Teach­ers, par­ents too busy to coach


Kids could end up miss­ing out on play­ing their favourite sport, prin­ci­pals warn, as work­ing par­ents and time-poor teach­ers leave fewer peo­ple to coach and man­age sec­ondary school sports teams.

A new re­port by the Ed­u­ca­tion Re­view Of­fice notes that it is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult for schools to get par­ents in­volved in coach­ing sports teams.

In the Welling­ton re­gion, 60 per cent of sec­ondary school stu­dents are in­volved in sport, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est New Zealand Sec­ondary Schools Sports Coun­cil cen­sus on par­tic­i­pa­tion.

But just 26 per cent of school staff in Welling­ton help out with sec­ondary sports, ac­cord­ing to the cen­sus, leav­ing a large coach­ing gap for par­ents and the wider com­mu­nity to fill.

In the past there was al­most an ex­pec­ta­tion that teach­ers would take on a coach­ing or man­ag­ing role when they started at a new school, Otaki Col­lege prin­ci­pal Andy Fraser said.

Many teach­ers were still in­volved in sport to­day, but other de­mands on their time had con­tin­ued to ‘‘grow and grow and grow,’’ he said.

Otaki Col­lege was cur­rently on the look­out for peo­ple to coach its net­ball teams and bas­ket­ball team. Fraser ex­pected par­ents would even­tu­ally fill those roles, but the ‘‘cold hard re­al­ity’’ was that if no one stepped up then the stu­dents would not have a team.

Ron­go­tai Col­lege, in the Welling­ton sub­urb of Kil­birnie, was lucky in that it had a sup­port­ive com­mu­nity with high par­tic­i­pa­tion from staff, par­ents and the wider com­mu­nity, the school’s prin­ci­pal Kevin Carter said.

If teach­ers or par­ents were not able to help out, se­nior stu­dents could coach the ju­nior stu­dents while oth­ers in the com­mu­nity, such as old boys, pitched in.

St Pa­trick’s Col­lege, Kil­birnie direc­tor of sport Jonathan Mill­mow agreed there were more par­ents than teach­ers tak­ing on coach­ing roles. But his school was also in the for­tu­nate po­si­tion of hav­ing a good pool of vol­un­teers to draw on.

Bren­dan Hol­land has coached his son’s foot­ball team at St Pa­trick’s Col­lege, Kil­birnie, for the past three years.

The com­mit­ment took up about five or six hours of his time a week, and the pay­off was worth it, he said.

‘‘I’m a par­ent, so ob­vi­ously I want to see his team looked af­ter, but on a per­sonal note I just love see­ing peo­ple move on in life and achieve things.’’


Bren­dan Hol­land is a coach of a foot­ball team at St Pat’s in Kil­birnie.

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