Nottingham Forest Community Trust hosted a Teacher Conference this week as part of its plan to expand local coverage of the Premier League Primary Stars scheme.
Set up for primary school teachers, the event was held at the City Ground on Monday to showcase the Premier League Primary Stars programme and all that it has to offer.
Run and funded by the Premier League since 2017, the programme is available free of charge to every primary school in England and Wales and is then brought to life in the community by clubs both in English football’s top flight and further down the pyramid.
Although playing football and playing sports in PE lessons is a strong part of the programme, it also supports classroom activities such as English, Maths, and PSHE and as part of this it provides teachers with resources and learning packs to bring the programme to life.
Over 20 schools from across Nottinghamshire attended the conference and the head of marketing for the Community Trust, Matt Smith, described it as a really good day.
Smith said: “It’s a good opportunity for teachers and certainly PE leaders and PE teachers to come in to a conference to discuss best practice, what’s going on in in the wider schooling world you could say.
“And really, it was an opportunity for our coaches to update them on what the programme is, what’s happened, what we’re hoping to achieve with the programme and just to provide them with a platform to be able to have a chat.
“We had some guest speakers from the across the Community Trust.
“So a talk on safeguarding, and talking them through other programmes which schools could potentially look into, a general update and then also a couple of teachers who have worked with us on the programme for a couple of years now gave a talk about how it’s impacted them and their school.
“The key things with the programme is it not only impacts the school, it impacts the pupils, but it also impacts the teachers.
“So all in all, [it was] a good session.”
Speaking about the different aspects of the programme, Smith spoke about the wide range of educational and current affair activities as being crucial.
He said: “Football is our forte, but it’s crucial that football doesn’t overshadow everything else the programme offers – other multi-sport things such as hockey, sports days, dance and more creative sports such as gymnastics as well.
“A big positive with the programme itself is it’s very connected to current affairs, ongoing campaigns and ongoing subjects so we regularly run workshops that talk about topics such as LGBTQ+ and racism.
“It’s all really tight and uses the power of football and the badge of the Premier League, which for most of the kids is a really, easily recognisable brand and strong powerful brand.
“But as I say, it’s not all about being on the pitch or being good at PE. It’s a really holistic, comprehensive approach to education whether it be classroom based or out on the school field.”
Alongside Premier League Primary Stars, the Community Trust provides a wide range of programmes in the community that includes football activities like soccer schools and walking football, and education programmes at BTEC and undergraduate degree levels that include support for health and wellbeing.
The Trust has been running since 2010, and Matt spoke about its recent success and aspirations to garner more recognition.
He said: “We are due to launch our three-year strategy in about eight weeks time, which will set our pathway of what we want to do over the next three years and kind of reaffirm who we are, what we do and what our vision is.
“We were excited to get out to the public because a lot of people, certainly some Forest fans, have never heard of us which is quite peculiar you could argue, so it’s really just about raising that brand awareness, raising that profile and establishing us.
“In terms of development, last year was our best ever from a finance perspective and we’re looking to achieve even better in 2023.
“A lot of that is down to funding and then building partnerships with local authorities, partners and stakeholders with big commercial opportunities that want to support us and provide us funding to then go and deliver great programmes, activities and support within the community.”
You can find out more information about the Premier League Primary Stars Programme on its website, plprimarystars.com, and on nottinghamforestcommunitytrust.co.uk, where you can also see more about the programmes the Community Trust offers.