At the end of October, last year, we signed up to pilot a new Scottish Football Association initiative in the North to deliver breakfast clubs, after-school clubs and holiday camps at three targeted Inverness schools, namely Bishop Eden’s Primary, Dalneigh Primary and Merkinch Primary.
We secured funding to deliver the SFA’s first Extra Time Project in the North Area over a 6-month period ie until the end of April. We would wish to continue the project until the summer holidays.
At Dalneigh and Merkinch we are providing 9 hours each week of contact and at Bishop Eden’s, 7 hours.
The breakfast clubs run from 8-9 am and we provide activities, such as football as well as board games, before the children are served a healthy breakfast and begin their school day.
The after-school clubs run from 3-5 pm and involve a combination of physical activity, quiet zones and a healthy snack.
During the three-day February school break, we will be holding a holiday camp for pupils from the three schools at Merkinch Primary.
A total of 93 5-12 year-olds have attended a session. 86 pupils from the three schools attended our Festive Friends lunch at Caledonian Stadium on 20 December when they received goodie bags and met the ICT FC Manager and first team squad. They had a great time.
After running the sessions for three months now, we are seeing real benefits of our engagement and learning lessons as we go along – lessons that we can pass on to any other community trusts that wish to follow our lead.
The attendance at the sessions suggest the children are enjoying their time with us and we are delighted that they are eating healthy foods. One pupil stood up at school assembly to let everyone know he had, that morning at the breakfast club, eaten the “breakfast of champions” – a fresh fruit and yogurt combination!
Other benefits are that the schools are experiencing improved school attendance, with fewer turning up late. Teachers report that many pupils are more alert in class due to the structure of their start to the day at the breakfast club.
A key benefit of the scheme for parents and guardians is the child care that improves their employment opportunities by giving them more flexibility in fulfilling their work commitments, with an earlier start and a later finish.
A number of parents have also volunteered to provide additional support at the breakfast and after-school clubs and volunteered at school football coaching sessions.
A bonus of the Extra Time Project for the Community Development Team is that we have been able to employ two full members of staff including an Education Development Officer to oversee the development and implementation of the programmes as well as the ongoing delivery and evaluation.
The creation of this role has allowed us to bridge the gap between our community engagement and our local educational establishments.
We hope to use the experiences of this pilot scheme as part of a wider scheme to make a real difference in our community. We believe the benefits will be felt across the whole household and intend to capture this data more comprehensively in the coming months.
Rhona MacCormick Head teacher at Dalneigh Primary "We are delighted to be working with ICT. The breakfast and after-school clubs are very popular with our pupils. The breakfast club is a great start to the day and pupils comment on how ready they are to learn when school starts. Teachers have also commented on the difference they see in children's readiness to start to learn. We feel so lucky to have this opportunity."
Jillian Kean Head Teacher "Merkinch Primary School are thrilled to be working in partnership with ICT. Our children and families benefit from a very popular free breakfast club and a growing after school club. A healthy and encouraging start to the day has a positive impact on our children’s learning. Not only do our children enjoy a healthy breakfast and a super end to the day, and they also learn from the positive role models who lead these activities."
Community Trust Manager