Primary Goals is an early intervention programme for all boys and girls in primary schools.
It has been designed to support children who have been identified as struggling socially and emotionally with low confidence or displaying poor, disruptive or withdrawn behaviour. By recognising and acting on these concerns early, we aim to break the cycle and improve outcomes for all. PG will use multi-sports activities and interactive workshops to combat issues. A ‘Think-Play-Think’ technique is used to link the multi-sport activity and workshop based elements. Each 10 week block consists of:
- 3 sessions on self-esteem and confidence
- 3 sessions on behaviour
- 3 sessions on communication, relationships and teamwork
The introduction is used to establish objectives and stimulate interest. This programme is planned and delivered in lesson sessions. Staff have been trained to deliver with flexibility and expertise. All pupils are involved throughout and sport is used as the metaphor for the session objectives. The multi sports activities help the pupils understand that the objective is relevant to them and that they can succeed. This is achieved with a smile! Children are encouraged to summarise and relate what they have learnt to school and their own circumstances.
A menu of sports activities are used from e.g. crab football, indoor tennis, dodgeball, athletic challenges, skills games enhancing co-ordination, balance, agility, teamwork etc. Interactive workshops combine exercise with positive messages about keeping emotionally healthy. This promotes positive life messages and raises awareness of relevant coping strategies. Children benefit socially and emotionally as mental and physical wellbeing improve. Primary Goals provides an inclusive learning environment for children who feel like they are training with Notts County FC, motivating improved behaviours’, raising aspirations and improving levels of tolerance. Primary Goals is different to many environments they find themselves in (school, home life) meaning the project is exciting and provides them with something to look forward to.
Dr Alan Pringle, from the University of Nottingham’s Institute of Mental Health, works in partnership with FITC and is evaluating PRIMARY GOALS said: “What FITC do is unique to other mental health providers in Nottingham. More importantly what they do works and changes their participants lives in various ways, increasing their self-confidence, encouraging them to become more independent, teaching them to express their feelings and providing them with a reliable routine. Early intervention is important because early access to care and treatment increases efficacy. Most people are not great at asking for help but the projects at FITC help identify if people are struggling and coaches help people access the care they need. In my opinion FITC are an example of best practice nationally and are the best football community scheme in the country for mental health.”
Sharon Muddeman, Nethergate School, commented: “We have been lucky enough to run the Primary Goals initiative in school for two consecutive years. It has been an important part of our curriculum. Pupils have developed not only their sporting ability but confidence, self esteem and independence skills.”