The National Police Community Trust uses the sport of boxing as a tool for engagement with the primary, secondary and tertiary education sectors. Using the Boxing Leader Course to expand delivery capacity, with many school teachers and support staff taking the course, and the Contender basic boxing skills and fitness programme as a flexible and adaptable programme for children and young adults to learn from, the Trust has shown that boxing can be delivered in all educational establishments in a safe, fun and enriching manner, in partnership with the Police Community Clubs of Great Britain. No previous experience of boxing is needed to take the Boxing Leader Course.
Many primary school teachers and support staff who have completed the Boxing Leader Course deliver curriculum-time and after-school boxing skills sessions. Most use the Contender programme as a base to work from with KS2, ensuring that children have fun and improve their coordination while learning that boxing is a sport built around defence, respect and discipline.
Secondary school pupils are old enough to train at, and compete for, England Boxing* affiliated boxing clubs. In addition to age-appropriate versions of the primary delivery, building on boxing skills and fitness, the Trust is able to signpost teachers and pupils to their nearest reputable boxing club. Many schools also liaise with their linked police officer, who may also become a Boxing Leader, to use boxing as a diversionary activity during school holiday programmes and/or as a behaviour-improving after school club.
The Trust has developed its boxing offer in universities and colleges over the past decade, including a group of boxing academies based within educational establishments such as Bradford College in West Yorkshire, offering education-linked programmes from beginner level up to Olympian. Many boxers from these programmes have achieved excellent academic results while improving their boxing tactics and skills in an environment fit for elite athletes. Indeed, our former students have gone on to compete at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and one became an AIBA world amateur champion. As they have grown older some of our former students have turned professional, and their success has continued, with a recently crowned European champion amongst our alumni.
In summary, boxing has great credibility with young people from all backgrounds, and informed provision at primary, secondary and tertiary educational levels can be used to support many different initiatives, from anti-bullying week to diversity awareness. The Boxing Leader Course and Contender programme allow schools, colleges and universities to integrate this enjoyable activity into their students’ lives.
*England Boxing – The national governing body for boxing in England.