Monmouthshire is a shining example of the positive impact leadership opportunities for young people can have and will have for a generation.”

Graham Williams, Director of Community Engagement at Sport Wales added: “Volunteers are the lifeblood of sport in Wales so it’s fantastic to see the Monmouthshire Sport Development team supporting our future workforce by developing their leadership skills to make a positive impact on the wellbeing of other young people in their schools and communities.  Congratulations to all involved, and I shall look forward to seeing what these young leaders can do to help shape sport in Wales in the future.”

Paul Sullivan, Monmouthshire’s Community and Sport Development Officer said: “Our team would like to thank all primary school headteachers, Year Five class teachers and wonderful pupils for making this programme such a success throughout the autumn term.  The Playmaker programme is something our team has committed to for all future Year Five classes to ensure the key messages of leadership and resilience are embedded for future generations.  To be the first local authority in the UK to deliver the Playmaker award to an entire cohort is something our team is extremely proud of.  Our relationship with every school across the authority continues to grow and we look forward to developing a number of future opportunities in line with the new curriculum reform.”

During the spring term Monmouthshire’s sport development team will deliver four playmaker conferences featuring all Year Five pupils taking part in activities including community club delivery, national governing body involvement, the daily mile and workshops on school sports surveys, healthy eating, disability inclusion training and anti-bullying schemes.  These activities will focus mainly on physical and emotional well-being and provide further support for the children who have achieved the Playmaker award.

Throughout the summer term sport development team members will work with the county’s schools to undertake the School Sport Survey, an online survey in conjunction with Sport Wales for pupils in Years 3 to 11.  This engagement will provide vital data to ensure delivery and opportunities are in line with feedback from pupils.  The sport development team will then be responsible for shaping local delivery to ensure pupils’ voices are heard as it works towards the target of getting every child hooked on sport.

  • For further questions on this work or any other programmes for which the sports development team is responsible contact: sport@monmouthshire.gov.uk