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LBA WESTMINSTER SCHOOL LEAGUE 2023 – 24 | Round up

For the 7th year running the LBA was able to carry out the renowned LBA Westminster School League. A competition that enables all the secondary schools in Westminster the chance to compete to determine the best Basketball team in the borough. Below is a breakdown of the success and challenges we experienced over the season.

facts and figures

Through this league we were able to have 12 schools take part in the U14 and U16 age categories for both the Girls and Boys. This meant that a total of 28 teams took part across all competitions.

To break this down further, a total of 310 players were able to take part in the league. Out of this amount, 209 of the players belong to ethnic minority groups, making up just over 67% of the all participants.

Furthermore, out of the 310 players, 131 of them were girls. This meant that just over 42% of the participation was female led. Within the 131 girls, 82 of them belonged to ethnic minority groups. Based on this, just over 62% of the girls taking part were of ethnic minority backgrounds.

While the sample size is vastly different, we are pleased to see that when compared to the active lives survey 22/23, which has often cited that Asian and Black children often struggle to be engaged in physical activity, averaging at a 42% participation level for an hour’s worth of activity a day. Seeing our numbers at 62% and 67% for both girls and boys respectively for physical engagement is promising.

If we also break this information down to the 10 state schools, removing the 2 independent schools and source the same information, here is the breakdown:

Ethnic minority groups participation levels: 87%
Girls participation levels: 40%
Girls ethnic minority group participation: 87%

Another key note is the amount of children that participate in the league that receive free school meals. When you remove the two independent schools and focus on the 10 state schools participating. On average, 41% of the children playing are a beneficiary of FSM according to statistics found on GOV.UK.

This again shows that through initiatives, such as the LBA Westminster School League. We are able to engage and promote physical activity to children that would not normally be able to access or afford competitive sporting opportunities.

Officials

Referees, without them the game can not be carried out. To them we give our highest thanks and praise.

The LBA has always been at the forefront of ensuring that referees are put in a position to win, are well informed and well paid. We were able to book 51 games with 41 games being completed. No cancellations occurred due to a referee being unavailable. 53 referee jobs were available during the season via All Officials.

Through our ROC Framework we have been able to use the league as a vehicle for qualifying the next generation of ROCs. Students and players alike have been able to access Referee, Table official and Coaching courses free of charge via All Officials Learn. Once completed they have been able to carry out their practical hours though league matches, this has been key for the table officials in which students are required to carry out the table duties for any home game they participate in.

By sowing the seeds for future ROC’s we are not only able to provide employability opportunities for those interested in the Basketball workforce, we are also addressing the huge need for referees across London as a whole. This is a huge point of emphasis for the LBA as Basketball England reports that within England, there are only 627 licensed referees compared to the 1,180,000 U16s that are playing.

We look forward to seeing how the ROC program can continue to grow. We are already seeing former players, now graduated, coaching and refereeing in the league they used to partake in as students.

Feedback from schools

Any competition, school leagues especially, can not run if not planned and communicated efficiently.

New processes were put in place to ensure all updates could be communicated live instead of having an email go out of date after a week. Our website acted as a hub, where all the information could be visited at any point, we also implemented live sheets to ensure all schools could be updated on matches simultaneously.

We roughly went through 850 emails between all the schools, the LBA and the council to ensure that everything ran smoothly, all questions were answered along with confirming any external venues or awards were sourced well in advance.

Based on feedback gathered from the 12 schools we would like to highlight how we were scored.

91% of the schools rated the likelihood of participation next season at a 7/10 or above.
75% of the schools rated their likelihood to recommend the league to others as a 7/10 or above
83% of the schools rated the levels of LBA’s communication as a 7/10 or above.

How to improve, challenges incurred

Game time – Having a league on this scale is not without challenge, we did switch to a two pool system to ensure the teachers could fit in all their scheduled matches while also staying budget friendly. This did mean that some teams did not play as many games as each other. We hope that now that schools are far more aware of the system that this will be cut down on to enable all the teams to have enough matches over the season.

Marketing/media content – While footage gathered was great and covered the best parts of the league, we at the LBA did struggle to curate albums that could be shared for the schools to enjoy. To increase the visibility we aim to release 3 high quality videos across the league instead of just one finals wrap up. Furthermore utilising students in a supervised manner, to carry out marketing on the day would be a great way to engage students who are not directly involved in sport itself. In general the LBA would love to have an increased presence at the games.

Funding/budget – Having an increased budget would give the LBA resources and scope to improve the league in the best possible way, whether that is through supplying equipment, sports wear, court hire, specialist training, increasing LBA staff. Having a revamped budget will allow us to implement new ideas to support the schools. We do hope to make progress on generating corporate sponsorship, this should give the LBA new ways to engage the community.

Communication – The P.E staff are often the ones that are burdened with the brunt of ensuring that the games take place, juggling such responsibilities with their job along with trips and other sports leagues is no easy task. Hopefully, by increasing communication with the school itself, as well as continuing to include the schools in the implementation of the league through meetings and feedback. We can ease the burden and find methods that suit us all.

Thank you message

Thank you to Angela Emanuel and Johnathan Hearn, who with the Westminster city council, were able to provide the funding for the league.

Thank you to John Farmer with the American school in London, along with Eli Clarke with Southbank International School for providing the court space for the Mid-season cup and the League finals respectively.

Thank you to all of the officials that supported all the games that took place across the entirety of the season.

Thank you to all of the schools, teachers and coaches that continue to support and buy into the league. We truly respect and appreciate all the work that you go into to make these matches happen.

Thank you to the players who gave it their all, we hope to see you back even better next season.

Thank you to Team USA and the NBA for giving players in this league the opportunity to meet with NBA legend Grant Hill and receive a coaching clinic from members of the London coaches program. A huge thank you to Team GB for sending down team representatives to inspire the next generation.

Thank you to all the LBA staff for their work behind the scenes.