GSC staff lead the way

May 22, 2020

It may seem like all sport stopped during lockdown, but the work of the Guernsey Sports Commission has continued throughout, albeit with a slightly different focus.

Our team of PE and Sport Development Officers have excelled themselves challenging the island’s community to keep active through a range of online activities. There have been weekly challenges aimed at school children and the hugely successful #ChallengeGuernsey initiative which was open to everyone.

The weekly challenges have been a great success with the appeal of appearing on the leader board and the chance of winning sports equipment for their school, encouraging hundreds of children to join in.

Across Youtube and Facebook the 22 #ChallengeGuernsey videos received nearly 26,000 views and the eight Weekly Challenge videos aimed at schoolchildren achieved over 7,600 video views.

The team has also been continuing to support schools as they remain closed with the creation of a suite of 45 PE at Home videos linked to the PE curriculum and Fundamental Movement Skills. Schools have been able to include these within their online learning resources so that children and young people not only remain active when working at home but are also improving their core skills and having fun at the same time. These PE at Home videos have been viewed nearly 8,000 times.

Schools haven’t been completely closed with small numbers of key workers’ children and more vulnerable pupils still attending. The Commission’s PE and Sport Development Officers have continued to support these children on site, much to the appreciation of the school leaders.

‘We have been fortunate to have Tom Veillard (PE and Sport Development Officer for Alderney) supporting our work in school during the lockdown period, said Adrian Paul, Deputy Headteacher at Forest Primary School.

‘He has worked on all aspects of the curriculum with children in school from Reception to Year 6, but particularly with their physical development. This has enabled us to support the children’s physical and mental well-being more effectively. It was a pleasure having him as part of our team. Thanks Tom!’

Lucas Barker has been helping out at Le Rondin School.

‘Lucas has had a tremendously positive effect within our school both with the way in which he has supported pupils and staff, said Le Rondin Headteacher, Paula Sullivan.

‘The children’s engagement in the sessions he runs has been wonderful and the development of skills has been apparent to all. He has been an excellent role model, and in a time of great uncertainty his calm and friendly approach has been a reassurance to many. Lucas’ involvement in our school has been appreciated by all, he has become a well-respected member of our team and we sincerely thank him for everything he has done.’

Things have been tough for the sport specific development officers who all had full diaries of school sessions set up for the summer term before lockdown.

‘From my perspective as development officer, it has been a challenging time over the past couple of months,’ said Lauren Barker, Tennis Development Officer.

‘Much of my planned work in schools has unfortunately not been able to go ahead. We are hopeful to be able to deliver as much as we can over the last half term of the school year with primary school children partially returning to school and potentially run some small events within schools like match plays and after-school clubs.’

Time during lockdown hasn’t been wasted though.

‘Although we haven’t been able to do much directly with schools, we have been using our time to plan ahead and do some research and studying,’ said Tom Druce, Athletics Development Officer.

‘It’s been really motivating.’

The Sports Commission’s Operations Director, Graham Chester, praised the work of the team over the past few months.

‘The whole team has really risen to the challenge and were quick to come up with innovative ways to keep children active and engaged,’ said Graham.

‘It’s difficult when we are all working remotely but we’ve tried to get together through regular online meetings and catch-ups and I’m proud to hear all the positive feedback we have received from schools, sports organisations and the States of Guernsey themselves.

‘We aim to continue to be the voice of sport as we move further towards normal operations and look forward to continuing to work on the Sports Commission’s Five-Year Action Plan which we launched earlier this year.’