An Ofsted-style grading system for school pitches is being launched by the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG).
The scheme - available to both the independent and state sectors – aims to allow schools to showcase their sports turf facilities and recognise the skills and expertise of its grounds teams.
A nationwide pilot scheme is planned with a selection of independent schools taking part to help inform the pitch grading framework before the scheme is rolled out
The concept has been supported by all national governing bodies of sport and aims to boost industry standards for grounds facilities, improve the knowledge within the sector and set benchmarks for playing surfaces.
Natural turf sports pitches standards will be graded from levels 0 to 5, with 5 being ‘elite’ status while grounds teams will be advised to have a certain level of qualifications to obtain certification for each grade.
Each level is complemented by a training and qualification recommendation framework that features specific and accurately blended learning, delivered both online and in the traditional format.
Programme chiefs hope the scheme will add a new dimension to schools to help them attract potential students and their parents as well as boosting community use.
The framework will not only highlight the level of an individual playing surface quality but also the appropriate training and education, and the recommended levels of qualifications, needed by the ground’s management team who maintain it.
Geoff Webb, CEO of the IOG, said: “In a similar style to OFSTED, schools will be able to promote their rating and highlight the standards of its sports and green-space facilities, as well as the knowledge and expertise among its team.”
“The pitch grading framework aims to deliver a much-needed requirement in the industry. It creates a standard for facilities to be compared against, which will be of huge benefit to schools when attracting new students and providing the students with sports pitches to excel on.”
To take advantage of significant training and service discounts, schools must be member of IOG with costs of £300 per year, which provides access to benefits for the entire grounds management team.
This gives access to leading experts; resources, the latest industry science and knowledge as well as discounted fees on training and qualifications.
For further information visit www.iog.org or call 01908 312 511.