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3 April 2018

Orrell Holgate Primary School teacher has been mentored and upskilled through the Premier League's flagship project.

  • Chris is part of the Premier League Primary Stars programme.
  • Community Trust have worked with over 4,000 pupils in Wigan.
  • Scheme uses the appeal of Wigan Athletic to inspire youngsters.

The club’s official charity work with over 4,000 children and 120 teachers as part of the Premier League Primary Stars scheme – a programme that uses the appeal of Wigan Athletic to inspire youngsters to learn, be active and develop important life skills.

For Chris Van Geffen, PE Lead at Orrell Holgate Primary School, the project has proven beneficial having been upskilled and mentored by Community Trust coaches.

He has also had the opportunity to gain new qualifications since being part of the Community Trust and has completed refereeing courses through the Fit Fans initiative.

He said: “The impact Wigan Athletic Community Trust have had on my life has been incredible.

“A few years ago before I moved up to Wigan and became a Father for the first time I spent about seven months applying for jobs every day and then I got involved with the Trust’s Fit Fans scheme.

“The programme trained me up to become a referee and that gave me the confidence to find work in different areas I wouldn’t have considered before.”

Chris now delivers fun and engaging PE lessons alongside Community Trust coaches, with activities ranging from balance and coordination to athletics and throwing skills.

“The Primary Stars scheme has given me the confidence to run things and structure the day for the children so they all get something out of it.

“It’s great to see when they learn new skills and they can put it into practice and produce something they’re proud of.

“Teaching and working with children is not something I thought I’d be doing for a living, but I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner.”

Tasked with mentoring Chris has been Gareth Shaw, School Sport Coordinator, and he credits his application over the past 18 months.

“Chris has been a breath of fresh air – he’s been eager to learn and has developed his skills tremendously since I’ve been working with him.

“My job at the school is to upskill and develop teachers’ knowledge and competency in PE.

“Prior to lessons being delivered good practice is to sit down with them and discuss the lesson beforehand and to run through the activities we’ll be doing.

“The teachers then have the opportunity to ask questions and to give their input into the lesson.

“It’s been really beneficial for me too as I’ve been able to enhance my knowledge and increase my expertise.”

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