As a first step, PETAs are often integrated into Primary Schools. This allows them to gain some hands on experience under the guidance of a Primary School PE Coordinator while enhancing the school’s pupils experiences of PE and sport. We try to place PETAs at primary schools they went to themselves so that in addition to providing sport-specific knowledge, they often hold a role-model position which enables them to exert yet more influence over the pupils.
Furthermore, being placed in primary schools puts PETAs in a prime position to recruit for their local Mini-Clubs, and many take advantage of their position by giving out flyers, leading school assemblies and recruiting via word of mouth.
PETAs run primarily from February through to August, a time when young people are more inclined to attend outdoor activity and in preparation for the Winter Neighbourhood Games in April and the Summer Neighbourhood Games in August during this period.
We ensure that PETAs have almost complete autonomy over when Mini Club activity takes place. Not only does the timing have to fit in with their own availability but they will also know their local area and so will be able to avoid clashes with local mosque obligations or other sports club events. Some Mini Clubs run up to 4 hours of activity per week, with sessions split by gender or age group. Others are smaller and tend to run exclusively on weekends during school holidays.
There are 33 Mini Clubs across Tower Hamlets and each Mini Club focuses on drawing participants from 1-4 Primary Schools. Mini Clubs are open to anyone of Primary School age and we regularly see young participants who are visiting family in Tower Hamlets over school holidays. Some Mini Clubs have as many as 50 participants and are led by five PETAs while others are as small as 10 participants with one PETA. Although Mini Clubs occasionally take advantage of school space, leisure centres and youth centres, the majority of activity takes place on community ball-courts.