Club School Link
Due to the ever-increasing availability and accessibility of other sports and leisure activities, creating a viable and sustainable link with primary and post primary schools will become critical for GAA clubs. Most children attend main stream Primary and Post Primary school and going forward it is from this group of children that the future players, coaches and officers of our GAA clubs will come, therefore establishing strong club school links and encouraging these children to become club members is absolutely vital for the long-term sustainability of our clubs.
From our research we have discovered that club school links are operating in many forms around the Province, some very successful and some not so. Where a club school link is deemed to be working very well, we are not proposing that it be changed, however we will outline in the following proposal what we feel is a best practice model and a list of options which is by no means finite.
We propose that clubs appoint a “School Liaison Officer” (SLO) to work with all schools, Primary and Post Primary within their club catchment area. We would envisage this individual being an excellent communicator and organiser, with no requirement to be a qualified coach. The main focus for this role should be to keep the GAA ethos and activities to the fore in the school. We propose that the School Liaison Officer become a member of the club executive or the club coaching committee.
What are the benefits of forming a club school link for club, school and children?
- More young people involved in the club
- Opening up club access to a wider community
- A familiar safe environment for children
- Develop the profile of the club
- Recruitment of new coaches/volunteers and create the environment to develop future coaches and officers
- Assistance with physical activity programme
- Community links
- Access to GAA facilities & resources
- Pathway formed for children to stay involved in sport
- Helps make the transition from school to club easier
- Opportunity for player talent to be developed
- Promotion of a physically active lifestyle
- Varity of GAA games to choose from
Establishing a Club School link
- Agree what the club expects from and is prepared to offer to the club school link. Appoint a “Schools Liaison Officer” (SLO) and make contact with all relevant stakeholders i.e. club coaching officer, schools, County games development personnel.
- Meet with the school principal and teacher/s responsible for PE and establish what supports the school requires. Outline the club programme for child and youth grades e.g. Nursery, Go-games, Super games and the club vision for the link. Offer encouragement and support the school’s involvement in all GAA games development projects i.e. 5-star Centre, skills challenge, blitz, Cumann na mBunscoil competitions etc.
- Establish and keep updated a club notice board and a calendar of up-coming club events in the school. Organise coaching blocks for the school in conjunction with the County coaching and Games development programme and provide, where possible, a club coach to conduct the coaching sessions.
- Make the club grounds available to host school games and blitz. Assist the school in encouraging teachers to become qualified GAA coaches. Promote the club within the school by getting former pupils and current club players/volunteers to visit the school and meet with the children.
- Support the school in its wider community activities. Communicate club information and opportunities to parents and children by distributing a club newsletter within the school. Keep in regular contact with the school.
- Promote the Club School link in all local media and all club social media channels.
- Organise Go-Games/blitz programme between the schools in the club catchment area.
- Run a club open day in the club grounds for schools from the club catchment area.
- Provide officials for school’s fixtures.
- Provide resources to the schools i.e. Footballs/Hurley’s/Helmets etc.
- Organise parents to assist with transport to school blitz/games if required.
- Promote school activities/promotions/matches on club social media channels
- Recognise teachers promoting GAA within the schools and reward them.
- Have a club member on the school Board of Management