Associating with success

An at-a-glance guide to some of the key organisations of interest to anyone working in the independent school sport sector

API: Association of Play Industries
Deborah Holt, Association Manager. T: 024 7641 4999 ext. 208. E: W:
What: Established in 1984, the API represents 70 manufacturers, installers, designers and distributors of outdoor and indoor play equipment and safety surfacing. It is committed to quality, standards, service, safety and ridding the industry of disreputable operators
Why it matters: API campaigns at the highest level for policy recognition for play. API members are rigorously tested to ensure that they are reputable, trustworthy, financially stable and deliver good value.

GSA: Girls’ Schools Association
Contact: Jane Carroll: T: 0116 254 1619. W:
What: Represents independent girls’ schools in the UK and promotes the benefits of single-sex education for girls.
Why it matters: Unstinting in its positive coverage for the achievements of girls in the independent sector, not least in sport.
Latest news: The GSA’s annual Girls Go Gold conference is the Association’s flagship sports event and this year is scheduled for mid-September. The conference will actually be two separate regional events – at St Catherine’s Bramley near Guildford and Bolton School Girls’ Division – following the success of this format in 2013. Girls Go Gold is a conference for students rather than staff and gives budding sportswomen and those studying PE the opportunity to meet and learn from top sportswomen and sportsmen as well as coaches and others working in the world of sport. This year’s key note speakers are currently being finalised. Previous speakers have included Dame Kelly Holmes, Sally Gunnell OBE and four-time World Ironman champion Chrissie Wellington.

HMC: Headmasters’ & Headmistresses’ Conference
Contact: T: 01858 469 059. E: W:
What: Professional association of Heads of many of the world’s leading independent school. It has over 250 members in the UK and Ireland.
Why it matters: HMC has been providing support and advice to Heads for over a century. It also has a dedicated Sports Committee, chaired by John Claughton, Chief Master of King Edward’s School, Birmingham (see his column on page 22). It deals with general advice, governing bodies and runs sports-related conferences.

ISFA: Independent Schools Football Association
Contact: Football Development Manager Sean Smith: T: 07854 136788. W:
What: With football’s popularity on the rise in independent schools. ISFA aims to nurture the desire to play the game and ensure that the Corinthian values on which the game was founded are still followed.
Why it matters: It’s affiliated to the FA and responsible for developing and promoting the game in the independent sector. It runs national competitions and representative teams aimed at giving boys and girls the chance to play at the highest possible level. Runs coaching courses and INSET days for teachers. Current pros with an ISFA background include Victor Moses and Frank Lampard!
Latest news: The Boodles ISFA Cup Final took place on Thursday 6th March 2014 at the MK Dons’ stadium. Millfield had been very impressive in their route to the final, defeating last year’s beaten finalists Alleyn’s in the semi-final. Bradfield had been equally impressive in their route to the final, beating Manchester Grammar School 5-2 in the semi-finals. Millfield made Boodles Cup history by winning a record fourth title after a 6-1 win in the final, which was refereed by World Cup and Champions League final referee Howard Webb.

ISPEC: Independent Schools’ Physical Education Conference
Contact: Chairman Ben Moir: W:
What: Holds an annual conference around Easter (this year’s is on April 14-16 at Bryanston School, Dorset) at which PE and Games teachers from prep and senior schools gather.
Why it matters: Offers a series of professional developmental workshops, allowing teachers to experience a range of activities, delivered by experts in their field, as well as unrivalled networking opportunities.

PADSIS: Professional Association of Directors of Sport in Independent Schools
Contact: Neil Rollins: Andy Weston: W:
What: PADSIS is a not-for-profit organisation which exists to enhance the quality of leadership and management of sport in independent schools
Why it matters: This body, which is endorsed by HMC, GSA, IAPS and ISA, supports the work of teachers responsible for leading the games programme in independent schools of all types. It aims to help Directors of Sport – and people aspiring to that role – to enhance their leadership and management abilities and to be more effective in delivering a sports programme to meet the needs of the Twenty First century. Offers job vacancy alerts, practical advice and networking opportunities.

SAPCA: Sports and Play Construction Association
Contact: T: 024 7641 4773. W:
What: Trade association for the sports and play UK construction industry. SAPCA has a rigorous admissions procedure designed to guarantee that all its members maintain high standards and are financially stable.
Why it matters: Chris Trickey, CEO of SAPCA: “Whether it’s a football pitch, a Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) or an athletics track, as the key decision maker for your school, it is up to you to ensure that the build is fit for purpose. Early on in the planning stages you’ll face crucial choices: which contractor, supplier or consultant do you choose? To minimise the investment risk to the education sector, SAPCA has a system in place to ensure contractors meet the highest standards. The key criterion for this is SAPCA membership.”


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