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Bullying by Sports Coaches

(4 Posts)
Simplythesimplist Wed 18-Sep-13 08:17:25

My son (Y6) has been sectioned out for "special treatment" by his two sports coaches. I will tell you what the treatment is later, but I would like to know if this has been experienced by other Mumsnet members.
My son is a normal boy. When he goes to visit other boys families the parents almost always pull me aside when I pick him up to tell me how good/kind/polite he has been. We try to instil this in our children.
His school (in London, UK) uses an external company to supply Sports Coaches (they keep correcting me when I call them "Sports Teachers" and insist I call them "Coaches"). The company started about 8 years ago and is a rapidly growing company. I have seen numerous job adverts for sports coaches on the internet for them. I believe they work in a way in which the sports coaches are effectively self employed.
At end of last academic year, on receiving son's report, we queried PE teachers comment and grade. We were fobbed off, had two meetings with other teachers, the head teacher rang us, but we have not yet been allowed to have a meeting with the sports coach (Coach 1). He has apparently now changed his story and blamed a teacher who left. Both coaches are male, in early/mid twenties, if this makes any difference.
His colleague, Coach 2, who works for the same external company, has now started teaching my son tennis, as part of a group. At the beginning of the lesson, my son was given a tennis racquet for the first time in his life, along with the other 15 or so children and he started swinging it gently in front of him, as all the other children did. Coach 2 told him "I didn't tell you to do that. Go and sit down on the bench". He was on the bench for about 15 minutes (of a one hour lesson). All the children were swinging racquets. Two children were witnessed by an adult being told off by Coach 2 repeatedly yet no other child was told to sit out for the whole lesson.
It is obvious what is going on. I intend to nip this in the bud. I am just after some background information on the company, The Elms Sports in School, and the way they employ coaches, and their policies. If anyone has any information or advice that may be useful I would be very grateful if you could contact me by way of this forum. Please note that I am not saying anything negative about the company, but their rapid growth and need to satisfy demand may have contributed to the employment of unsuitable people or lack of proper training of those working with children.
Thanking you in advance

Labro Wed 18-Sep-13 08:29:25

Your son's school should have all the information on this company as should the LEA, including their policies.
In your case, ask the school for the contact details of the company and the coaches qualifications. In my experience when ds school used a similar company, the coaches were often gap year students or degree students studying sports science or looking to go into PE teaching later, discipline could be very variable due to lack of policy of what to do (ds school any disruption and child was sent to headteacher!)

JustBecauseICan Wed 18-Sep-13 08:38:51

Why did you query coach 1's grades for your son last year? Presumably they were lower than you hoped for, but on what grounds?

Your child wasn't sitting on the bench for a whole lesson but 15 minutes.

Two children were witnessed by an adult being told off but not made to sit out. OK, but did the same adult witness what your child had done?

I would be less inclined to be kicking up a fuss by researching the company and looking to find out why your son seems not to be achieving what you clearly think he should achieve in his sport lessons and why his behaviour necessitated a time out.

I do think that a company which employs "coaches" rather than a school having a properly qualified teacher sounds like a recipe for disaster. I would think that "coaches" are all gung-ho and pushy and not very well trained in the discipline/classroom management thing, so I would be voicing my concerns if that is the case, but with less focus on your own child's issue IYSWIM?

DeWe Wed 18-Sep-13 14:33:33

If that's the only thing that happened I would suspect there is more to it than you've said.
Having coached tennis, you have to be very strict with any messing about with a racket. I've seen adults knocked out by a racket (during a game) and in hospital with concussion. Just to be blunt.
There is a huge difference between a child "Just swinging" a racket, and a child being dangerous with a racket.

I remember session I was assisting on. One boy sent two balls over the fence in quick succession. Both were accidents, he had the wrong grip and was skying it. Second boy deliberately sent a ball over the fence onto the road next to the court having been told to put the ball down.

Second boy was most indignant and told his parent that he'd been told to sit out for the next game despite someone else having sent two balls over the fence and not punished. That was his view. However having been an adult witnessing it, there was a huge difference between the circumstance.

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