A life in the week of Martin Baillie, school games organiser at Featherstone School Sport Partnership and primary school PE mentor in Ealing, London
After a half-term where many people I work with forgot it was my holiday, and then literally throwing my two teenage sons out of the house for their schools, I feel like I have never been away. This is a good job. I really enjoy what I do. A day at Featherstone for me today. It should have involved a visit to mentor in Berrymead Infants in Acton but they have a staff day. I therefore go into the office for a day of emails and sorting out upcoming competitions, including netball later this week mainly reminding certain PE leads that they haven’t entered a competition despite their “surprise” at this shocking news - nor have the rules changed for the rugby between the eighth and ninth time I have explained it to them. I love them all really (I just hide it extremely well).
Unlike yesterday, this is actually a planned day in the office and a much calmer start to the day. A phone call from a PE lead wakes me up and it doesn’t really stop from then onwards. A four mile walk to school with the aim of improving my fitness and clearing my head just results in emailing on the move. Seven schools trying to join the girls’ football competition a week after the deadline doesn’t help, despite the booking window being open since the start of September. However I try not to say no to schools and pupil participation so spend much of the day, trying to fit a quart into a pint pot. Twenty eight teams are now entered. This evening I have my own five- a-side football with my eldest son Cameron showing me up by scoring two goals and, along with his brother, beating me. Then finally a time to relax over a few ‘lemonades’ afterwards.
Always the hardest day to get up as my body no longer belongs to a 25-year-old and my slightly older body lets me know it’s not over the moon about my five –a-side the night before. A brief visit into Villiers High School, one of the seven senior schools that I oversee in my school games organiser role, to speak to the head of PE and check the gym measurements for our Boccia festival next month. Villiers has, very kindly, offered to host. (Yes we can fit six matches at a time in). Then it’s off to Hambrough, one of my primary schools that I mentor in. Lunchtime change for life club is followed by two SEND groups in a variety of team-building games, which is great fun for us all. Then finally leading a year 3 group in gymnastics with a theme of flight, with the aim of passing on a tip or two to their class teacher. Lovely school, lovely children.
Netball competition day. Twenty four different schools arriving at Will2 win in Pitshanger where we are running our netball and tennis competitions this year. Once Juma, my line manager, and I have finished trying to break every bone in our fingers just trying to get the posts down to the correct height, we have a wonderful day. Yet again we are lucky with the weather. In the last two years we have only cancelled one event due to the weather and that was indoor gymnastics! Heavy snow meant it would have been unsafe to let schools travel. A thrilling day, helped by our young leaders from Featherstone, result in Little Ealing being crowned champions, with St Marks also going through the Ealing finals. Days like this are both the most enjoyable and exhausting days in my work, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Another whistle-stop tour of my office at Featherstone, writing up yesterday’s results, and a quick meeting with Jagjit, our volunteer disability Boccia player who has been a great help in increasing our understanding of the sport. Then it’s off to Woodlands Academy in the afternoon. It’s my first visit to the school as a mentor although I have visited a few times in the past. Another meeting (I have had a lot of them this term already) with the head teacher. My remit here is to help increase the knowledge and confidence of her staff as well as raising the physical activity levels of the school pupils during their lunchtimes. Walking around the school, with Max, the PE lead, I note just how much calmer the school is now compared with my previous visits and can’t wait to fully involve myself here from next week. I’ve already spotted a few characters here.
My busman’s holiday weekend starts early as I have to get my youngest son Dylan up and then drive him to his football practice by 9.30am. It’s a cold but bright day so I stay and have a lovely, if brisk, walk around the park, giving me time to plan in my head, the ‘random’ groups for the upcoming rugby competition. After driving back, it’s time to take Cameron to his performing arts lesson, He’s a member of a dance group, Autism with Attitude, that has started to perform all over London, and has shows planned in such far of places as Coventry and Liverpool. I’m so proud of them both. Then an evening pizza, with my partner Tracy, a woman with the patience of a saint.
Busman’s holiday part two. Wake up, still pondering exactly what Scunthorpe United can do to halt their alarming slide down the league one table. Decide nothing, so get on with my day. Start with Dylan and his team Pitshanger U15s for his latest league match. It’s a new team for him and he’s really enjoying it which, after all, is by far the most important thing in any sport, inside or outside of school. His team wins 7-0 and Dylan scores his first-ever hat-trick. I know it’s far from just about winning but that doesn’t stop me smiling for the rest of the day. Evening,‘lemonade’ at home as I review the past week and go over the next few days. I have to say I do love this job. It’s very fulfilling and uplifting, just don’t tell my PE leads that. Please.
A LIFE IN THE WEEK OF