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UK Coaching Team
Self-care and development Standards for Deployment

Recommended Guidance on Coaching in Schools

Many schools employ coaches to support their delivery of PE, sport, and physical activity both during and outside of curriculum time. This guidance will support you to bring your best to the role

Whether you coach during curriculum time or extra curriculum time (before or after school, or at a holiday club), these top tips will help you ensure that you’re following recommended guidelines and that you’re well-informed about coaching in schools.

1) Standards for the deployment of coaches working in schools

You must meet the standards for the deployment of coaches. Read our Recommended Guidance for Coaches on the Standards for Deployment to find out more about this.

You must also meet the school’s employment criteria. You will need to be able to demonstrate that to the school by providing the relevant and necessary documentation and certification.

Our guidance includes recommendations across the following areas:

  • Minimum age. This is 18 years old for all paid independent coaches working in schools.
  • Appropriate qualifications. Every school and local authority will decide what qualifications and or experience they require for coaches working in their schools. This will include their definition of supervision. It is your responsibility to check this and ensure you meet those requirements.
  • Appropriate insurance. Ensure that you’re fully aware of any insurance provided by the school and that you’re covered by the school and or your own insurance.
  • Safeguarding and Protecting Children. You must have attended the necessary safeguarding training. This will need to be renewed every three years.
  • Improve or refresh your knowledge of safeguarding principles. You will need to learn how to create a safe environment for children by recognising and responding to safeguarding concerns. For more on this, visit the safeguarding pillar page in the Duty to Care Hub.
  • Policies and procedures. As a minimum, the school should have in place the following policies:
    • Code of practice or Conduct.
    • Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion.
    • Safeguarding.
    • Health and Safety.

You should be required to sign these as part of a thorough school induction.

  • A DBS check. Safeguarding is an important feature of school life, so a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check is a must if engaged in a regulated activity to determine whether you meet the eligibility criteria to work directly and unsupervised with children.
  • First Aid. Schools will usually require you to hold a First Aid Qualification. It is your responsibility to check what qualifications are accepted by the school and ensure you meet those requirements.

Click into the tabs below to find the rest of the guidance.

In accordance with the School’s Leadership Team, as a coach, you can support the delivery of PE, physical activity, or school sport that you are qualified for.

As such, it’s important to be clear about what the school expects your help with.

You might be asked to provide expertise to upskill teachers in areas of the curriculum that they are less confident or experienced with, or you might provide more options in school, or in extracurricular clubs.

During your induction or onboarding process with the school, it’s important that you receive a role description or ask for one if it hasn’t been provided. It should clearly outline your role and responsibilities identifying any limits of responsibility, report procedures, lines of management and communication, and any specialist expertise required. (For more on this, read our guide, Setting Yourself Up For Success: A Guide to Onboarding.)

This is also an ideal time to find out the school’s aims and how you can help achieve them. School action plans set out the school’s aims for the year, which often include targets for getting pupils more active.

School action plans for physical activity may include aims for:

  • PE and Sport Premium.
  • Enrichment programmes.
  • Individual Education Plans and Education, Health and Care Plans for children with additional needs or special educational needs (SEN).


Consider meeting the PE Coordinator if the school has one and ask what these aims are.

You might want to ask:

What is your vision for PE, physical activity and school sport in the school? What role will I play?

What is the aim of the before-school/after-school/holiday club?


Schools are advised to show coaches and ask them to agree to and sign their policies and procedures, including codes of practice, equality, and health and safety policies.

If they don’t, it’s important to ask to see these and be aware of what you are agreeing to and signing up for before you begin coaching.

Below are several policies and procedures to consider or that you could ask to see:

  • Staff Handbook.
  • First Aid Policy.
  • Confidentiality Policy.
  • Uncollected Child Policy.
  • Safe Physical Contact with Pupils Policy.
  • Pupil Behaviour and Discipline Policy.
  • Online Code of Conduct for Teachers Policy.
  • Parent and Community Use of Social Media Policy.
  • Photographic and Video Images Policy.
  • Keeping Children Safe in Education.
  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
  • Communication with Colleagues.
  • Reporting and Passing on Concerns.
  • Communication with Parents.

Not all children are confident about physical activity and sport. You’ll need to plan your sessions accordingly and be ready to adapt and modify to be inclusive of all.

It may be less obvious that not all teachers are confident about their own physical activity levels either, which may mean they are more reluctant to get involved in physical activity at school. Be sensitive to this if you think it applies and look for opportunities to encourage and involve them in your sessions where appropriate.

Ensure that you communicate regularly with teachers, parents, and other stakeholders and work collaboratively to ensure the best outcomes for children.

Tip: Speak to the Head of PE, director of sports, class teacher, PE Coordinator, SENCO, or teaching assistants to find out more about the children you’ll be coaching and what their individual needs might be.

Whether you’re delivering a PE lesson, running a before or after school club, or helping with a physical activity initiative, you are an adult entering the world of the pupils in an environment where they are primed for learning.

Assume that everything you say and do will have an impact on at least one child and make sure you have the impact that you would like to.

Ensure you:

  • promote and encourage physical activity and healthy lifestyles
  • promote a variety of physical activities and sports
  • conduct yourself appropriately, displaying high personal standards such as appropriate language, behaviour, and boundaries
  • lead by example and display positive sportsmanship and commitment to physical activity and sport
  • wear the appropriate coaching kit with safety considerations in mind
  • follow up on any commitments you make.

When coaching in any environment, it’s important to maintain up-to-date knowledge to ensure you are confident and competent to perform your role.

UK Coaching recommends the following development as highly valuable for coaches working in schools:

This is recommended guidance only and does not replace direct advice from your employer/deployer, training provider, national governing body of sport (NGB), or sports organisation. If you have any queries on their recommended qualifications, insurance, or additional training, please contact them directly.

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Related Resources

  • Recommended Guidance for Coaches on the Standards for Deployment

  • Practical Considerations When Coaching in Different Environments

  • Code of Practice for Sports Coaches


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