Activating skills in schools

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A sports activator for Eastern Southland schools has been appointed.
Stu Kent has been appointed to the role, which is backed up by a committee of seven.
Mr Kent will visit schools and provide pupils with basic sports skills.
Mr Kent said he would go back to basics, and would ascertain pupils’ abilities before offering advice.
‘‘Often people are thrown into a sport. We want to work on the base-level skills so that kids are well-grounded totake on any sport. It also allows us to see what they are good at and let kids know what they might enjoy,’’ he said.
Mr Kent will also provide teachers with professional development.
‘‘With schools I will not only be working on the session with the classroom but be working on equipping the teachers and giving them the best strategies to deliver the sessions.’’
So far, Mr Kent has been getting to know the needs and wants of the 15 schools involved.
Then, with the help of Sport Southland, he will put together a programme for the schools.
He will build relationships with parents, coaches and regional sports organisations.
‘‘South Otago has had a sports activator so we looked into their model initially, but after a bit we realised we could do it better.
‘‘We want the role to be better utilised by aligning me with the right people across the community,’’ Mr Kent said.
The aim is for him to run 14 sessions a year for each school plus an inter-school tournament at the end of each term to gauge the development of the children.
He is investigating hosting holiday programmes and coaching workshops as a way to raise money.
The role is funded by the Ministry of Education through KiwiSport, with help from the Mataura Licensing Trust. Regional Ford has provided a vehicle and Jim Marshall Sign Advertising is helping with branding.
‘‘For the longevity of the project it will need to become a fully community-funded project,’’ Mr Kent said.
‘‘KiwiSport funding gets less and less every year so we need to make sure we get a sustainable model in place so it can keep running.’’
A sports activator has also been employed in Central Southland to provide similar support to a cluster of schools.
‘‘The role will be constantly changing due to the feedback we receive and what is learnt in the process,’’ Mr Kent said.
‘‘Who knows? One day we may even have rivalries between the clusters in cluster versus cluster tournaments.’’