Sport and fitness for today’s youth
April 2009 £2.75
Campaign for subsidised gym for kids By Mary Ferguson A SCOTTISH gym owner is campaigning for subsidised gym memberships for children – blasting government for not doing enough to tackle rising levels of obesity. Greg Dalgleish, owner of Hawickbased Think Fitness, has written to the Scottish Executive to push for increased funding for initiatives that get young people active, claiming similar programmes in England are leaving Scotland behind. He said: “As far as I can tell, the Scottish Executive’s focus seems to be on nutrition, diets and school food, rather than a balanced diet and activity strategy. This is probably why every third child in Scotland is overweight and why our overweight children grow into obese adults who will bankrupt our health service.” At Think Fitness, Greg operates a separate studio with hydraulic equipment suitable for young people and offers a reduced school membership of £15 a month. But, he said, there are still those that can’t afford it. “The Executive give vouchers out for computer courses so why not for gyms? There seems to be so much available
for kids in England at grass roots level and Scotland can learn from that. The NHS in Scotland has worked with local authority run leisure centres for years but some private clubs are better equipped with better staff, so better positioned to make a difference. The NHS and the Executive must realise that clubs like us are part of the solution – not spectators in this war on obesity.” Scotland has the second highest level of obesity in the developed world and according to Greg, a lack of Executive intervention will only make the problem worse. He added: “I look at my English colleagues getting excited about their Government’s ‘Change 4 Life’ campaign and I cannot believe that we’re not doing something similar in Scotland. How much worse does it have to get before we do?” A spokesman for the Scottish Executive said: “This Government has taken decisive action to tackle obesity and increase the levels of physical activity across the Scottish population. We are providing local government with record levels of funding and many councils run innovative schemes to encourage children to get involved in physical activity.” Full story, page 10
Sharron to throw book at fitness FORMER Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies has revealed she is so worried about kids’ fitness she is getting involved with a book designed to help families be healthy.
Britain’s Got Talent finalists Strike have launched a new project aimed at getting kids active. Danny Ball, 23 and Liam Richards, 20 hit the scene last year after appearing on the ITV show, showcasing their acrobatic martial arts routines. The pair have teamed up with Leisure Connection and Harpers Fitness to deliver classes for five to 16 year olds. Full story, Page 11
Sharron told Future Fitness as children will eat what they are given and copy what they see adults doing, it is important to set a good example when it comes to nutrition and fitness. She said: “Kids mimic what they see adults doing. “If they see you working out or eating healthily, they will copy you. We need to set the right examples. “I am looking into a book on kids’ fitness and and how as a family we can be healthy. I am really concerned about it.”
Sports leader course proves a hit with Redbridge pupils By Louise Cordell A SPORTS leaders’ course has become so successful that students have to apply just to be accepted onto it. The Mayfield School Sports Partnership project is so popular with pupils an application system has had to be introduced to help decide who gets to join up. The project runs in six schools in the London borough of Redbridge and aims to teach secondary pupils how to work with local kids and involve them in sports activities as sports leaders. But each term there are only 15
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slots – and with up to 50 pupils applying every time, project organisers have had to come up with a fair selection system. Kids wanting to join now complete an application form, stating why they would like to be a leader, what they think the most important responsibilities of the role are and what experience and skills they could bring to their academy group. Ally Traynor, partnership development manager, said: “Because the courses are so over subscribed we are having to work with the heads of year in order to make sure we select the right pupils each time. “We try to get a good mix of kids
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who will all bring something different to the team – some who we know will be good and will be able to help others and some who might be more of a challenge, but who invariably go on to surprise us all.” The students attend ten weekly, two hour sessions which gives the over 14s a Level One award in Sports Leadership. They are taught leadership and organisational skills and get the chance to put them into practice as they help run a community club for five to eight-year-old children. Once the course is completed, the pupils then move onto a community placement in a local primary
school, helping out at after school sports clubs. Andy Rehling is head teacher at the Mayfield School in Dagenham, which was one of the first to become involved in the scheme. He said: “I would recommend a scheme like this to any school, because it gives pupils the opportunity to shine in a completely new area. “A couple of difficult students in particular really have changed their approach to school with improved self belief and independent thinking – it has really made a huge difference.”
Study could impact on health policy – researchers By Mary Ferguson RESEARCHERS behind an exercise study at a school in Wales claim the results could change the country’s health policy. Working with pupils at Porth County Community School over five months, exercise scientists from the University of Glamorgan will be monitoring obesity, physical fitness, cardiovascular risk factors, diet and psychological well-being amongst 400 pupils aged 12 and 13. The exercise sessions will be two hours per week for 18 weeks. In the first study of its kind, they will be carrying out exercise while doing their day to day national curriculum based studies while completing an activity knowledge circuit. The study will monitor the improvement – or not – in the children’s health over the period, as well as taking into account the children’s exercise and eating habits outside of school hours. The study is led by Professor Julien Baker of the University of Glamorgan. He said: “We will be exploring the effects of diverse exercise interventions on the health of the young peo-
Professor Julien Baker
‘University pathway to sport’ A UNIVERSITY in South Yorkshire has upgraded its sports facilities to provide access to sports education and equipment. Sheffield Hallam has refurbished its Pearson building to include a strengthening and conditioning suite, an upgraded movement studio, a new physiotherapy area, and improved changing facilities, toilets and gym. Olympic silver medallist and regional director of the English Institute of Sport, Peter Elliott MBE, opened the new facilities. He said: “The university pathway to sport is very important for Britain – you can't be a successful athlete without hard work and
training. “Sheffield Hallam University should be very proud of what it has achieved here, and I look forward to welcoming world-class athletes that have come through the university in the future.” The strengthening and conditioning suite, known as the High Performance Hallam training facility, is designed specifically for high-performance athletics training. The gym has been kitted out with Life Fitness equipment and also has a new ‘FitLinxx’ computerised system – an intelligent electronic buddy that will guide users through each workout, tracking their fitness progress.
ple as well as their perceptions of a healthy lifestyle, and perceived barriers to healthy living in this population. “The study’s findings will help guide future intervention studies for improving young people’s health, and inform and shape future health and education policy in Wales. “The project is truly innovative and in terms of the obesity epidemic, will be an excellent way of informing future policy.” The project has received £20,000 in funding from the Sports Council for Wales and the aim is to roll it out across schools throughout the UK. Steve Bowden, head teacher at Porth County Community School told Future Fitness: “There’s a lot of evidence already available that suggests increased physical activity can increase academic performance. “We were drawn to this study because of the way it combines the two and if our predictions are correct and the pupils do lose weight and increase their health, it will be a big step in moving things forward.”
Ireland sports outreach programme secures funding By Lyndsey Smith A SPORTS outreach programme in Northern Ireland has won funding that will allow it to be delivered to primary schools. Nearly £240,000 has been awarded to the university of Ulster by the Coca-Cola Foundation for a Sport for LIFE project aimed at both students and teachers. The 12-week programme will go to 100 schools with sports ambassadors encouraging activity in the schools. Dr Deirdre Brennan, programme director, said: “Obesity is a growing
issue in society, with research showing an increase in the problem in children and teenagers. “This project endeavours to tackle this by encouraging not only active lifestyles but also healthy living among primary school children – something that can stay with them for the rest of their lives. “We will place our sports specialist students in schools, which will enhance their skills and knowledge in teaching young children in physical activity settings as well as transferring this knowledge and expertise to school teachers.”
Claims that childhood obesity is not a problem in the UK CHILDHOOD obesity is not a problem in the UK and the government’s intervention strategies are doomed to failure, it has been claimed. The controversial claims come from researchers at the Democracy Institute, who say there is little evidence that we face an epidemic of overweight children – and that claims to the contrary are wrong. Obesity researcher Dr Patrick Basham – who produced the study with Dr. John Luik – said: “There simply is not a body of clinical evidence that shows that overweight and obese children have notably poorer health outcomes than other children.
“We don’t go into the basement and create our own numbers – the irony is that the figures we quoted in our own study are the government’s own numbers.” Dr Basham added that according to the Health Survey for England, obesity amongst boys and girls aged between two and 15 has been declining since 2004. Girls’ obesity levels in 2006 were largely unchanged from where they were in 2001. Dr Luik added: “It’s tremendous irony that the government’s claims about childhood obesity are not supported by the facts produced by the very same government.”
A new Little Gym franchise has opened in Harpenden, bringing the number of UK sites to seven. Owner Lindsey Venner said she had been searching for the right premises for three years, for the club that offers a motor skills and curriculum-based gymnastics programme for children from four months to 12 years. Lindsey said: “I’m excited to bring the concept to my home town – it’s a business that fits in perfectly with my own family and I’m really looking forward to seeing it bring benefits to local children too.” Pictured: Lindsey and the new staff at Little Gym Harpenden
Gym in marketing plan to attract teens By Christina Eccles A SOMERSET gym has employed a marketing co-ordinator to make sure young people in the area know what sport and exercise facilities are available to them. Sedgemoor Splash in Bridgwater had previously struggled with getting young people through the doors – despite offering dedicated sessions for the 14 to 16 year old age group. But according to gym instructor Tom Russell, its lack of success may be down to the teenagers not actually knowing what the gym could offer them. By employing someone specifically to market the gym and its facilities, he hopes they will now have more luck. He said: “I think maybe the problem was partly because they didn’t know what was available. If they know what is available and that it is not going to cost them an arm and a leg then we may find we will get a few more in here. We have got a marketing co-ordinator who is concentrating on that so hopefully it will pick up. “We are going to start with leafleting and see if that takes off and then maybe go out into schools ourselves. We may be able to set up links between us and the schools to offer discounted membership for those who heard about us through their school. “This will help us to get more customers and achieve our goals and also to do our bit for the community.” The gym is also offering hour-long personal training sessions for this age group – both in
John Kalendar with Audrey Flash and Alan Cross.
Scheme uncovers talent Tom Russell
the gym and in its swimming pool and by offering a taster session for £10, six sessions for £42 and 12 for £84 hopes it will provide a good value opportunity for local kids to get involved. Tom added: “We are offering the personal training to try and introduce them into the gym and give them a better understanding of how to achieve their goals. It is a good way of getting them involved at a reasonably cheap price.”
A SCHOOL holiday sports programme is bringing pupils from Birmingham to the attention of top national football clubs. Sports Action, based at the National Indoor Arena, has seen 20 youngsters over the last four years invited to attend professional football academies – with many more joining respected football clubs. The scheme was launched by Audrey Flash MBE, who has worked
with young people in the city for over 40 years. The training sessions, held in school holidays, are led by Alan Cross, a former semiprofessional footballer and sports teacher. Recent discovey Jon Kalender, 14, was taken to Birmingham City FC Academy and signed at half-time in his first match. He got a four-year contract and ended last season as player of the year.
Gym muscling in on youth fitness market By Mary Ferguson
Introducing Streetball ... By Lyndsey Smith URBAN basketball is being offered by a school sports partnership in Medway to help tackle anti-social behaviour. The Greenace SSP is running Streetball events aimed at nonesporty children aged between 13 to 19 once a month – and 60 turned up for the first session. Vikki Soles, assistant partnership development manager, said: “The kids were keen to have somewhere to go that was safe and where they could have fun. “The atmosphere is easy going, with loud music in the background, young referees and a friendly relaxed environment that encourages participation and fun, rather than competitive sport, and hopefully this will continue to
appeal to every kid and not just the sporty ones.” The project is run with help from the police and youth services and is funded through Sport Unlimited. Vikki added: “A downturn in antisocial behaviour has already been reported. We hold the sessions six while nine on a Saturday evening – a time when the kids have said they have nothing to do and just hang around. “It’s has also been beneficial in terms of getting the police interacting with with the kids, going a long way to breaking down barriers.” Based at the Greenacre Sports Hall, the hub for the partnership, the project also invited girls from local dance and cheerleading groups to take part.
A BODYBUILDING gym is encouraging a new generation of fitness fanatics by dropping its prices for kids and teaming up with a secondary school. The owners of Kent-based Ministry Of Muscle claim that despite being ‘worlds apart’ from the centres schools are normally attracted to, the partnership with Aylesford School Sports College has proved a huge success. Gina Iaquaniello, who runs the gym with Steve Winter said: “Schools are becoming more aware of budgets and we are cheap – plus we are within walking distance so it saves on transport costs. “The kids train here in the afternoons when we are quite quiet but when our big guys are around, they are always very friendly as they know they may appear intimidating. They always make an effort to talk to the youngsters and put them at ease.” The year ten and 11 pupils visit the gym as part of their PE lessons but
Gina and Steve noticed them coming out of school hours too. “Our non-member fee is normally £5.50 a session but to make it more affordable to them, we dropped it to £2. We don’t make any kind of profit from dropping the price so low, but we are shaping members of the future and also keeping them off the streets.” Children are allowed in from age 14 and have to obtain written permission from their parents. The most hardcore equipment is out of bounds. Gina added: “We are one of the only gyms in the country to offer Atlas stones but the kids aren’t allowed to touch them and they respect that. “It’s good for some of the kids to be in here because even though they may act big on the streets, in the gym they are small fry next to our giant members. As soon as they step through the door they are automatically respectful of them. It’s actually really nice to watch them interacting together.”
First try for rugby festival THE FIRST ever rugby league tag festival for primary schools in South Central and South Liverpool School Sports Partnerships has taken place. Year five and six youngsters got a taste of festival rugby league with the RFL supporting the whole of the city. John Farrell, RFL development officer, said the plan was to unite the city in a World Cup style event in June. He added: “We have been running
competitions in north and north central for a few years but we are now fortunate that kids in schools all over Merseyside will have access to rugby league on a competitive basis. “We have supported two different festivals and the two localised events will come together, hopefully with 16 schools from each area. “Each school will represent a different country and make their own flag.”
Sport England puts up £10m RURAL communities have received a £10m boost as they aim to create more sporting opportunities for local people. Sport England are to invest the money in the first of a series of themed funding rounds that enables
communities to tackle specific challenges and opportunities that exist in grassroots sport. They aim to ensure investment is effectively distributed across the country and across different communities.
news 7 A Scottish head teacher has been praised for inspiring his pupils to take up a new and challenging sport – unicycling. Louise Cordell reports
Headteacher peddles unicycling DOUGLAS Simpson had been headteacher at Fortrose Academy in Ross-shire for 17 years when his brother took up unicycling. He stepped up to the challenge, learning himself, and has now passed his skills on to more than 100 students. He said: “I thought if he can do it, so can I and after a lot of practice finally managed to master it. “It seemed to be a fun thing to introduce to the school and after giving the kids the opportunity to try it out they took to it very enthusiastically.” The school was given an ‘outstanding’ mark in its report from HM Inspectors of Education and the unicycling project was given a special mention for its positive impact on pupils, especially those with low self esteem. Douglas added: “I think schools should be about a lot of things, and that includes having as much fun as possible as well as aiming for high achievement. “Unicycling worked because no one had ever tried it before, giving everyone an equal chance of success. “It especially seemed to appeal to kids who were a bit isolated or out
of the mainstream and before long we had over 120 really competent unicyclists.” In August, Douglas moved to Nairn Academy on a secondment and took some unicycles over with him. He now runs a unicycling club once a week and over 30 pupils and two staff are already competent riders. There are over 20 unicycles piled up in his office and the pupils can drop in whenever they want to take them out for practice.
He added: “Something like this really re-trains the pupils’ attitude to school, as well as giving them something to do in their spare time. “We have had special needs pupils taking part and for many it is the first thing they have every really excelled at, which is wonderful. “It has also been a very positive way for me to enhance my relationship with the kids, as I get to interact with pupils that I had mainly only seen for negative reasons before, but now I can congratulate them instead of reprimanding them.” Douglas is now planning on introducing a series of new challenges, including getting the kids juggling while unicycling, riding unicycles with no seats and start learning to ride penny-farthings. He said: “I think that any form of exercise is great, but this way it is also combined with a challenge to be overcome, which is wonderful for self esteem and gives the pupils a real boost. “I believe that thinking outside the box can really help if you are looking for results like this – schools need to come up with ways to capture the kids’ imagination – and look what follows.”
8 news Olympic gold medallist Sally Gunnell has become the new ambassador for a youth sports festival in Brighton. The champion hurdler approached the organisers of TAKEPART, a citywide sports programme for children aged 5 to 16, after the success of the festival’s launch in 2008. Andy Marchant, partnership development manager for Brighton Schools Sport Partnership – who help run the event – told Future Fitness: “Sally is hugely popular in the area and will be a massive benefit to the festival. She is already generating a lot of interest in the event and her involvement will hopefully pave the way for other sporting stars to get involved in future years.” TAKEPART takes place in June and is a joint initiative organised by Brighton School Sport Partnership, Brighton and Hove City Council and the Primary Care Trust.
School nets Olympic medallist visit OLYMPIC medallist Gail Emms led a badminton masterclass to mark her new role as an athlete mentor for Sky Sports Living for Sport. Pupils from Idsall school, Shropshire were taught the basics before taking part in singles and doubles matches. Gail joins a team of athlete mentors led by Olympic gold medallist Darren Campbell, and she said: “I am really looking forward to visiting schools and mentoring young people. “I was helped by a variety of people
throughout my career and fully appreciate how positive an effect mentoring and sport can have on youngsters”. An independent study on the impact of Living for Sport carried out by The Institute of Youth Sport at Loughborough University said that 68.7 per cent of teachers reported the project had a positive impact on reducing bullying in their schools, and 80 per cent of pupils sustained positive impact at 12 and 24 months after the end of the project.
Swimming loss leads pupils to gym By Lyndsey Smith A SCHOOL in St Helens has capitalised on the loss of its swimming provision by taking its kids circuit training. Lansbury Bridge Special School – for pupils with a broad range of learning difficulties – came up with the idea after teachers were told they could no longer have their Friday afternoon swimming slot at a local pool. PE co-ordinator John Morris was tasked with finding an alternative and – after speaking with the owner of The Gym in Golburne, where he was a member – it was agreed his kids could begin training there. John said: “The kids have really taken to it and while it is great physical activity it is also a fantastic personal and social experience. “They are used to structured school activity. This allows them to get out and about, integrating with the general public.” The kids are given time to familiarise themselves with equipment, learning how to set them up properly and learning about health and safety issues. “We start them on cardiovascular equipment like treadmills, crosstrainers and rowers and this helps them
with wider learning like numeracy and science – for example if I do so many steps I burn so many calories. “Once they are in the habit of using the equipment they can progress. It’s a gradual build up. We introduce basic principles and set training to a level they can access – a pace they can cope with and an intensity they can live with. “We give them the challenge of being active for 30 minutes – ten minutes on a machine then swap around so they are using three different pieces of equipment, and they are starting to notice other pieces now. “We are crossing over to the multi gyms which again links in to wider learning as they become aware of their antagonistic muscle groups – that if they exercise their chest they have to exercise their back – it’s all about balance.” The school now plans to call on more local facilities in a bid to widen sports provision and John added: “The PE national curriculum has loosened its parameters and if we can justify the five learning strands we can pretty much do what we want. “We can call more and more on local facilities and knowledge, bringing in outside help and giving the kids wider learning experiences.”
Pupils at Willowbrook Primary School take part in the research
Two Colchester schools bid to boost outdoor activities TWO primary schools in Colchester are working with university researchers to improve fitness by increasing participation in outdoor activities. Willow Brook Primary School and Langenhoe Community Primary School have joined forces with the University of Essex for the project, funded by Heart Research UK. Led by researchers at the Centre for Sports and Exercise Science at the University, up to 200 pupils at each school will take part in outdoor activities ranging from skipping and Frisbee to orienteering. Lead researcher Dr Caroline Angus
said: “Nowadays children have less access to safe outdoor play and the amount of time children spend playing outdoors has almost halved in the last 20 years. The aim of this study is to find new ways to encourage children to be more active and develop strategies to help schools to increase physical activity.” The project will provide a total of 12 weeks of activities, with different activities running for a two week period, over winter and summer. Before the activities began the pupils undertook a range of tests to establish basic health, fitness and activity measures.
UK FITNESS SCENE
Gym owner Julia invites students to use facilities
MP David Evennett at the launch of the scheme with Changes proprietor Julia Harris, the FIA’s Henry Tapp and children from St Catherine’s Catholic School for girls.
A LADIES only gym in Kent hopes to boost its membership by offering it to secondary schools to use for PE lessons. Julia Harris, who owns Changes Health Club in Bexleyheath, has been working with the FIA on the Change 4 Life campaign to offer an alternative to traditional sports. Now, she closes her gym on Monday afternoons so the 28 students from St Catherine’s Catholic School for girls can use it free of charge. Julia said: “I split the group into
two, with half doing gym work and the other half a class, such as step, body pump or box fit. It shows the girls that there are different exercises they can do other than playing netball or hockey. It has been beneficial to us as well because it introduces the gym to a new group of potential members.” She also teaches the students about how they can improve their lifestyle, nutrition and food. Julia became the sole owner of the gym two years ago, having been a co-owner for more than 20 years.
Anyone for ‘Competitive sport could tennis? put kids off exercise for life’ TASTER sessions held in an age old sport have inspired youngsters in the North East to take up further coaching.
Year ten pupils at Heaton Manor school in Newcastle were given an introductory course in real tennis last October and this proved so popular further opportunities have now been arranged for extended group and individual coaching. The NSSP has linked up with Jesmond Dene Real Tennis Club – one of only 39 courts left in the world – and Ted Baty SSco said: “It is a complicated, but hugely enjoyable game and ideal for anyone already interested in sports such as cricket, as it helps develop good hand-eye coordination.
By Mary Ferguson FORCING children to play competitive sport in school could put them off exercise for life, it has been claimed. Keith Budge, head teacher of the prestigious Bedales Schools in Hampshire, told Future Fitness that making pupils take part in traditional team sports when they don’t want to can be ‘frightening and humiliating’. He said: “At many schools, sport can become part of it’s culture, which is fine if you happen to be good at it. But if a pupil has no interest in it – or even a fear or loathing of that particular sport – it can potentially be quite damaging. “And if they are made to do it and
hate it, then the danger is they will go through their lives associating all sport with those negative feelings.” Keith said teachers should put more emphasis on participation and enjoyment rather than results – which can be a particular problem at fee-paying schools. “The last thing I would want to do is to encourage pupils not to do team sports. But at Bedales we have taken a view which is rather different to this traditional model.” The schools are working to offer a wider range of sporting activities, enabling students to volunteer for team sports if they want to, rather than having to opt out if they don’t. But, he said, it costs more money and more organisation time – meaning it’s
Youngsters from primary schools in Hastings took part in a five-day multi-sports camp hosted by freedom leisure at its Hillcrest Sports Centre. Activities included multi games assault courses, athletics, team building exercises and speciallycreated games run by the coaches, as well as football.
“It’s also perfect for competitive play as the handicapping system allows novices to compete with more experienced players and still enjoy a good game – the pupils are very keen to return for further coaching and competitions.”
Students recruited by Nike SIX Loughborough students have been recruited by Nike as ambassadors to help empower women and girls in sport. They will be working together within a wider team of 14 sport ambassadors making up the largest number from any one university. Involved in advertising campaigns and Nike events they aim to encourage women to train to be stronger in body and mind. Loughborough graduate Paula Radcliffe was involved in the selection process and she said: “Encouraging young women to continue sport participation is vital if we want to see young UK talent compete at the highest level and prove we have what it takes to be world class athletes.”
not feasible for everyone. “With rugby, you can involve 30 plus boys and one teacher for a whole afternoon with just a ball and some grass, but other sports require more intensive coaching and resources. “We are lucky that we can manage all that and we realise it’s not feasible for every school. But sport is not the only way of engaging pupils with the thrill and benefits of being in a team – drama, musical ensembles or dance troupes can all have a similar effect. “I’m all in favour of team sport, but as schools we just have to be more savvy about how we develop the opportunities available to pupils. It’s vital that there is a strong emphasis on their enjoyment of sport.”
Andy supports youngsters at leadership event By Lyndsey Smith GREAT Britain middle distance runner Andy Baddeley was on hand to support youngsters at the first London 2012 Student Leadership event. The Richmond School Sport Partnership, hosted the event – the first of its kind in the country – and
over 100 young people representing every secondary school in the area attended. Each school produced an action plan looking at practical ways in which the Olympic Games could be used to engage young people in positive physical activity in school. Director of school sport Gary Palmer said: “We were proud to host
the first of these new workshops before they are delivered right across the UK. “Our young people have embraced and supported fully the many projects that we have run in recent years and that is why we have such high levels of involvement in school sport, club sport and leadership programmes in schools.”
MSP John Lamont with some pupils from the programme
Gym owner funds own programme By Mary Ferguson AN independent gym owner has launched a school fitness programme funded entirely by himself. Linking with Hawick High School, Greg Dalgleish opened his facilities to pupils after realising there were no similar government funded initiatives in the country. Active At School – run by the Fitness Industry Association – is free for gyms in England but is cur-
rently not subsidised by the Scottish Executive. The programme ‘buddies’ FIA members with local schools and features activities designed to appeal to both sporting children, as well as those with little or no interest in PE. Greg, who implemented the programme without any local or Scottish Executive support, said: “It’s cost us in terms of buying in the resources and paying for instructor time but it’s
worth it for the difference we are making. “I think a big part of the programme’s success was that it got the kids involved in exercise outside of the school environment.” The pupils aged 14-15 visited the gym for six weeks, taking part in boxercise workouts and circuit sessions using hydraulic equipment. At the end of the period, they were presented with certificates from local MSP
Fund doubles cash for promising youngsters THE KIRKLEES Sporting Legends Fund has doubled the amount of funding available to the borough's promising young sports people. The fund aims to help a greater number of young sports men and
women in achieving their sporting ambitions, and last year awarded over £3,500 in individual grants to 37 aspiring stars in a range of sports, with 11 of these going on to represent either England or Great Britain
To qualify applicants must be aged 11 to 19 and of performance ability, competing at county or equivalent level, attend school or play for a sports club in Kirklees. Their sport must also have a governing body.
Elite sports centre opens in Bristol AN ELITE sports performance centre has opened at Bristol university aiming to help the development and performance of athletes. The £60,000 centre is equipped with the latest in strength and conditioning apparatus and aims to help athletes in the areas of speed, strength, power agility, endurance, reaction times and stability. Gordon Trevett, high performance manager, said: “This will add a whole new dimension to sports performance at the university. “Thanks to the new equipment and a full-time strength and conditioning coach we can now drive our sports performance programme to a much higher level.” The facility will also house another of the university’s sports medicine clinics, offering physiotherapy, sports massage, injury treatment and prevention.
John Lamont. Sandy Wilson, Hawick High School’s principal teacher, added: “Most of the pupils who opted to participate in the programme aren’t really sporty, but all of them absolutely love it – the girls in particular. Now, some would love to do PE every day and that’s a real testament to Greg and his instructors. We don’t have the same facilities and therefore cannot offer anything similar.”
Coaches courses on offer A TRAINING company is to offer free courses to create more than 500 coaches devoted to improving children’s health. FitPro will offer fully funded places on courses leading to their CYQ Level 2 Certificate in Instructing Health-Related Fitness for Children. The qualification covers everything needed to teach effective and safe children’s fitness classes including anatomy, physiology, class control methods and the practical implications of training with children. Laura Baker, training and education manager, said: “It will really help people that have no or limited knowledge of teaching children to be fully confident and capable of running a motivational and educational class.” The course is suitable for existing fitness professionals looking to specialise in children’s health and fitness, adults who’d like to re-train for a new career, or for people already working with children and young people who want to develop their skills to include health and fitness.
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news 11 Strike – the martial arts duo made famous by Britain’s Got Talent – combine different styles of martial arts, acrobatics, gymnastics and dance, all choreographed to music. Now they are focusing on getting more kids involved. Lyndsey Smith found out more.
Martial arts duo strike gold with unique act LIAM Richards, 20, and Danny Ball, 23 are a unique act with their high intensity, explosive energy and synchronisation. They burst onto the scene when they punched, kicked and flipped their way into the final of the TV show, and with over 15 million people in the UK tuning in, Strike achieved their goal of making martial arts entertaining, and inspired many to take up the sport. Now after being approached by Harpers Fitness, they are set to oversee classes for five to 16 year olds, as they turn their passion for coaching kids into a reality. Liam said: “This has been something we have always looked to doing. We have both been involved from a young age and we want to show that this is a great physical work out. It also improves self confidence and discipline in a funky and cool way that makes it fun.” Harpers approached the lads after seeing them teaching students on a DVD and together they are able to roll out a specially structured programme across nine of their sites with an eventual aim of 50. Each routine involves a mixture of martial arts moves at levels suitable to the class. Danny said: “The various moves are taught in a fun way before pulling
Liam Richards and Danny Ball
them together to create fully choreographed performance routines. “We draw inspiration from different styles such as free style karate, kickboxing and capoeira, and we will eventually hope to roll it out on a more extensive scale.” The classes will run for one hour per week with three blocks of 16 weeks per year, and the boys have been training instructors in the leisure centres to teach their sessions. Danny said: “We have trained up 12 instructors so far starting with those that have a martial arts background or are boxercise instructors. “We now have at least one per site who can teach kids what we do by starting with the basic moves and then it is all down to progression – it’s an ongoing thing. “The kids will also be given a teaching DVD so they can practise at home.” Liam added: “We have already been lucky enough to inspire many people to take up martial arts in the last year, and it is a huge reward for us knowing we can raise its image across the country. “We hope people will see these classes as something different. The kids love all the razzamataz – it is something to get them engaged – it is a hook – and it makes it seem that touch more glamourous.”
Liam and Danny in action as Strike
Martin Pattison, right, with fellow director Giovanni Varriccjio.
Martin chops his job to set up martial arts company A HEAD of PE has quit his job and set up his own company to introduce martial arts and self defence classes into schools. Martin Pattison – a chief martial arts instructor – left his role at St Neots Community College to form Street Style Martial Art with fellow director Giovanni Varriccjio, taking on a three day role as a school sports coordinator at Stantonbury, Milton Keynes instead. The company allows teachers to deliver six-week blocks of self defence lessons, within the curriculum. Martin said: “I wanted to go more into this line of work and see how much the kids gained from it. I think martial arts and self defence are extremely beneficial and should be taught to kids from a young age. “We need to engage them in fun filled and motivational activities and this can also be used to help disaf-
fected students, non-participants or those low in self-confidence who rarely participate in traditional sports.” Martin believes implementing self defence into PE lessons from as young as the age of five is beneficial both physically and mentally. “We learn skills such as blocks, kicks and palm strides as well as break away techniques. It all helps improve strength, suppleness, stamina, speed and agility. It is very good for weight loss and as an outlet for other energies. Psychologically it turns kids from followers into leaders and kids learn courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and indomitable spirit – they can transfer all these skills over to school and home life.” He has created lesson plans, resource cards and instructional DVDS for teachers and has even run a course showing them how to deliver it.
Richmond’s sporty kids rocket to 400 By Lyndsey Smith THE number of gifted and talented sporty children in Richmond has rocketed from 16 to 400 in just three years. The figures show that in 2006 only 30 per cent of the 20,000 kids in the borough had taken part in competitive sport. There were only 17 festivals a year and no definitive competition structure in place. Now, a competition manager oversees 73 festivals incorporating 17 different sports, and 15,000 kids have taken part. Gary Palmer, partnership development manager of Whitton School and Sports College, said the difference had been the introduction of Competitive Edge – a scheme designed to increase participation rates in sport by providing new opportunities for young people to take part in competition. “We wanted to develop life long participation through developing links into community sports clubs
and encourage talented youngsters into higher performance sport by establishing performance pathways. “In our first year we held a Superstars competition along with a tag rugby and cricket festival – now we have 17 different sports and we are beginning to outsource now. “For example the Harlequins clubs are running our rugby festivals and the local cricket club run the cricket festivals - every sport has to have a community link.” There are 200 sports leaders in eight secondary schools and 15 in 16 primary schools. Every school runs multi-skills academies. The programme is implemented by the local authority and delivered by the Richmond SSP in conjunction with the Sports Development Team, Sport Richmond and St. Mary’s University College. Initially funded by the LEA, they will now invest £50,000 per year and the Rugby Football Union have agreed a five figure sponsorship deal.
Youngsters meet rugby union’s Jonny Wilkinson at Twickenham as part of the Competitive Edge project
Holiday operator launches Fun and Fitness scheme HOLIDAY park operator Haven has launched a new scheme to encourage children to get into sport from an early age. The Fun and Fitness scheme involves the company donating a chest of equipment to nurseries and pre-schools, to help them meet the requirements of the national curriculum for children to exercise. The chest contains soft foam flyers, scoops and balls, bean bags, hoops, cones, throwdowns and a floor para-
chute. Naomi Woodstock of Haven Holidays said the company decided on the ambitious venture following the success of the Wake and Shake children’s exercise sessions it holds on its holiday parks. Fronting the scheme are British champion athletes Francesca Jones and Keziah Gore, who gave performances of their gymnastic skills at two launch sessions in Birmingham.
Funding paper chain hinders youth workers By Louise Cordell YOUTH workers delivering sports projects spend over a third of their time filling in funding paperwork, a report has revealed. The findings, published by the Audit Commission, show that while sport and leisure activities are important to stop young people from drifting into anti-social behaviour, many projects have problems that threaten their success. Reporter author Emma Belton said: “There is 30 years’ worth of research that shows that projects like these are really effective in engaging young people. “However, workers are being hindered by difficult and wasteful funding systems. Many leaders are spending up to a third of their time on administration, when it would be better spent with the young people involved.” The report suggests that more funding schemes should be pooled to reduce administration costs. Another
problem highlighted is the relatively short periods that funding lasts for – the longest rarely continue after three years and many are far shorter. The report adds there is no guarantee of funding renewal and the risk of closure means that staff may have to start looking for other work or spend time searching for more funding. Emma added: “Either one of these options lead to the young people being neglected and those that we spoke to felt very let down and believed that there was no point engaging in new projects because they might lose those too. “It would be better if funding was longer term – with a minimum limit of closer to five years. “Obviously there will need to be monitoring during this time but it will give the project more secure and make it much more effective in the long run.” What do you think? Send your comments to Louise Cordell at email@example.com.
Mike watches pupils hurdle
Oriental teachings ... By Mary Ferguson PUPILS at a school in Birmingham are being shown how to reach their sporting potential the Oriental way – with training from a former coach of the Japanese Olympic Athletics squad. Mike Oluban, a former member of the Parachute Regiment, has been training and mentoring a small group of young people from Aston Manor School. He has taken a break from being an Olympic coach to work at grass roots level because he believes that with the right support and positive direction young people can fulfill their potential in sport and within themselves. He said: “The teachers at Aston Manor are doing a really good job. My work complements this, and the stu-
dents are benefiting from working with adults who occupy a different role, and have a record of sporting achievement. “The work that we do is sports conditioning, intense athletics training that really tires them out and teaches them how to discipline their bodies. “I have had young people say to me that they have difficulty walking after their training and it's true, we work extremely hard. But we work with them on issues around individual responsibility and moral character.” Mike is working alongside Mike Wynter, a former research scientific officer at Aston University, who is mentoring the students. He talks to them about their aspirations to help them build their self-esteem and reach higher levels of attainment, and encourages them to talk about their experiences.
A programme of sports activities for disabled children and young people has been launched in North Yorkshire. The sessions are running at Bedale Leisure Centre and incorporate recognised Sportability games such as Boccia – a bowls type game suitable for all abilities – as well as football, cricket and athletics. The club will enable young people with a
disability and/or special educational needs to regularly participate in community sport, with a view to joining mainstream community sports clubs. The initiative is managed by representatives from Special Schools Sports, Extended Schools, Hambleton District Council and The Football Association, and is partially funded by The Local Strategic Partnership.
Campaign bids to bring Tchoukball to secondary schools By Louise Cordell A CAMPAIGN has been launched to bring the new sport of Tchoukball into schools to get the country’s children fit. The initiative is being run by the Tchoukball Association of Great Britain which is asking secondary schools and youth clubs from Norfolk, Suffolk and Hampshire to get involved. Andrew St Ledger, campaign project manager, said: “We are trying to target secondary schools and get into as many as possible to deliver teacher training courses. “We need to train teachers up because at the moment we don’t have enough coaches to deliver the sport to all the kids who want to play. “It is about trying something new for a change, not the same old sports, and it is a real leveller because everyone starts at the same point - so it is attractive to both sporty and non sporty kids.” Tchoukball is a fast handball sport which involves nine a side teams trying to score points by rebounding the ball off of a small trampoline
and onto the floor. The game is being promoted an an ideal sport for schools as it can be played in a one hour PE lesson in a sports hall or outside and the fact that it is non-contact means boys and girls can play at the same time. Also, because it is so different to traditional sports it tends to attract pupils who are not usually interested in PE or games. The association's ultimate aim is to get all schools integrating the sport into their curriculum and organising inter-school matches and tournaments. Andrew added: “The main aim for schools is to get kids playing more sport but they also recognise that a lot of kids won’t go for the same old thing. “Young people love trying something different and Tchoukball is very easy to pick up – they can get the hand of the basics in just an hour. “Now we hope to grow and spread to new areas – as we are working towards official recognition status as a sport and increased participation will help with that.”
Games club proves a continuing success A SUCCESSFUL young leaders’ programme in Newcastle has seen an out of hours’ games club introduced. Year five students trained to become young leaders and offered the club as part of their training. Teacher Jennifer Herbert said: “The year five students are now in year six, and 14 of them have stuck with the project, volunteering their own time and showing great dedication and motivation, turning up regularly each week. “The games club has become a huge and continuing success, largely due to the enthusiasm of the KS1 and KS2 children and mutual cooperation.”
Tchoukball is being promoted an an ideal sport for schools
Becki considers effect of exercise on autistic children By Louise Cordell SCHOOLS with autistic pupils should be looking into ways to use exercise to help to control difficult behaviour, according to an alternative curriculum teacher. Becki Coombe has completed a research project looking at the effect of exercise on the behaviour of autistic pupils. She carried out the study while working as PE coordinator at Baskerville School in Harborne, a special school for students with autistic spectrum disorders. She observed six students over the course of a half term, recording their behaviour in lessons for 20 minutes before and after intense exercise. In between each session the pupils rode on an exercise bike for five minutes at a high speed in order to get their heart rate up and get them out of breath. Then, when observing the pupils’ behaviour after the exercise, she counted the frequency of their stereotyped behaviours to see if this was reduced. She added: “The behaviour I was looking for changed depending on the pupil, from shouting or hitting out to rocking. “But the results suggested that just five minutes of exercise reduced these behaviours significantly. “I had heard about other theories that suggested exercise makes children calmer and more focussed and, going on that principle, I wanted to see if it worked in a school environment and specifically with these children with specialist needs.” Becki believes that, even if the method was not used on a regular basis, it could provide a useful ‘time out’ tool for particularly hyperactive pupils and could even work well with mainstream kids, although further research would need to be done in this area. She added: “Some schools struggle to know how to deliver PE to children who are on the
Becki Coombe autistic spectrum. “But I think it is definitely worth increasing this knowledge because there are huge benefits. “At Baskerville School we used extremely repetitive warm ups and cool downs, which would have no attraction for the mainstream kids, but that the autistic pupils found very helpful, which made introducing new skills during the lesson much easier. “It is definitely an understudied area and that is a shame, because I think it is an area where real progress could be made.”
football 15 A school in Leicester improved its outdoor football facilities six years ago and believes the wider benefits have been immense. Lyndsey Smith spoke with assistant principal and director of sport, Doug Keast.
Pitch plan proves a good move for Leicester school CROWN Hills Community College had grass pitches prone to flooding and unplayable ash surfaces making outdoor provision difficult. For a school aiming for a sports specialism it was a problem that had to be rectified. A deal with Goals Soccer Centres in 2003 not only netted them 12 synthetic five-aside pitches but a £100,000 lump sum welcome payment and annual income of £27,500. Doug said: “The initial money helped us raise the capital we required to gain specialism status as well as hardcoring a large previously unplayable surface that was like a dustbowl in summer and porridge in the winter.
“This has given us six netball courts and four tennis courts complete with kick boards for free play – it has totally revitalised our outdoor options. “The annual rental we receive also enhances our sport provision. “It has allowed us to purchase a mini-bus as well as equipment and ICT software.” The money also goes towards transportation costs, courses, employment of outside coaches and part salary payment for a PE technician. “There has been a huge impact on PE lessons. “Whilst we predominantly teach football we also deliver health and fitness lessons and
athletics.” Crown Hills’ partner primary schools also use the facility and Doug says this is giving them a pathway to sport. “We are exposing them to competition at a young age and familiarising them with the school before they move up and it also allows them to meet children from other schools. “Keyham Lodge – an educational behavioural difficulty school – also have access and we have seen these often extremely difficult students display much improved behaviour, and our own learning mentors also use it as a hook for our more disengaged pupils.”
Girls only tournament kicks off ... A FOOTBALL project designed to engage 12 to 18 year olds has rolled out its first girls only tournament. Kickz is run by 39 Premier and Football League clubs and now has over a 100 projects involving more than 20,000 youngsters. Over 50 girls competed in the latest tournament, representing Arsenal, Brentford, Chelsea, Leyton Orient, Millwall and Tottenham Hotspur. Lynette Obika, project officer said: “Some of our projects now engage up to 25 per cent female attendance, which is a great platform for us to build upon. “Girls’ football is getting very popular but there haven’t necessarily been the opportunities there are now. The girls are learning to play with girls from other areas, as well as learning to play with self control. These opportunities are great for breaking down barriers and demonstrating that young people have so much potential.” Football in the Community’s assistant development manager for London Daniel Gill added: “Chelsea Kickz run two projects in this borough and I am now very pleased to be able to offer the girls the same opportunity that the boys have always been so willing to take up.” The project sees coaches work with local police to offer high quality football training and competition, as well as other activities such as music workshops, in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the country.
Merseyside teens go to camp By Lyndsey Smith MERSEYSIDE youngsters were given the opportunity to attend a local FA leadership camp after the cancellation of regional events. The camps aim to offer opportunities for 16 to 18 year olds, training them in a number of areas before using them as long term advocates and volunteers within FA charter standard clubs. Football development officer Anna Farrell explained that regional camps were usually held, with nominations then put forward for nationals, but in the absence of those they held their own. She said: “The basic principles are the same except the regional process is a lot easier in terms of nominations. We usually send youngsters to these camps and then they are put forward for nation-
al camps – this year we have to whittle down our young leaders and put them forward ourselves.” 41 young leaders took part and the 13 to 18 year olds enjoyed a day of practical workshops designed to give them an insight into how they can get involved in developing the grassroots game within their local community. A wide range of aspects of football development were delivered including age appropriate coaching for five to 11 year olds, an introduction to disability football, refereeing, and a fitness, nutrition and healthy lifestyle workshop. Anna said the youngsters found the sessions very enlightening. “Overall it was an excellent day and it was great to see so many young leaders involved. “For most of them it was the first time they had been involved in any-
thing as structured as this and they took to it very well. “It was something different for them. Pupils from Sandfield special school attended and our leaders were involved in delivering a session for them and later they took part in a referees workshop with Premiership referee Chris Foy – it was very educational.” Liverpool FA were assisted throughout the day by the Lancashire Skills Team, and worked in partnership with the Primary Care Trust. Each young leader was provided with football information packs on the next steps they can take to develop their knowledge and Anna added: “They are the future of football in Merseyside and it is important to offer these opportunities and give them direction and support on their development pathway.”
Over a thousand expected at exhibition OVER 1,000 football enthusiasts are expected at this year’s Grassroots Football Live exhibition to be held at Birmingham NEC in June. The three-day event will feature a coaches arena and clinic, skills training for eight to 15 year olds, skills zone – a football theme park – plus panel discussions and debates. The line-up of guests include former Aston Villa and England manager Graham Taylor, Stoke City
manager Tony Pulis, Aston Villa and England international Curtis Davies, former Wolves and West Brom favourite Don Goodman, and ex West Ham striker Tony Cottee. Former England under 21 head coach and current Wycombe boss Peter Taylor will be giving coaching masterclasses, and former footballing legends Paul Merson, Ray Parlour, Steve Claridge and Neville Southall all return for the second year to play for the Grass Roots
Don Goodman Football LIVE Allstars. Sky Sports pundit Chris Kamara will compare the event which takes place between the 12th and 14th June.
Shilton backs campaign I GOAL – it’s in the bag. The Safe Pair of Hands campaign is headed by Redyset brand Ambassador and ex-England goalkeeping legend Peter Shilton, pictured above, and there is no one with more goalkeeping knowledge or experience to endorse the IGOAL. The Redyset roadshow will be visiting various locations including Oxford, Manchester and London giving everyone a chance to come along to the interactive day and see the benefits of IGOAL and how this can improve everyone’s enjoyment of football. These can be used by teachers and coaches at all levels and help to increase teaching time for sport and grow participation in football. Available in seven sizes and the Junior (U10’s 7v7) and Intermediate (9v9 U12’s), the goals are tested and certified to BS8462:2005 and approved for matches by The FA. They are also available via the Football Foundation Goalpost Safety scheme.
Enjoy a footie experience anywhere with this truly portable goalmouth with its own storage bag, preattached net and 2-way pump. All are backed by a one year’s manufacturer’s guarantee. This gives peace of mind that all parts are tested to their limits. For more details please visit the website www.redyset.com or call 0844 800 8530.
Players test out pitches By Lyndsey Smith
Children at a recent academy
Rooney teachers set up academy By Lyndsey Smith A PAIR of Liverpool PE teachers who once taught Wayne Rooney have set up a sports academy to encourage the next generation of football talent. Neil Mingaud and John Williams met whilst working at North Liverpool Academy in Anfield, and have launched Advantage Sports Academy to encourage children to keep active during school holidays. As well as helping the youngsters develop football skills, the sessions are also designed to boost children’s self esteem and life chances – developing aspects of teamwork, leader-
ship, creativity, determination and risk taking. Neil told Future Fitness: “As PE teachers, we see a lot of kids who do well in sport at school but then their participation tails off during the holidays. “We are getting a real mix of children here at the moment but in the future it may be that we open the academy specifically to talented players.” The sessions take place at Liverpool College during school holidays and are open to children aged five to fourteen. Neil added: “We’ve had a couple of
New pitch ‘a tremendous asset’ A FULL-size football pitch will be installed at Sandwich Technology School as part of a £500,000 scheme. The project – part funded by the Football Foundation – will see the artificial turf pitch installed at the school which will also be available
for use by the local community. Matt Hunt, area manager for Freedomleisure, which will manage the facility, said: “This will be a tremendous asset for the local community and will help promote greater participation in team sports.”
kids so far that have really stood out and although we don’t have connections to recommend people to professional clubs, we make sure their parents always know how well they have done.”
FORMER Leicester FC players were on hand to test out new pitches at a local sports centre following a revamp. Gerry Taggart, Steve Walsh, Muzzy Izzet, and Matt Elliott visited Lutterworth Soccer Centre after they swapped grass pitches for four synthetic ones to encourage five-a-side football whatever the time or weather. There has also been the development of a new soccer centre and specialist coaching facility, perimeter and internal fencing, floodlights and equipment. Club owners Terry and Martha Matthews said: "In addition to the new synthetic pitches, we have also created a new club house for Lutterworth FC and five-a-side league users, and on the same site there's a tennis club, dance studio, bowls club and a Montessori school. "It's fast becoming a real focal point for the community and surrounding villages, and we are thrilled with the enthusiasm with which people of all ages have received the new centre."
Back to the age old debate – sport versus physical activity By Jonathan Williams WITH an increased focus on sport and the up and coming UK hosted games in 2012 and 2014, sport, especially youth sport, has been brought to the forefront of media interest. There has been a huge increase in sport funding and provisions for young people – for example the £21 million recently awarded to 75 sports colleges – and it is a real buzz to have young person’s sport considered with such importance, and for facilities to have cash available to increase provisions. Naturally talented young people now have the opportunity to reach their goals of elitism and maybe represent Team GB, and the UK School Games are a great stage for these gifted youngsters. It is a fabulous event that gives them the chance to perform, live and train as athletes. The government are now realising the importance of sport and how it helps all levels of the community, for example, utilising positive sporting role models to motivate young people which has resulted in
improved literacy skills and confidence. However, we can not forget the other end of the spectrum – the young people who are not interested in sport and activity. What about these? Is funding readily available to these groups enabling them to find activities that interest them and help them get involved? We need to ensure that each and every child has the opportunity to have an active life. This idea of variety needs to filter into all aspects of youth activity. Therefore we should not be debating whether a youth gym is more effective than dance mats or football coaching, but have an understanding that a combination of such activities needs to be on offer. We have to provide activity for everyone so each young person will find something they like or maybe even excel in. Who knows, this in itself could contribute to a nation of gold medallists. It is essential we bridge the gap between elitism and grassroots sport in order to keep sports alive.
The grassroots form the base of a sport and helps to catch those young people with natural flare. The pathway from grassroots level to elitist needs to be established strengthened and maintained - an idea SHOKK support and have utilised since year one by always providing our clients with the most effective customer care pathway possible, which is passed on to their young members. The nationwide Change4Life
campaign has highlighted this. Dedicated to getting the nation active and healthy, Change4Life has demonstrated the absolute need to increase provisions to get everyone involved in an active life. So, is it possible to successfully focus on both areas of activity? Yes, it has to be and I feel it is a very narrow minded view to think it is not. Jonathan Williams is CEO of Shokk
Centre makes a splash with swimming programme A LEISURE centre has revised its school swimming programme to encourage kids to continue out of school hours. The newly opened £15m Middleton Arena has introduced a 35-week swimming programme for primary and secondary schools. Link 4 Life operate the site and James Foley, operations manager for sports, said keeping the kids engaged was all important. He added: “20 schools are taking
advantage of the programme which we feel is better than the intensive one we previously offered. “It’s true to say kids can become competent swimmers in a far shorter spell but the 35 weeks now allow us to maintain contact with the schools and pupils, instead of a six week spell and then no more. This can only help us in getting kids swimming out of school as well.” The facility now has a dedicated sports development officer whose
remit is to get kids engaged in physical activity and targeting youngsters that wouldn’t normally come through the doors. The Friday Night Project is already going some way towards making this happen. James said: “We run a successful youth project in conjunction with youth services and the youth inclusion programme. “11 to 16 year olds can come and use the facility on a Friday night where we run classes for them such
as spin and circuit, and they can also use the sports hall for traditional sports led activities. “Of the most deprived areas in the country the Rochdale borough houses three and Middleton is one of them. “We are trying to get some sort of positive engagement with the kids and it’s not about output for us – it’s about getting kids active and giving them somewhere to go, it is not about numbers through the doors.”
Hotel launches new range of youth activities By Lyndsey Smith A HOTEL in Scarborough has launched a new range of youth activities to promote a more active lifestyle among its members and guests. The Crown Spa will provide activity
options for members’ children while they use the gym facilities, with staff being trained to deliver youth focussed workshops. Training was provided by SHOKK, and Kyle Wood, spokesman for the hotel said: “The classes we have run
so far have proved extremely popular, with parents very keen for their child to join in. “We have also had local schools requesting the staff to present the workshops during PE lessons and the scheme has received so much posi-
tive response it is being wheeled out to the local community.” The scheme is available to young people ages 5 to 16 and the hotel plan to increase the number of classes available and offer activity programmes during school holidays.
New system launched at sports conference DnD Software Services and Training were delighted to launch their new PE Assessment Management System(PEAMS) at the Sports colleges conference held during 11/12 Feb 09. PEAMS was designed to record Key Stage 3 and 4 PE Assessments with the busy PE teacher in mind. Gone is the time when data analysis skills were needed to see find out if the PE department was meeting its goals, there’s loads of tables and charts created in PEAMS already! It is a breeze to identify gifted and talented pupils, college/school v
department targets and pupil appraisals information for parents’ evenings. PEAMS really is a powerful curriculum modelling tool. For more information telephone 01673 861914 or visit our website: www.dndsoftwareservices.co.uk
Seven years ago Castle Community College was in special measures and threatened with closure. Now a specialist sports college, it is ranked seventh in the country providing over 60 extracurricular fixtures a week. Louise Cordell reports.
Kent college bounces back through sport CASTLE Community College in Kent aims to provide its pupils with the best sporting opportunities and recently was named Specialist Sports College of the Year at the Telegraph School Sport Matters Awards. The school’s pupils now take part in activities from the traditional football and netball to the more adventurous fencing and trampolining and their involvement has led to a marked improvement in results throughout the curriculum. The most noticeable impact has been the results in the PE department at GCSE level, which increased from 11 per cent A* to C in 2006 to 100 per cent in 2007. Simon Smith, assistant principal, said: “We feel that becoming a sports college is one of the best things we ever did. “Having a ‘can-do’ attitude makes such a difference – it just takes one or two small thing to change in your favour and that completely changes your point of view and suddenly so many other things become possible. It just shows that a couple of small changes can snowball into something huge.” The school became a specialist sports college in September 2005 and has since been called ‘outstanding’ in an Ofsted inspection in 2007. It is also the hub school for the Dover District School Sport Partnership, which consists of nine secondary schools and 42 primary schools, making it one of the largest in the country. Castle is one of the country’s first advanced extended schools and provides activities for pupils from eight in the morning until six at night. The clubs that are currently the most popular are the ones requested by the children, like fencing and
trampolining. The school is also in the process of bringing in new games, like dodgeball. Simon added: “All the things that have been introduced have led to a big improvement for kids and staff. “However, the pupils’ self esteem has also improved and the clubs also give them a great opportunity to build relationships with the staff which they can then take back to the classroom. “This leads to improved behaviour, communication and achievement in that environment too. “There has also been a rise in good attendance, as the kids turn up for the breakfast clubs that they enjoy and because they are already engaged and focussed they are ready for learning by the time lessons start.” The college has introduced a document which highlights what sports lessons in the school worked and what improvements needed to be made. Simon added: “We sat down as a department and wanted to decide what high quality PE actually was. “We came up with a lot of points for both teachers and pupils to follow, including showing commitment and enthusiasm for the subject, for example by pupils remembering their kit, having confidence in what is being taught and aiming to show development in each lesson. “It is all part of trying to produce a holistic approach to PE, sports and health – for both pupils and teachers and to give everyone an idea of what is expected of them. “Everyone finds that useful and it means there are clear goals for everyone to work to – leading to a sense of achievement and wanting to achieve more.”
The Bend It Like Birmingham project
Bend it Like Birmingham project tackles obesity through sport By Mary Ferguson A NEW initiative designed to tackle obesity and increase youth participation in sport has been launched in Birmingham. The Housing and Sport Network has been created by the city’s Ashram Housing Association and aims to bring together the housing and sport sectors. It will enable sporting groups and housing associations across the country to work in partnership to increase participation in sport ahead of the 2012 Olympics. The national network – the first of its kind in the country – will also target obesity, anti-social behaviour and promote community cohesion. Edward Evans, who is leading the network, told Future Fitness: “Housing associations do a lot to try and improve the health of people on their estates but have rarely worked with the sporting sector to do that. “Their aim is to increase participation in sport but they often fail to access youngsters in disadvantaged communities. So because we have direct access to these people, it’s a mutually beneficial partnership.” The introduction of the network follows the success of the ‘Bend it like Birmingham’ sport inclusion project, a partnership between Ashram, four other housing associations and Birmingham City Council. The project saw more than 1,000 youngsters from some of the most disadvantaged wards in Birmingham being given an opportunity to get involved in a selection of sports.
The Housing and Sport Network will be launched officially at the House Of Commons in April and Edward said they are currently in discussions with Sport England to become key sponsors for the initiative. He added: “We’ve had a good response from the sports sector so far but these things require momentum to really get them going. “We need more inroads into the sporting community and that is something the network is trying to achieve.”
Teacher claims special children may be missing out By Mary Ferguson CHILDREN with learning difficulties may be missing out on sporting opportunities because of a lack of understanding of their needs, it has been claimed. Neil Mears, a PE teacher at Surreybased special needs school St. Philips, also told Future Fitness it’s not fair to expect special needs children to compete against pupils from mainstream schools. He said: “At the moment there are just not that many opportunities for
special needs kids to get involved with sport. “Some of our pupils have attempted to join local clubs but have been unable to have their needs met, even if that just means awareness and understanding. I’ve never heard of a club point blank refusing a special needs child but sometimes the suitability of the coaching can be questioned – for example some kids may be told to get on with stuff that they can’t actually do.” St. Philips was recently asked to compete in an indoor rowing com-
petition but had to turn it down, deeming it unfair for their pupils to be competing against a mainstream school. “One of the main challenges is making competitions fair and providing a level playing field for all the children. But part of that problem lays with the categorisation of what ‘special needs’ actually is, as it’s an umbrella term for lots of conditions.” St. Philips is part of the Surrey Special Schools Sports Association (SSSA) , a network of 40 special
schools in and around Surrey. Each year they put on 15 events where the 40 schools compete against each other. In the SSSA the categories are split into moderate, severe, emotional and behavioural disorders and downs syndrome. Neil added: “The SSSA is great and we have had some very good experiences with other clubs too. But the drive to integrate special needs children into mainstream schools means their needs often cannot be catered for when it comes to school sport.”
School Sports Colleges conference 21 Leading The Change was the theme for the Youth Sports Trust annual school sports colleges conference held in Telford. Lyndsey Smith reports
Sports chief believes sport is a powerful vehicle for change CHIEF executive of the YST, Steve Grainger, is unstinting in his belief that sport is a powerful vehicle for change. He believes opportunities to use sport to lead change in schools are endless, and whilst there has been a significant change in education, and in elite and school sport in recent years, one thing is certain – there is a lot more to come. Steve said: “Using sport to lead change in curriculum design, in maximising the school workforce, in changing school ethos and in extending our schools to work with the community are just a few examples of how this is happening. “In the 21st century change is inevitable – it is our ability to maximise opportunities and lever it to bring benefit to young people that is most important. “This will remain our biggest chal-
lenge and at the same time our biggest opportunity – success for our young people will not simply be as a result of us reacting to change or implementing it but in our ability to lead that change.” Steve revealed that the country’s network of 480 specialist sports colleges had helped encourage nine out of ten children to be doing at least two hours of high quality PE and sport a week. Five bands – coaching, competition, school/club links, young people leading the way and innovation and delivery have been put in place which aim to use the legacy of 2012 to achieve different objectives. Steve said: “Each division has a strategic aim. Coaching for example will use 2012 to pioneer an environment where coaches are an integral part of the school workforce, and competition will use 2012 to mod-
ernise competitive school sport, presenting and structuring it differently and engaging different youngsters.” He added that school/club links would develop allowing young people to make the transition because of the system not despite the system, young people leading the way would create an environment where young people deliver and develop change not just receive it, and innovation in delivery to inspire those who say no to sport to say yes. The conference welcomed 1,500 delegates who discussed the work they were doing in delivering the national PE and Sport Strategy for Young People and the aim to offer all young people access to five hours of sport a week. Steve added: “We need to generate systematic change and it’s about leadership and innovation, thinking laterally and using sport to push the boundaries.”
Sports colleges praised for leading the way SCHOOL sports colleges have been praised for leading the way in increasing the number of children getting two hours of PE and sport every week. Secretary of state for children Ed Balls told a School Sports Conference in Telford that 250,000 more five to 16 year olds were tak-
ing part in physical activity than this time last year; 375,000 more were playing competitive sport against other schools and 500,000 more playing house and league matches. He added: “It has been a remarkable year for sports colleges, PE and school sport, as they
were once again the fastest improving specialist school network in terms of GCSE passes. “Year on year we are now seeing how PE and sport is being used to improve standards in a range of subjects while nine out of ten pupils are doing at least two
hours high quality PE or sport a week. “Our ambition is to turn best practice into common practice and I know that sports colleges will help us get there and together we can inspire others with National Sport Week this summer.”
Bid to bowl over pupils with cricket project By Lyndsey Smith
Ed Balls addresses the conference
A PROJECT which aims to encourage more schools to take up cricket was launched at the Sports Colleges Conference last month. The English Cricket Board has teamed up with the government on the project which aims to push cricket as a competitive sport. Schools secretary Ed Balls told the conference: “Cricket is part of our national identity. “Not only does it have obvious health benefits for young people, it also develops them in other ways – co-ordination, balance, team work, tactics, and remaining calm under pressure.
“The first challenge will be to extend the reach of cricket in schools and clubs by focusing on getting more girls involved, small sided games or indoor tournaments, and getting more young people involved as officials, umpires or scorers.” The English Cricket Board has agreed to offer an incentive to the two schools who come up with the best ideas for promoting cricket – each will get a set of 15 tickets for a match in the ICC World Twenty20 at Lord’s. Pete Ackerley, head of development at the ECB said statistics show a 37 per cent increase in school participation for years five, six and seven.
A North East school sports coordinator’s dance initiative has paved the way for some of her girls to audition for Britain’s Got Talent. Lyndsey Smith found out more.
Dance initiative girls in television bid LISA Burdis of the Sacred Heart Girls High School and St Mary’s RC comprehensive set up a partnership with the Jenny Gallagher Performance Academy in September to introduce street dance and cheer as an alternative after-school activity. Six months on, she says it is one of the most successful ideas she has implemented in her six years in the post. “Four of the girls are now part of a street cheer dance troupe and have received training from top dancers Laura-Anne Gill and Kymberlee Jay who count Madonna, Gwen Stefani and Kanye West amongst the people they have worked with. “They are now part of Fusion who are training hard in a bid to appear on Britain’s Got Talent and for the girls to have become involved in such a short space of time is amazing. They have worked really hard with two of them having also qualified as assistant leaders.” Lisa – named school sports co-ordinator of the year for the Newcastle SSP – returned to England following an eight-year post in a British school in Saudi Arabia and she said the change in sporting provision from when she started has been immense. “I worked with nursery kids through to year nine. Within school it was very similar to here but we had a lot of transient students – those that were just there for a year or two – so it was difficult to have any continuation. “The major differences were you could teach without discipline – the kids were so well behaved it was a treat – and all the children were taught PE by specialised staff, something that only happens here with middle and secondary school children. “Swimming was the major sport but it was very
traditional with netball, football and hockey – the same as when I returned here. “At that point the role of SSco was fairly new and we had lots of training and support, and now six years on we are offering new and innovative activities such as the use of a junior gym, dance mats or urban surfing to complement the traditional sports we still have on offer.” Lisa has been instrumental in developing a whole range of new initiatives. Skipping workshops are delivered in primary schools and they have also have a lead ambassador at the school who supports young ambassadors in local secondary schools who will deliver a four-week programme to year three. Young leaders are also in place with volunteers from year six running a key stage one games club at one primary school. One initiative Lisa is very proud of is the success of Living 4 Sport – a scheme designed to encourage a spirit of adventure and creativity by using sport to re-engage 11 to 16 year olds in school life. “We had a group of girls that were very disaffected, very disengaged and basically very challenging. “I became aware of the project and saw it was designed to help schools meet behaviour improvement targets, whilst keeping students fit and active. It sounded perfect and I was keen to give to give a it a go.” Lisa said although progress was slow they are now at a point where the girls are keen to engage. “We introduced activities such as rockclimbing and abseiling as well as weekly visits to a fitness suite and the kids loved it – they are like a different group of individuals a year on.”
Lisa with youngsters
School introduces band system for less sporty pupils By Lyndsey Smith A SPORTS league especially for children who don’t take part in sports has been set up by a school near Winchester. Perrins School and Community College have implemented a ‘three league’ after PE teachers said it was the same old faces taking part. Students were split into three groups – sporty, average and no activity at all – and the three league was formed to get the last group active. Tom Shepherd, PE teacher and head of rugby, said although take up was initially slow, it is improving. He added: “It was an unfortunate fact that there were groups of kids with the names we all knew while the others were virtually anonymous. “We had to rectify this so brought in the band system identifying the three leaguers, kids that had a real aversion to sport. “It can be so demoralising when you have more talented kids dribbling round you or shooting past you and this now gives them a chance to enjoy playing with kids at the same level.” Three league lunchtime clubs now run in football and basketball, alongside another initiative to help re engage students – taking certain
pupils out of other curriculum subjects and offering them sports coaching. Tom explained that although this could never happen for subjects such as English, maths and IT, peripheral subjects such as French were making way. He said: “We had groups of kids in years seven, eight and nine who weren’t particularly confident and were disaffected when it came to learning. “We decided to offer an alternative. For example we take ten or twelve students out of French once a week and we have a fencing coach that comes in. “At the end of the day these kids are never going to take French as an option in year nine so we attempt to engage them in something else. “We use sports to try and at least improve their behaviour and get them engaging over a broader area – getting them motivated and enjoying themselves whilst getting them physically active. “If we can re engage them in PE then other areas of the curriculum and general school life should benefit.”
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