St. Patrick’s College, Sports 4 Success Programme

Contact: Dr. Paul Downes and Valerie McLoughlin, Educational Disadvantage Centre, St. Patrick’s College, Dr(


Run by the Educational Disadvantage Centre in the College, Sports 4 Success is an after schools education programme for pupils between 9-12 years who are attending DEIS schools. S4S uses mentoring as its guiding principle. The issues of education, health, physical ability, life skills, and social skills are collectively addressed through the medium of sport. Sport is used by the programme in two ways: firstly the pupils are involved in sporting activity of some form as part of the programme and secondly, specially designed worksheets, which use sport as a learning tool, are used for the homework section of the visit. These worksheets are based on the prescribed curriculum.

A second aim of the programme is to encourage pupils from areas experiencing disadvantage to consider third level education as a life choice. Spending some time within a college environment and with third level students allows the pupils an insight into college life, which removes any mystery associated with third level education. The Programme also provides the pupil with a role model within a third level environment, which might otherwise not be available to him/her. The emphasis is on learning as a fun experience, and both participants and mentors have found this innovative method of teaching a very rewarding experience.

From the point of view of the Educational Disadvantage Centre, St. Patrick’s College, a third aim of the programme is to allow student teachers to gain an insight into the needs of pupils and particularly to develop an awareness of the needs of pupils in areas of disadvantage. 

45 children from a local primary school attended for 14 weeks in academic year 2009/2010.

6 volunteers each week mentored the children.

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