Home Page / Youth Sport / News Letter / February 2001

Youth Sport Trust Curriculum

Where are we now?

Since the last Youth Sport Newsletter the delivery of the TOP programmes have continued to expand throughout Northern Ireland.

Since the start of the TOPs in July 2000 there are currently 415 primary schools and 342 community sites utilising TOPs to support the delivery of PE and local grassroots sports development. This involves all 5 Education and Library Boards and 15 Local Councils with 1708 teachers and 582 community deliverers trained. Community sites involve sports clubs, community groups, uniformed organisations, after school clubs and youth clubs.

By June of 2001 there will be a total of 661 primary schools and 532 community sites using the TOP programmes to support their work.

Where to next

Sports Council Lottery fund have granted an extension of the timescale for roll out of TOPs in the community to April 2002. this will enable development of a further 443 community sites, with the intention of the Education and Library Boards to see TOP play and/or TOP Sport supporting PE in all primary schools.

TOP Outdoors - use of the outdoor classroom

TOP Play and TOP Sport have been used in education to support the Physical Education curriculum. In the community setting, TOPs has been used to provide for local needs and circumstances. The following are a few examples:-

Rural Communities
  • Fermanagh Council has concentrated TOPs in in community youth groups in rural areas, providing training for some 183 deliverers at 43 sites to provide quality opportunities for young people in these areas. Many of the deliverers are now keen to pursue governing body awards, thus aiding sports specific development in rural areas.

    "There is no question that TOPs has helped get more parents and community leaders involved in a process which is supportive and offers quality training"
    Keith Collen, SDO, Fermanagh DC

  • Both Omagh and Cookstown Councils have, along with other uses, worked closely with WELB and SELB respectively, to provide TOPs in support of after school activities for rural schools in their areas. In Cookstown this has meant TOPs supporting the Tri-Country Schools structure with sport specific bags for coaches who work with these schools. Omagh Council has included TOPs in their Sport and Recreation Strategy and are concentrating on rural communities and rural schools.

    " I would like to let you know that the TOPs equipment and training has proved a very valuable resource which has been appreciated by out club."
    Josephine Devlin, Secretary, Kildress Area Youth and Community Club, Cookstown.

  • Moyle Council identified that there was a limited number of sports for young people to choose from in their area. A strong hurling/camogie area, TOPs will be used to support the opportunity to experience other sports as an after school activity, in the school and leisure centre setting. There will be the opportunity to develop multi-sport activities in community association settings with the training of leaders who will also undertake the Sport for All Leader Award.


  • Magherafelt Council has submitted a plan which will see close integration of TOPs as a support to the Youth Sport structure. Currently qualified leisure centre staff coach at local primary school Youth Sport sessions. TOPs will, be used, initially, to create ongoing recreation opportunities at leisure centre facilities as a follow on from the Youth Sport sessions.

Longer term TOPs training will assist to provide a starting point for the development of local sports leaders, and eventually the development of junior clubs.

TOP Start

A total of 28 nursery schools/units successfully piloted TOP Start with 84 Nursery Teachers and assistants who are now using TOP Start to support their physical play Curriculum. Due to this success each Education and Library Board is now advocating TOP Start to other nursery schools/units and drawing up plans for its expansion. In the voluntary sector NIPPA have trained all of their Early Years Advisors as TOP Start Trainers. They will begin a pilot in 24 of their sites in January. It is hoped that the success of these pilots will see TOP Start as a valuable support to physical play, and that it will become an integral part of each Education and Library Board, NIPPA and joint Early Years Partnership Development Plans.

Social Exclusion/Health

Greater Shankill Partnership in conjunction with the Upper Springfield Development Trust, have used TOPs to address issues of social exclusion in North Belfast. The use of TOPs training, in conjunction with a co-ordinated training strategy has assisted in building confidence and skills amongst local people who in turn are delivering a quality sports programme to local young people. The issue of health (smoking) has also been addressed.




Contact: Jackie Stevenson

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