How the initiative started?
Two years ago as part of our School Sports Week we asked the team from Sk8 safe to come on-site to deliver skateboarding to our students. We wanted to do this after an evaluation amongst our students identified that Skateboarding held some potential as an alternative method of exercise. They asked us if there was any way we could organise it and we saw it as an excellent way of engaging some of students who could not be reached through pressing them into traditional Physical Education activities.
We chose Sk8 safe because they were the only organisation we could find who offered the complete package of qualified and competent/experienced instructors, able to travel to our school and able to provide all of the equipment required and previous experience of our residential environment.
Building on Success
The sessions were a massive success and the students who took part repeatedly asked when they could do more for many weeks after the first sessions this got us thinking about the bigger picture. After speaking to Sarah at Sk8 safe at length and analysing the budget available we agreed with their recommendation that instead of getting Sk8 safe to return to the school for another burst of sessions it would be highly advantageous to send a few members of staff on one of their courses so that we could deliver our own sessions sustaining the program indefinitely.
The course was excellent. It was delivered at exactly the right level to allow a non skateboarding PE teacher to obtain the skills to confidently deliver basic skateboarding in school. The mixture of practical skills, fault finding and instructional technique was just right, as well as a lot of fun too.
The Practicalities of Sustainability
My next issue was the practicality of actually delivering skateboarding, where, how and with whom?
Obviously we needed skateboards and safety equipment as a starter. After many discussions again with Sarah at Sk8 safe we decided that the best way forward was to apply for a grant to cover the costs of starting up the skateboarding club. With a massive input from Sk8 safe at every stage of the application process we were successful in receiving a grant from Sport England for £4325. This covered the cost of skateboards, helmets, pads, various portable ramps and the cost of additional staff on Sk8 safe courses to ensure the risk of staff absence did not jeopardise the continual running of the initiative.
Long Term targets achieved
We then started up our club. Initially we delivered to one group as part of the Sky Living for Sport programme but now we have enough staff qualified to offer it as an after school club every night. There is no way we could have reached this point without the help of Sk8 safe and I would thoroughly recommend them to any school or organisation thinking of introducing skateboarding to their 'clients'.
This case study was provided by:
Dave Holman, Windlestone (SEBD special) School.