Sport and fitness for today’s youth
February 2009 £2.75
LazyTown creator in ‘bible’ plan By Nicola Hyde THE man credited with finally making kids’ fitness trendy is planning to launch a ‘bible’ to offer schools inspiration to get kids active and moving. Magnus Scheving – the creator of the global LazyTown TV phenomenon – is working with training company FitKid to draw up a package that will offer teachers and coaches an insight into the lessons learned in the 20 years he has spent developing the show. The show – broadcast in over 100 countries – sees super-hero Sportacus push LazyTown residents to get active. It has so far spawned a chart-topping single and live stage show – and now Magnus is working with FitKid to launch a 60-minute themed fitness session. In a rare interview, Magnus told Future Fitness: “I don’t believe that kids should exercise. They should do it through play but it is how you do it that is important. You need to give them games to play in a safe environment and figure out how to make them move. We are now working on a bible, a package that I hope is ready by 2010 that will
give people ideas.” LazyTown sessions will incorporate the music and dances in the show along with equipment such as parachutes, space hoppers and balls. But to Magnus, the challenge is coming up with the ideas that get the kids to start moving in the first place. He said: “Like our Bing Bang song, there is set choreography but we can incorporate games in there where the children have to spell out the words by doing different exercises, flying around like a bee for the letter ‘b’, running through a circuit to pick up the letters. There are lots of ideas you can use. We have to make schools like a LazyTown theme park – the children would not be standing in line they would be jumping or doing something while waiting. “An idea like LazyTown is one per cent genius and 99 per cent hard work and the most important thing I would say is that you have to be organised. I did an enormous amount of homework before I even started. I visited 50 countries, spoke to 500,000 kids and parents and a made sure I spoke to at least five to 50,000 kids a month.”
Experts look at video game benefit
Magnus Scheving takes the lead role in Lazy Town as Sportacus. He is in the UK piloting a new franchise of kids’ fitness classes and has just returned from a telethon in Mexico which was broadcast to 50million people.
SPORTS science experts at the University of Derby are embarking on research to see if video games could help tackle obesity. Dr Michael Duncan, senior lecturer in exercise physiology, is aiming to get primary schools involved in the study which will aim to see if young children can lose weight or improve their health by using the Nintendo Wii. He said: “There is a lot of discussion that video games are bad for your health and we hope this research will determine if playing on this equipment could actually have physical benefits for children.” Trials will see a six-week period where half of a participating school’s pupils will play on the Wii game during their lunch hour and half of them will take part in their normal lunch hour activities. They will wear a tri-axial accelerometer, a device which monitors energy use. The project has received £5,000 funding and spokesman, Kim Ramessa, added: “This research project was particularly creative in encouraging children to be active in a fun and engaging manner.”
£600k paid out over school accident claims By Lyndsey Smith MORE than £600,000 has been paid out in compensation and legal costs for trips, slips or bangs at schools in Wales during the last three years – including injuries in PE lessons. Slips in a school gymnasium, cuts from falling on the astroturf, injuries in a rugby match and dental injuries whilst playing sport are just some of the claims that have led to schools having to fork out thousands, Plaid Cymru discovered. The biggest single pay-out for a PE injury was in Blaenau Gwent where £33,420 was paid after a pupil slipped in the school gymnasium while exercising. The figures have prompted a call from Chris Franks, South Wales
Central Plaid AM, for assurances from all local authorities that they have proper safety inspections in place to help reduce potential claims in the future. He said: “I would welcome assurances on this issue as if they keep full records of safety inspections they are able to properly defend questionable claims. “It is strange that some local authorities have incurred minimal costs. Some areas are far higher than others and in some there have been no pay outs – why is that the case? “Are standards higher in these schools or do they have clumsier kids? Or is it the simple fact that they are just easy targets?” Mr Franks said it was up to the local education authority to make sure
premises were safe, but believes the levels of pay outs is a reflection of the arrival of no win, no fee lawyers. “I do think schools should have a better inspection regime and evidence of this being done correctly is so important. But how can you legislate for injuries in PE lessons? It is so easy to trip and fall and it’s no one’s fault. In the United States claiming for compensation is so much part of the culture, and that trait has clearly spread to the UK. “In the past those who suffered minor injuries might have just dusted themselves off and carried on, and although I believe those who suffer serious injury because of negligence should be compensated, we should also be looking at protecting schools against ridiculous claims.”
Winter welly walks make a splash Page 20
Fergie helps new sports site kick off in style Page 23
Festival celebrates martial arts A MARTIAL arts festival just for secondary schools has been held to promote activity. Mayfield School Sport Partnership hosted the first-ever event which was attended by students from nine schools and Redbridge College, who had all been given martial arts training throughout 2008. Martin Lowe, school sports coordinator, said: “The aim of this festival is to celebrate a type of physical activity that is often overlooked by schools. Not only do martial arts promote respect, discipline and the development of a healthy mind and body, but it is also an excellent way for schools
YMCAfit Barking and Dagenham Kids’ Street Dance Project
Strictly Street Dance opportunity YOUNG people in Camden are being given the chance to become qualified street dance instructors for free. YMCAfit has launched the Strictly Street Dance project, which is open to anyone aged 16 to 18 and offers a level two qualification. Denise Page, YMCAfit curriculum director, said: “By giving young people in the borough the chance to gain a professional qualification we can help them build a rewarding career in
the fitness industry as well as improving the health and well being of children. Getting kids involved in fun fitness activities from an early age is one of the best investments we can make to help tackle the growing problem of childhood obesity.” The Strictly Street Dance course will be starting this month at One KX, the Central YMCA’s activity centre for health and creative arts in King’s Cross, London.
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to increase the number of pupils accessing five hours of PE per week. “The children also have many positive role models, for example the recent Olympic successes in Tae Kwon Do and Judo.” Pupils performed their own routines at the two-hour festival, displaying what they had been learning since the school term started in September. Students from Ilford Ursuline High School demonstrated the art of Filipino sticks while children from Woodbridge High School showcased their Tae Kwon Do skills. Other displays included Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Thai boxing and fencing.
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Schools urged to take plunge By Lyndsey Smith
There are calls for more schools to offer aquacise
TEACHERS are being encouraged to add aquacise sessions to their PE curriculum to encourage kids to be active. Natalie Sidwell, the development officer for aquacise for the Swimming Teachers Association, said many successful schemes were already being run at leisure centres – but she believes more schools should offer it to those children between 11 and 16. She said: “It can be introduced into schools on a weekly basis as an optional activity and modules can be developed to increase the kids’ awareness of their own bodies, function and benefits from exercise, and the benefits of using water to improve their body shape and fitness levels.” Natalie says there are many ways to make the course appealing to youngsters despite the obstacles of getting someone with a weight problem into a swimsuit. “Once in the water they feel more at ease with their body and achieve more from the workout because no one can see their body bouncing around as on land.
“Aquacise can appeal to varied age groups by making it sport or dance related, and working around the latest music when possible. “We need to work with schools to identify those who need help most but be aware of the body conscious children.” Training courses for higher education PE teachers are available so they can deliver aquacise and the benefits of exercise in the water are huge says Natalie. “There is a reduced impact on joints that allows those carrying excess weight to achieve more in the water than they could sustain on land, and the hydrostatic pressure reduces demand on the heart. “Also the cooling effects of the water help the participant work for longer periods of time and the water provides resistance to improve muscle tone and condition. The buoyant effects assist with building water confidence and challenge the kids’ core strength and balance. “Aquacise can offer an alternative for those children who either feel embarrassed, or who physically cannot cope with mainstream PE demands.”
Ipswich sports development gets a boost A £3.5m sports development in Ipswich has been given a boost following a Sport England award of £500,000. Suffolk New College is to build oncampus facilities which will will include a four court sports hall and fitness gym, and students will be able to take part in sports such as trampolining, netball, judo, kick boxing, archery, basketball and five-a-side football. Dave Muller, principal of the college, that has over a 1,000 16 to 19 year old students, said: “This is an exciting project and it is critical in terms of supporting the health and fitness of young people in south Suffolk, students and the local community. “Work on the development will get underway in July and once completed it will increase sports participation in the area and help to sustain local clubs, coaches and volunteers.” As many as 1.5m visits are expected to be made to the centre over the next 21 years, and Chris Perks, Sport England’s East of England director added: “Providing quality sports facilities is important if we are going to be successful in getting 300,000 college and university students taking part in more regular sport by 2013. “This is a high priority for us as we work to cut the number of young people dropping out of sport between the ages of 16 and 18.”
Girls from the GEMS project in the cardio gym at Ponds Forge International Sports Centre
Funding grant for leisure operator in recognition of its commitment A FUNDING grant has been awarded to a leisure operator in recognition of its commitment to improving out-ofschool sporting activities for young people. Sheffield International Venues has received a £1,000 bronze award from the Norwich Union Community Sports Fund to extend its programme for teenage girls. The gym works with Sheffield City Council and School Sports Partnerships on the GEMS Teen Girls curriculum based project which was
established in 2005. Spokesman Niki Connolly said the programmes started again in September and now the girls will be asked what they would like to spend the cash on. She added: “Only 15 per cent of females are regularly active in Sheffield and there are fewer women and girls in Yorkshire taking part in physical exercise than anywhere else in England. “We are committed to helping increase the number of leisure
opportunities available to teenage girls outside of school and encouraging them to become a fitness or sports club member for life.” More than 500 year nine to 11 girls have gone through the project in place of their usual PE lessons. It offers opportunities for them to become coaches, leaders and mentors and hosts an annual teen girl health and fitness conferences, which include workshops on healthy eating, activity taster classes and guest speakers.
05 Cyber Coach
Birmingham youngsters show off their talents YOUNGSTERS in Birmingham were given the chance to show off their sporting talent thanks to a partnership between The Youth Sport Trust and the Hilton in the Community Foundation. Students from Wilson Stuart School and Sports College organised Whizability, a sports festival involving pupils with a range of disabilities and needs, including special education needs and physical disabilities. The day involved year four pupils from Great Barr, New Oscott, Hollyfield and Wilson Stuart primary schools, who took part in a range of activities including bench hockey, curling and seated volley ball. Patrick Stapleton, Hilton Birmingham area general manager, said: “Sport has so many benefits and this festival helps children to enjoy them to the full. “It is great fun and helps children build a healthy lifestyle, enhance team building and social skills, and encourages these special youngsters towards greater independence.” The festival is one of 20 sponsored by the foundation following fundraising at hotels around the country, and Mark Botterill, national manager of the YST, added: “This festival is a fantastic way of providing the young people of Birmingham and surrounding areas, disabled and non-disabled, the opportunity to take part in a wide range of sporting activity, as participants or event volunteers.”
Sandra bids to forge links with schools By Christina Eccles A GYM owner has sent a mailshot to every school in her area inviting girls to use her fitness studio to entice them to get fit. Sandra McGugan, owner of ladies-only gym Ladybird Fitness in Wigan, said more gyms should take the initiative when it comes to forging links with schools. Two schools have already taken her up on the offer and the students come in every Friday, paying £2 each for the session. She said: “We wrote to the schools and said we didn’t have classes on that day and could take 20 girls. We also do a mailshot a couple of times per year to the local schools. “Their PE teacher comes in with them and they go upstairs in the studio to do classes – the teacher says they love it.” Sandra believes that as well as giving the girls the chance to feel grown up and try exercise classes – which they may not have been able to access themselves – letting them use the facilities can also benefit the gym. She added: “One of the other reasons why we are doing this is so that the girls could tell their families and raise awareness of the club but I’m not sure yet if this has had a knock-on effect.” The gym has recently celebrated its second birthday and has about 330 members – with Sandra hoping to increase this to 400 this year. What do you think? Would you like to take your PE classes in a local gym? Send your thoughts to Lyndsey Smith, 47 Church Street, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, S70 2AS or email her on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Group programmes may combat obesity GROUP-based treatment programmes may effectively combat childhood obesity in rural communities, according to a new University of Florida study. Children who participated in one of two group programmes – familybased or parent-only – were less overweight compared with children Sheffield MP Clive Betts (front left) officially opens the Playing for Success centre with the help of EIS Sheffield and PfS staff, Herol ‘Bomber’ Graham and some of the youngsters who have taken part in the programme.
Kids get sporting chance SEVEN schools across Sheffield have been sending students for sessions at the English Institute of Sport following the opening of the newest Playing for Success centre. Kids from primary, junior and community primary schools have been learning video and audio editing, digital photography, music making, animation and kit design – all using sports as a theme. Sheffield Attercliffe MP Clive Betts said: “To be given the chance to engage in sport and learn at the same time is a wonderful opportunity. “Sport creates an environment
Two schools have already taken up the Ladybird Fitness offer
where children will be switched on to learn across a whole range of disciplines and subjects and for them to be able to share the same facilities as elite athletes is absolutely great. It’s a marvelous opportunity.” The out-of-school-hours study programme aims to raise standards in literacy, numeracy and ICT and increase self esteem through sport. The scheme - aimed at those between ten and 14 - was launched by former European boxing champion Herol ‘Bomber’ Graham, and Sheffield Steelers wheelchair basketball players.
in a control group. David Janicke, lead investigator and assistant professor, said: “There is a pressing need for programmes that help rural families adopt healthy dietary habits and increase physical activity. “Making big changes in their diets could lead to unhealthy habits like
skipping meals. “In the group setting families can talk with each other about barriers to making changes, offer suggestions and hold each other accountable.” The study involved 93 children, aged eight to 14, and their parents from four rural counties.
Revamped gym opens facilities for PE lessons A PETERBOROUGH gym that has completed a £280,000 refurbishment has opened the facilities to a school to use for PE lessons. The Planet Pulse Gym has teamed up with Ken Stimpson Community School in Werrington to allow students to use the new gym as part of their PE lessons. Head of PE Simon Walls said: “The gym opening coincided with the start of our new term so we came to an agreement and it works very well. “It is dual purpose and the centre knows what days and times we are likely to want it. “We limit the numbers we take so we have no problems.” At the school, all students from key stage four all pupils have to take a fitness block where they can chose what type of activity they want to take part in. Simon added: “The kids have a choice in terms of whether they take
part in traditional sport such as football and netball, or gymnastics, dance and such. “The fitness block is compulsory but since the completion of the new gym the kids can’t wait to do it. “Now it is an all singing all dancing facility they love it.” The gym was kitted out with the latest fitness equipment, some of which includes built in Freeview to watch on monitors with headsets. This latest upgrade follows the refurbishment of changing facilities, sports hall and squash courts and the gym is now spread over two floors. Simon said: “It has a far more professional finish now and we have the use of treadmills, cross trainers, bikes, rowers and step machines. “The secondary age kids can also use the free weights section which is one of the best in the area.”
Youth plans crippled by lack of funding By Lyndsey Smith AN INDEPENDENT gym owner says his attempt to help youngsters get fit and active is being crippled by lack of funding. Steve Goodwin has owned the Chester Boxers and Bodybuilders gym for ten years and he operates it as a charity. But Steve and business partner Peter Buckley claim they are finding it difficult to get any outside help – despite the fact they even offer training courses in fitness to help qualify the unemployed. Steve said: “It is surprising how little assistance in terms of funding is accessible to us. We are trying our best to help anyone that needs us but no one appears to be willing to help us. We have linked up with YMCA and we are able to offer courses with a free diploma at the end of them. People can come and learn from us, learn about boxing, fitness, nutrition and health and come out with a qualification at the end of it. “The problem lies in that we aren’t an expensive gym, we only have one employee, and the rest are volunteers. Our rent is high, we have to pay all our own insurance, and all
we are asking for is a little bit of help.” Steve accepts children from schools on work experience, allowing them to progress onto boxing training, health and nutrition training and bodybuilding. But his appeal for funding to help pay for insurance for them was unsuccessful. He said: “We’ve accepted kids from The Prince’s Trust who – to be quite frank – could soon end up in prison, but when it comes to the subject of financial help from them it’s a closed book.” The National Lottery also refused grant applications – claiming it had to be a very special case to access funding. Steve added: “I think we are doing something really special. We help disadvantaged kids and adults ranging from children with learning difficulties or those who have suffered abuse, to challenging teenagers, ADHD sufferers, recovering alcoholics and drug addicts. “We also link up with the probation service and have offenders in here doing their community hours. “It’s about working towards breaking down the barriers between the establishment and disaffected community, and helping get people back on track.”
A children’s activity programme which works on a points system has been given a £10,000 boost. Fenland District Council was given £5,000 of Sportsmatch funding to run activity programme Enerjetix after Precor donated £5,000 to allow the project to be run across three leisure centres. More than 60 children have already signed up to the scheme, which motivates children to use gym equipment through a rewards and points structure. The programme - for 11 to 13year-olds - is run over eight
weeks and incorporates catching, throwing, running, jumping, balance and co-ordination. Charts are used to track progress based on time spent exercising. At the end of the course points earned can be swapped for prizes. Staff at the Manor Leisure Centre, the George Campbell Centre and the Hudson Leisure Centre, wrote to existing members they knew had children in the target age group as well as in-site advertising. 61 children signed up for the first course, which ran October to December, and more are planned for April.
Scaling the heights for charity STAFF at a PE teacher recruitment company have scaled the equivalent of Mount Everest for the British Heart Foundation’s Stair Climb Challenge. Workers at PE Recruitment, based in Stanstead Abbotts, work in a building with 66 steps and a team of four made 440 trips up and down to complete the task. Jon Pettit, ex-PE teacher and managing director, said: “We had a ready made mountain just outside our office door and once you’ve got the fitness but it’s hard to shake – especially when you have come in from teaching PE on the sports field to running your own company at a desk. “We are passionate about getting children into sport by recruiting really good teachers for schools – if teachers are passionate about their subject the kids catch it too.” The year the company has also gained the DCSF Quality Mark Award for the recruitment of PE teachers for schools throughout the country.
‘Computer games can improve fitness ...’ By Mary Ferguson A CHILDREN’S lecture on how computer games can improve fitness has been held at the University of East Anglia. Environmental Sciences lecturer Dr Andy Jones, who has carried out research on the impact of computer games on the nation's health, spoke to 400 children aged eight to 14 and their parents about how consoles can be used as part of a healthy lifestyle. During the lecture, he conducted an experiment with two young volunteers, to prove his point that the games can actually be good for fitness. One child was asked to play on a Wii console while the other was asked to sit and watch a DVD, and their resting heart rates were tested after the activity. Dr Jones told Future Fitness: “What was interesting was that we placed a bowl of crisps next to each boy and said they could snack on them whenever they wanted. “The child playing on the Wii didn’t touch his because he was so busy with his hands, whereas the one watching the TV snacked constantly.” He added: “Computer games are often criticised for contributing to childhood obesity but in fact – in the case of the Wii – they could even act as a way of introducing children to sports in real life.”
Above: Research by Dr Jones shows computer games can improve fitness. Right: Dr Andy Jones
Unfit children set to benefit from scheme By Louise Cordell UNFIT children in London are set to benefit from a new YMCA scheme that will provide more qualified kids’ fitness instructors. A project to be launched in February is targeting unemployed women from the Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Somali and Asian community and giving them the opportunity to become fully qualified for free. Rebecca Bridges, YMCAfit project manager, said: “With spiralling obesity rates for both adults and children in Britain, the need to develop an army of health professionals to help improve the health of our nation has never been greater.” The course is being run for the first time in Tower Hamlets and Newham to tackle the lack of women, particularly from minority ethnic communities, currently working in the fitness industry.
It also aims to improve their own exercise participation and increase their chances of gaining employment. The YMCA Kids Fitness, Play and Games qualification teaches instructors to plan and teach exercise classes for children as well as how to monitor changes to their fitness levels and mental well being. Once qualified, instructors can teach child health and fitness classes in community centres as well as after school, holiday and breakfast clubs. Rebecca added: “This is a golden opportunity for these women to realise their professional goals and become fully qualified fitness instructors. “We are offering them the chance to gain a nationally recognised qualification, in a little over two months, for free. Not only will they have support from their own mentor but once qualified they will also get help to find a job in health and fitness.”
YMCA instructors look at details of the new YMCA scheme
Support for award THE Diploma in Sport and Active Leisure and the Youth Sport Trust has announced its support for the Special Schools Innovation Award. The annual award recognises special schools' links with businesses and organisations in the community, with employers and businesses playing a significant role in partnerships with special schools. Sue Hook, SkillsActive project lead for the Diploma said: “This award provides special schools with the opportunity to demonstrate the role employers play in education. Continued support from employers is fundamental for qualifications such as the Diploma in Sport and Active Leisure, particularly with the applied learning aspect.”
WoW for pupils PUPILS from primary schools in Gateshead celebrated winning a national competition by taking part in a range of activities at The Angel of the North. The Angel was depicted on the school’s WoW (Walk Once a Week) badge, a scheme run by national charity Living Streets to help schools and local authorities encourage their children to walk to school. Children get a badge when they walk at least once a week for a month and there is a national competition held to decide the winning design of a badge. The WoW scheme encourages around two million children to try to spread the walking habit, and teachers often report that pupils who walk to school in the morning are more attentive in class.
Pictured, from left, runner-up Harriet Ware, Miss Jellis, runner-up Millie Swinburne, Janice Foster (communications manager at Sport England) and winner Cara Riley
Arty youngsters reflect on their sporting moments By Lyndsey Smith
presented to judges.
Sports Awards ceremony.
KIDS in the North East have been recognised for their artistic talent in a competition linking sport and culture.
Cara Riley, five, from Cotherstone primary, Barnard Castle was overall winner with runners-up Harriet Ware, seven and Millie Swinburne, four, from the same school.
Judith Rasmussen, regional director with Sport England North East, said: “The response was tremendous and it’s been a great opportunity for children to illustrate how they perceive sport and a chance to reflect on their greatest sporting moments.”
The ‘Sport and Me’ drawing competition was open to children 11 and under and over 40 works of art were
All three pupils had their winning drawings displayed at the North East
Coach Glenn Smith, second left with some of the youngsters he trains
Boxing and kickboxing lessons for kids are being offered at a gym in Coventry in a bid to boost confidence and self-esteem. Lyndsey Smith reports.
Youngsters box clever to boost confidence THE Red Corner gym, established in 2005, provides youngsters with the chance to learn new skills in a safe environment. Glenn Smith, a former amateur boxer involved in the sport for over 30 years, funded the gym himself and believes it is a discipline that can be invaluable. He said: “Confidence is one of the main reasons I took up boxing. I got into situations as a small child where I was out of my depth and little by little my self-confidence was slipping away. “I decided to go boxing after seeing a trophy on my friend’s fire-
place and I loved it. The gym was buzzing and there were kids of all ages training. “I thought I might be bullied but it was the complete opposite – everyone was willing to give pointers and I soon settled in and fell in love with the sport.” Glenn says seven is the optimum age for kids to begin training. The gym holds several classes a week for ages five to 16 and there are over 200 kids that come through the doors every week. “We have kids from mainstream schools but we also teach kids with learning difficulties such as ADHD,
or badly behaved kids or kids that have been sexually or physically abused. “We see the way they talk to the teachers and some of the language they use but it’s totally different with us – there is respect there. A lot of our instructors come from hard backgrounds and they prove to be role models. “We also deal with kids who are very timid and quiet or who are being bullied and we try to teach them to have a lot more self-confidence. “I know how difficult it is I was bullied myself, particularly when
they feel they have no one to talk to but they can come here and feel comfortable.” The gym also offers work placements and in the past has had schools coming in to conduct their PE lessons, a scheme he hopes can begin again in the future. He added: “Unfortunately this has had to be put on hold as the schools couldn’t continue to fund the sessions which is a shame as the teachers were really into the scheme. “Hopefully this is something we can look at resurrecting in the future.”
Sports coaches meet up
Adam Brougham (Tyne & Wear Sport) with strength and conditioning instructor Julie Twaddle (English Institute of Sport) and students Simon Wilson and Stephen Forster from Tyne Met College.
OVER 130 sports coaches from across the North East gathered at a conference for an evening of talks and workshops to improve skills and develop clubs. Coaches took part in workshops such as nutrition and eating disorders, emergency first aid in sport, organising training camps for young people and strength and conditioning. Adam Brougham, Tyne and Wear Sport workforce manager, said: “The event proved to be very popular. “We had coaches, volunteers and club representatives attending from a wide variety of backgrounds including sport students, PE teachers, coaches from local sports clubs and community sports coaches from across the North East.”
A primary school in Richmond-UponThames had a workshop on visual impairment as part of an equal opportunities event. Marshgate Primary enlisted Motive8 to deliver the programme to years one to six to focus on interaction with people with disabilities. Sessions including detail on the Paralympics, and sensory aids were used to engage and educate the children on the implications of being visually impaired.
Katie Bentham, deputy head, said: “The workshop gave the children a chance of playing a new sport, whilst learning to use different senses, and all the children involved had tremendous fun.” Various activities and sports were included highlighting the adjustment required for playing sport with limited vision and the key skills taught enabled children to gain a better understanding of the sport-related difficulties faced by those with disability.
Video games would spur kids into action By Lyndsey Smith MORE children would take part in recommended amounts of exercise if they could play video games at the same time, according to research. An independent study at the University of Cumbria found that nine in every ten youngsters want to play video games while exercising as they reduce the boredom. Fifty 11 and 12 year olds were asked to use exercise equipment combined with video games, provided by Gamercize, but they could only play while they maintained movement on the fitness machines. If they stopped exercising, the games paused. Researcher Jack Tyson said: “The results of this study show that 90 per cent of children like combining video games with exercise. “Only one in five were achieving the recommended one hour a day of moderate physical activity, while three-quarters of them played video
games for more than one hour a day.” Derbyshire Sport introduced Gamercize equipment into schools last year and Steve Smith, the schools sports PDM said: “We have found Gamercize equipment appeals to all children, helping us to provide additional physical activity in our primary and secondary schools. “It has proved popular with children and is extremely flexible for PE teachers and school sport competition managers alike.” The findings have been hailed by the National Obesity Forum, and clinical director, Dr David Haslam added: “Physical inactivity in children is a major cause of the obesity epidemic, and Gamercize provides an innovative solution, reducing sedentary behaviour, whilst maintaining enjoyment. This study begins to show that by providing more novel opportunities, it is possible to increase a child's activity in a painless and effective way.”
New kids’ range designed A NEW range of equipment designed especially for children has been launched by On Site Fitness. GymBoy is a version of the switching system of strength equipment, comprising ten machines, providing a full body workout. Managing director, Graham Taylor, said: “The increase in popularity of electronic games and other entertainment has resulted
in a sharp decline in the level of activity that children undertake. “As an industry we have to share the responsibility for helping to engage children. “It’s not about finger wagging, it’s about developing fun and entertaining ways to exercise. “We need to let children experience and understand the benefits that exercise can bring and show them the difference it can make.”
A school turned down by over 40 organisations for funding is to build a new sports hall after everyone pitched in and raised nearly £1m in just under a year. Lyndsey Smith found out more.
School goes it alone and raises nearly £1million RIPON Grammar School in North Yorkshire had a hockey pitch that flooded so often it was unusable, a gym that was outdated and full of exam desks and no indoor courts. Director of sport Helen Mackenzie led a campaign to raise £750,000 for a sports hall and £250,000 for astroturf but 40 organisations turned her down - with some even saying her bid was not ‘youth-focussed’ enough. She said: “We applied to 40 separate funding organisations and not one of them would support us. “One of the excuses was we were not youth based enough, I mean that is just laughable – it's a school for goodness sake, how much more youth based can you get? “Sport England turned down a lottery bid for £250,000 as they felt we weren't asking for enough to build a six badminton court sized sports hall. The Council for Sports and the Arts just turned us down flat – no reason.” Instead, the school sent out letters to parents asking for help. £991,151 was raised from just 240 donations from parents and community businesses - the biggest being from Yorkshire businessman Paul Sykes who pledged £250,000 to the project. Helen – who herself went to Ripon
Grammar 20 years ago – said: “The facilities have not altered since I was here so it is certainly time for change. “We have beautiful playing fields and a swimming pool, and on the face of it people look and think this is great, but the stark reality is come the winter the pitches are waterlogged or frozen and we only have a tiny gym usually full of exam desks. “It’s just not good enough.” The school plans to open its new sports facilities in July and Helen is now working on an alternative PE curriculum to make the most of it. Sports like cheerleading, streetdance and trampolining will be offered and badminton and cricket will be timetabled. There will be a gym and climbing wall to offer less traditional classes. She said: “I want the kids to develop a lifelong love of sport. We have top sporting students at this school, Jack Law, for example, the diver being honed for 2012, and it is a privilege to work with these. “But to me it is about mass participation. It is about getting your average kid switched onto sport, to try and make things a bit more cool for them, and this facility will allow us to try and do that.”
Above: Budding sports stars will benefit from the new facilities. And, below, the current gym full of exam desks.
Every school should have PE specialist By Lyndsey Smith EVERY primary school should have a specialist PE teacher to encourage kids to get fit, according to a head of PE. Carol Collins, of Penketh High school in Warrington, said secondary school teachers find it hard to encourage fitness because children are not taught basic skills in primary schools. She said: “Primary schools teachers cover too broad a spectrum. “You would only need one specialist PE teacher for each school and they could assume responsibility for all of the kids. “Sport and physical activity should be implemented from a young age by someone who hasn’t a million other things to concentrate on. “PE seems to take a back seat.” Carol said by the time they get to
secondary school, some year sevens are already disengaged from physical education. She believed secondary teachers should be given more flexibility in the curriculum to try to encourage these into sport. She added: “It has improved from the days when you had to teach blocks of games – that was structuring the kids too much and too rigid for the teachers. “To get more kids engaging you need flexibility, I am a big advocate of that, and I think in year seven we should teach kids physical literacy. “We don’t have to mention a specific sport we just have to teach them how to catch, how to jump, basic skills and then look to progress from there, see where their strengths lie, before they are thrown onto a pitch or a court.”
A sport student in Lincolnshire has been selected to play hockey at national level after completing both regional and national trials. Jonathon Appleton, a second year BTEC student at the Grimsby Institute, has been selected for the British Colleges of Sport (BCS) national England Colleges’ squad, and is now looking forward to a number of national training sessions and international fixtures. Jonathon has gained
representative honours for Yorkshire under 15s and under 17s, North East under 15s and under 17s and he is a member of the Lincolnshire men’s squad and regular first team player for Doncaster. Claire Thompson, sports development officer added: “It’s an excellent achievement – he has done extremely well to be selected for the final squad from around 200 students from England and Scotland.”
Hospital prescribes Sportswall for patients By Lyndsey Smith A HOSPITAL is using interactive technology in a bid to get young patients fit after becoming the first in the UK to install a Sportswall. Luton and Dunstable Hospital is using ZigZag’s kit to treat patients in the paediatric physiotherapy department, offering one-to-one physiotherapy sessions and group sessions after school for outpa-
tients. The classes, which are broken down into patients with similar abilities and conditions, offer training from both a respiratory and a rehabilitation point of view. Nicola Shaw, senior paediatric physiotherapist, said: “The kids love it as it allows them to have fun and socialise whilst exercising with other children with similar conditions. “We have been doing time trials
with patients that need to build up their cardiovascular system and balance and strengthening games for those that require rehabilitation. “The children are more likely to do the exercises we prescribe if they can do them here using the Sportwall and having fun, rather than working from a sheet of exercises to do at home.”
Footie school run for girls by girls ... By Lyndsey Smith
A £4m dual use sports centre has been developed at a previously derelict building in Worcester. St Johns Sports Centre has been funded by Sainsburys, which has constructed a superstore on the club’s previous site. Alan New, Worcester City Council recreation business manager, said: “The new building gave us the opportunity to design the facility the way we wanted to and we
took the opportunity to correct any challenges that we faced at the old site.” It now has two gyms and two sets of changing rooms, one for school pupils when they use the site during the day and one for members. It also has a four court sports hall, an activity suite, a dance studio and two outdoor five-a-side football pitches. The centre offers a 25 per cent discount on membership for under 16s.
£480m boost for grassroots sport from Sport England By Lyndsey Smith GRASSROOTS sport has been given a £480m boost from Sport England to boost activity. The cash has been allocated to 46 sports – 14 receiving money for development for the first time – and follows a four-month consideration process. Jennie Price, chief executive, said: “We have worked hard to ensure that our investment delivers value for money and, most
importantly, results. “We believe our partnership approach with national governing bodies, and other parts of the sporting landscape, will capitalise on London 2012 and leave the first ever grassroots sporting legacy from an Olympic and Paralympic Games. “Together, we are building the firm foundations of a worldleading community sport system.”
A COMPANY which set up to sell more flattering football kits for girls is expanding to run a series of soccer schools throughout the UK. Footie Chick was set up six years ago selling a specially tailored kit and, after a successful pilot project last year, will now run the Footie Chick Soccer Schools from Easter. Spokesman Alan Horridge added: “We knew there were lots of girls out there who wanted to play so we decided to give it a shot. We looked at the framework of other soccer schools, such as the David Beckham one, and knew there was no reason we could not run our own, modelled around the same concept, but with one massive difference – these would be for girls run by girls.” Footballers Sue Smith and Leanne Hall have been signed up as coaches to help run the scheme.
Alan added: “We hope to run three or four schools – with a variety of different coaches, and although they will be held in Yorkshire they are open to anyone. Last year we had two girls travel up from the South Coast to participate because they saw us as a serious soccer school. “It proves there are girls out there who are interested, who want to play football, and we hope these schools will provide a valuable tool so they can do just that. “The plan is to start small, build on our success, then hopefully roll out the project further afield. We need to make sure we have really good, strong coaches in place in order to make this happen and that is what we are trying to implement.” Alan now hopes they can develop links with primary schools, secondary schools and colleges to roll out the scheme further.
North East’s first youth-only gym ‘absolutely crucial’ THE first youth-only gym in the North East has been opened at Lightfoot Leisure Centre. The gym, kitted out by Shokk, features interactive X-ertain products, IGNITION cardiovascular equipment and FTL (Functioning Lifting Technology) resistance equipment. Fitness manager Rob Graham said: “With the current threat of childhood obesity, I feel it is absolutely crucial to get Jennie Price
youngsters more active. “Our primary objective is to make sport and physical activity more accessible and attractive to the young people of Newcastle by offering a place they will enjoy attending with equipment and programmes that will engage and interest them. “Targeting children is the only way we are going to beat the current problem.”
Private cubicles would make a difference for teenage girls By Christina Eccles MORE teenage girls would exercise if they had private cubicles to change in, new research has revealed. The study, from the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation (WSFF) revealed 91 per cent of teenage girls said they would use sporting facilities if they had their own individual changing room. 62 per cent said hairdryers would help convince them with another 25 per cent saying straighteners would help. WSFF chief executive Sue Tibballs said: “If we can engage girls to be physically active at school, there is a better chance they will carry it on. “One of the things which puts girls off is the embarrassment factor. Going out on a school field in a pair of knickers in front of a group of boys is about as hideous as it gets. If we could make sure every girl had a positive experience it would make an enormous difference.” The research said girls would be
more likely to participate in exercise or sports if the experience was as customer friendly as shopping in their favourite high street stores, such as Primark. Sue added: “Women enjoy spending time and money on the high street because retailers invest in creating an environment and experience that are designed specifically for them. There are 30 million women and girls in the UK, most of whom don’t play any sport at all. If we’re to build a genuine 2012 legacy, sport must start genuinely investing in women. “Having worked in the sports sector, I know it does not have a deep understanding of women as a group. Sport and exercise is delivered as ‘one size fits all.’ “Some schools have girls clubs which try a lot of different sports, however in some schools there is a much more traditional offer which often focuses on the competitive element.”
Tamsin Greenway with young netballers
Youngsters net some tips By Lyndsey Smith YOUNG netball stars of the future were given tips on how to reach their full potential by a current England international. Tamsin Greenway, part of the 2006 Team Bath winning Superleague squad, attended an intensive netball training day at Cranleigh school in Surrey, where she put the girls through their paces with an England skills and drills session. The day was run by the Active Surrey Sports Partnership and Surrey County Netball Association, as part of
the England Netball Talent Development Pathway. The pathway is a framework for identifying and developing athletes with the attributes to attain excellence, and the day provided girls aged 12 to 14 years who have been identified by England Netball selectors as having a degree of potential, the opportunity to further develop their skills. The sessions focused on developing core skills, nutrition, speed, agility, quickness, match tactics and also gave the young netballers an insight into how to train like a national athlete.
16 Youth Fitness
All athletes from the camp, along with Beijing silver medallist Joe Glanfield (back row centre) and Olympic gold medallist Jason Gardner far right
National Boot Camp for Britain’s aspiring athletes ASPIRING young Olympians and Paralympians from across the UK are gearing up for the challenges that lay ahead with renewed vigour and hunger after attending the third National Talent Orientation Camp. Around 70 of Britain’s most talented young athletes across six sports - rowing, sailing, cycling, canoeing, hockey and wheelchair basketball - spent four days at Loughborough University discovering exactly what it takes to make it to the top in the world of performance sport.
and encouraged the young athletes to learn about themselves, their sport and the systems in place to support them. Rising hockey star Alice Sharp, aged 16, from Duffield Belper, in Derbyshire, said: “As a result of the Camp I have realised that I need to focus more seriously on hockey if I want to make it to the top. I now understand fully what is needed to be an elite athlete and so will
The camp combined high-quality training sessions with workshops delivered by former Olympic and Paralympic athletes including Olympic gold medallist sprinter Jason Gardner and focused on four strands; talent and ability; attitude and ambition; knowledge and understanding; education and lifestyle support. The workshops posed the questions: “Can I perform when it counts?” and “Do I know what it takes to be the best?”
The aim was offer the youngsters a unique insight into the world of performance sport while preparing them for the different personal, sporting, academic and vocational challenges which lie ahead. Organisers the Youth Sport Trust even enlisted the help of a British Army unit, based in Grantham, Lincolnshire, to put the youngsters through their paces during a series of command tasks designed to challenge their decision-making under pressure, get them to work effectively within a team and help raise their confidence.
The annual residential camp, organised by the Youth Sport Trust (www.youthsporttrust.org), is for 14-18 years who are aiming to be part of their sport’s World Class talent confirmation phase of the Olympic and Paralympic pathways. Each young athlete had been handpicked by their national governing body and benefitted from the use of Loughborough University’s leading sports facilities from January 8 – 11.
letes along their sporting and educational careers, included keynote speeches on education and lifestyle planning, advice on drugs-free sport, a higher education marketplace and the opportunity to quiz a panel of elite performers.
Cyclists being put through their paces in a training session do what it takes, for example. being more honest in training.” One of rowing’s future Olympic hopefuls, Andrew Holmes, 17, from Lochwinnoch, in Renfrewshire summed up the four days. He said: “The camp has made me believe that my ultimate goal is achievable with determination. I will not stop until I achieve this goal.” The camp, which also had strands for parents and teachers to learn ways in which they can support the young ath-
Steve Grainger, chief executive of the Youth Sport Trust, said: “The young athletes who attended the National Talent Orientation Camp are approaching a crucial point in their sporting careers when they will be making key decisions about their future. We offered them an insight into the world of performance sport while allowing them time to reflect on their talent and ability and challenged them to see if they believe it’s a pathway they want to pursue. At the Youth Sport Trust, we are working hard to support our elite young athletes at the earliest opportunity and provide them with unique experiences, knowledge, skills and confidence to fulfil their potential, both now and in later life.”
Jason Gardner, who won gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics as part of the Great Britain 4x100 relay team, said: “I really wish there had been a National Talent Orientation Camp when I was a junior athlete in pursuit of my dreams. Little did I know just how much hard work and determination would be required to get to, and stay at, the top of my sport. These young people have been given the chance to examine what their goals and ambitions mean to them, and just how hard they are willing to work to achieve them.” The National Talent Orientation Camp is funded through the Government’s PE and Sport Strategy for Young People (PESSYP). The camp has been developed by the Youth Sport Trust in partnership with UK Sport, the national governing bodies (NGBs) of the sports involved and the Gifted and Talented Education Unit at the Department for Children, School and Families.
Rower Angus Groom
The Sports Colleges Conference has an exciting new look for 2009! THE Youth Sport Trust has expanded the programme to give delegates more choice than ever before and it’s jampacked with must-see speakers, exciting new features and even more workshops. The conference has been extended to run over two full days, starting at 9am on 11 February and finishing at 3pm on 12 February. Held again at the impressive International Centre Telford, the event boasts fantastic networking and development opportunities, as well as
inspirational keynote speakers and stars from the worlds of sport and education. The conference theme of Leading the change will focus on the skills and techniques needed to drive the ongoing development of the education and sporting landscape. Through the varied programme of speakers, workshops and demonstrations the Youth Sport Trust will explore how to motivate successful change through engaging and empow-
ering others and determining a destination. With the massive medal haul by Team GB at the Beijing Olympics, there will be celebrations of Olympic Glory, recognition of the part sports colleges continue to play in this and a look ahead to the 2012 London Olympics. The 2009 conference has been boosted by several new features. Headteachers will have the chance to take part in Q&A sessions with high profile keynote
speakers. In addition to the increased 65 workshops, is the introduction of an Active Learning Zone which includes workshops demonstrating practical techniques and a Learning Lounge networking space where experts, leaders and pioneers will share insight and practice on a drop-in basis.
17 Youth Fitness
Parent and child boot camp plan By Mary Ferguson
The camp aims to encourage parents to exercise with their children.
THE operators of a women’s weight loss course are launching a parent and child boot camp to combat obesity and promote healthy living for families. Sunny Moran and Jacqui Cleaver have been operating New You Boot Camp – a week-long residential weight loss camp for women – for two years, and plan to launch the parent and child option in the Spring. Taking place over seven days, the camp will provide both a kick-start to a healthy lifestyle and education to continue as a family. Sunny said: “We set up Parent and Child Boot Camp with the aim of educating parents and children together, which we believe is the only way to tackle childhood weight problems in the UK – and permanently change unhealthy attitudes towards nutrition, diet and exercise held by many kids in this country. “We want to educate both parents and children in nutrition and exercise
and make it fun and achievable so they can continue at home.” Activities during the camp will include team sports, team building activities such as raft building, assault courses and command tasks, bike riding, abseiling, football and hockey. Campers will be led by military trainers and the nutrient and calorie content of each meal is based on the Department of Health dietary reference values for the appropriate age groups. Healthy cooking will also be encouraged and parents will receive one-to-one consultations with a nutritionist. Sunny added: “There are weight loss camps where you can send children on their own but after they return to the family home, they resume eating as they did before and put all the weight back on. “But by making sure the parents get involved and educated too, they are able to continue beyond our programme and bond as a family – with shared understanding.”
Jackie (left) and Sunny
news 19 2008 was an outstanding year for the Newcastle School Sport Partnership, celebrating the achievements of many pupils and sweeping the board at the third annual Sports Awards ceremony. Mary Ferguson found out what other schools could learn – and what’s in store for 2009.
Looking to winning Newcastle school project for lessons By Mary Ferguson ACCORDING to partnership development manager Joyce Bishop, the secret to Newcastle’s success is to operate like a business, treating the pupils as clients and participation as profit. Over 90 per cent of pupils now participate in a minimum of two hours a week high quality PE and sport, smashing the 2008 Government target of 85 per cent and leaping up from 48 per cent in the city five years ago. And being awarded the Sport Partnership Mark was an unexpected highlight last year, rounding off twelve months of success. Joyce said one of the most memorable moments of 2008 was seeing one of the young ambassadors go to Beijing as a guest at the Olympics. Swimmer James Welford, nominated by the partnership, was one of four young people to be chosen, in recognition of his work promoting Olympic ideals through assemblies and workshops. Joyce said: “We were very proud of James and the kitemark was also a delightful surprise. It’s a real credit to the people that have been working so hard to increase partic-
Joyce Bishop ipation. It’s been increasing year on year since 2003 and now it has more than doubled.” According to Joyce, much of that success is down to the introduction of more unusual sports, engaging pupils in activities including underwater hockey, cheerleading
and rock climbing. Most of these are delivered within the schools, who bring in specialist coaches. A ‘virtual league’ for key stage one was also introduced last year, to encourage healthy competition between schools who find it difficult to travel. Scores are entered on an online virtual league table, bypassing the time and red tape involved in bussing pupils between schools. “This year will see us utilising and encouraging young leaders more as it’s a great way of both helping the pupils develop and growing the workforce for us, as there are only a finite number of coaches available. “Competition will also be bigger for 2009, with more interaction between schools and more sports added to the virtual league.” The partnership will use beacon schools to encourage leadership in others and is teaming up with local universities to introduce even more sporting activities, such as fencing. Joyce added: “The biggest barrier for us is some secondary schools not committing to to curriculum PE – we want to see two hours a week for every child, as well as participation in after school clubs.”
Partnership schools are recognised SCHOOLS across the Newcastle School Sports Partnership were recognised in the third annual Sports Awards ceremony, which took place in the city at the end of last year. Voted ‘School Of The Year for Innovation’ Trinity Deneview runs an inclusive programme of activities in outdoor education to guarantee participation from all pupils. Activities have included rock climbing, hill walking, orienteering, mountain biking, team build-
ing and initiative training, obstacle courses and beach walks. Walbottle Campus was voted ‘School of The Year for Sporting Opportunities’ for using enhancement days each term targeting new sports such as judo, golf, Frisbee and rowing. The school runs golf, dance and football academies, and over 17 different sports clubs and teams. Using inter-house sport, they ensure that all pupils participate in intra-school competitions.
And All Saints College was named ‘School of the Year for Community Based Sport’ for increasing participation through club links, dual facility use and pupil pathways. Other winners were John Rutter, named Primary Link Teacher of the Year and Lisa Burdis, who won School Sport Coordinator of the Year. Young leader James Welford was keynote speaker at the awards, giving a presentation about his Olympic hopes for 2012.
Scottish scheme in birthday programme A SCHEME in Scotland has been set up to allow children born at a certain time to register for the 2012 Games. The Children's Promise programme – which is being backed by the government – offers youngsters born on December 20 (20.12) the
chance to get involved in events and ceremonies. Over 700 children, who will be aged seven in the summer of 2012, have been registered on the scheme. Communities minister Stewart Maxwell said: “This is a great chance for children to get involved and
enjoy the atmosphere, and I would encourage all parents to sign up. "The Olympics is a stepping stone to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014, where we intend to deliver the most extensive ongoing games legacy the Commonwealth has witnessed.”
Texting and surfing hit kids’ fitness By Louise Cordell PLAYING video games, watching TV and sending text messages can all have a detrimental effect on kids’ fitness, according to a new study from Australian researchers. They looked at how e-mailing and text messaging, TV, video games and surfing the net all affected aerobic endurance in adolescents and found that too much screen time seriously affected their fitness levels. The results showed that the kids who spent any more than two hours a day with playing with electronic gadgets were significantly less likely to be fit. Louise Hardy, lead researcher at the University of Sydney, said: “We found that the effect was consistently stronger among all the girls compared with the boys. “The longer girls spent on screen recreation the less fit they were, and we found that the evidence of this effect increases with age among girls. “However, older boys were less
affected, no matter how long they spent on screen recreation.” She also pointed out that the study does not confirm cause and effect and so is unable to prove whether it is the gadgets and games that lure kids away from active play, or that fitter children are just less likely to turn to TV or gaming in the first place. The research team surveyed 2,750 New South Wales students on their physical activity and screen use and also put them through a ‘pacer’ test – a shuttle run that PE teachers use to measure fitness. Louise added: “Among younger boys in grades six and eight, fitness levels became lower as their screen time increased, but this was not apparent among older boys despite the fact that they reported the most screen time – sometimes as much as ten hours a day. We think the reason for this is that these boys, who would be 15 to 16 years old, have probably developed enough muscle mass which allows them to sit and be fit.” Children in Tameside are being encouraged to get fit with a series of Winter Welly Walks. The borough’s Sport and Physical Activity Alliance has organised the outings in partnership with the Hyde Flowery Children’s Centre as one of a range of events and activities to encourage people to take more exercise. The council have introduced a three part programme to get teenagers, families and adults back into sport following a recent Sport England Active People survey which revealed
that less than 22 per cent of people take part in the recommended amount of activity. Sport England has contributed £283,000 towards the £1m scheme and other activities organised as part of the programme include family and 50 plus multi sports sessions and special back to netball and back to badminton programmes. SPAA chairman Jim Taylor said: “The benefits of getting more active are wide-ranging. We want to help people to find ways to make exercise and enjoyable part of their everyday lives.”
Schools should cast their net wider and offer angling option By Lyndsey Smith SCHOOLS could give pupils the opportunity to go fishing as part of the five-hour sport offer. Over 100 schools have the potential to start the sport following interest in the Angling Education stand at the last School and Sports Partnership conference. PDM Nick Gaywood, of Holgate School SSP, said: “Angling provides a great way to engage with youngsters in schools and help us meet our five
hours of sport a week target. “The education programme is also exceptionally versatile helping youngsters learn about a range of subjects including the environment, science and geography.” Tom Goldspink, National Federation of Anglers, added: “It is essential for angling to work with the Youth Sport Trust and School Sports Network to facilitate the delivery of the sport into schools and create a sustainable future for angling.”
Disney hits right note with clubs HEALTH clubs and leisure centres are cashing in on Disney’s High School Musical’s popularity, thanks to an upgraded dance mat system. ZigZag has launched a range of new songs based on the sound made popular by the films, and the free
upgrade is available to all new and existing customers. It will tie in with free update days around the country and as well as songs based on the films, a further 11 new chart songs have been licensed.
Alan Somerville OBE (chairman of British Gymnastics), Laura Jones, Becky Downie, the Mayor of Amber Valley Borough Council, Coun Jean Gemmell and (front) members of the Amber Valley gymnastics display team at the centre opening.
Academy bends over backwards to offer gymnastics courses By Lyndsey Smith GYMNASTICS courses are to be offered to more schools in Derbyshire after the opening of a new academy. The Academy in Alfreton – which has been part-funded by the local school partnership, the council and Sport England – will become a centre of excellence as well as being the main base for Amber Valley Gymnastics Club. Paul Goodley, PDM for Amber Valley School Sports Partnership, believes the facility will encourage link ups between clubs and schools. He said: “We set up a gymnastics development group two years ago to see how we could improve what was offered. “We have 70 schools in the partnership – eight secondary and 62 primaries – and we found that gymnas-
Kids’ range launched A NEW range of equipment designed especially for children has been launched by On Site Fitness. GymBoy is a version of the switching system of strength equipment, comprising ten machines, providing a full body workout. Managing director, Graham Taylor, said: “The increase in popularity of electronic games and other entertainment has resulted in a sharp decline in the level of activity that children undertake. “As an industry we have to share the responsibility for helping to engage children. It’s not about finger wagging, it’s about developing fun and entertaining ways to exercise. “We need to let children experience and understand the benefits that exercise can bring and show them the difference it can make.”
tics and dance were the two areas teachers were least confident about delivering. “We obtained funding from the Big Lottery which allowed us to send coaches in to deliver sessions to the kids and to help development for teachers, and the take-up was great but we had problems with small facilities.” There will be recreational gymnastics and volunteering opportunities for those wishing to develop their leadership and coaching skills. And schools will be encouraged to use the facility at lunchtimes and after school after statistics showed more than 90 per cent are not involved with a gymnastics club. The centre features over £76,000 worth of equipment, a full-length tumble track, and the only landing pit facility in Derbyshire.
It has visual technology and computer systems, which deliver instant feedback to the gymnasts and coaches. Paul said: “The kids love it – it still has the wow factor. We had input from the coaches who told us what would work best, and we are looking at obtaining funding for a gymnastics development officer to drive the academy forward.” Peter Sharkey, general manager of Alfreton leisure centre, added that 160 children have already enrolled. He added: “The aim is increased participation and identifying and supporting talented gymnasts of the future. “Clubs, schools and the community will be able to sample gymnastics with qualified coaches, leaving them with a positive introduction and experience of the sport.”
Campus redevelopment completed A £650,000 redevelopment at Newent Community School campus has been completed. The project – by Alliance Leisure and build company Createability – converted the school changing rooms to a fitness suite complete with Hoist’s ride-orientated range of Roc-It
resistance equipment and remanufactured Life Fitness CV equipment from Physique. The old gym was converted into new changing rooms to service the swimming pool. Offices were also built for the school’s PE department staff.
Partnership wins award
Swim for free
PRESTON School Sports Partnership has won a national award thanks to a project between Fulwood High School and the Preston Harriers. The project was given the Club Partnership title in the National England Athletics Awards. Preston Harriers secretary Andy Parker said: “This was a well deserved award for the Preston Harriers coaches who are nurturing local young athletes for the future in Fulwood High’s feeder primary schools.”
A SURVEY has shown that 82 per cent of councils are offering under-16s the chance to swim for free. The £140m government programme will benefit more than 20m under 16s and over 60s with 211 councils opening their pools for free for the youngsters.
Have you got a story for us? Call Lyndsey Smith on 01226 734472 or email email@example.com
A fireman’s passion for health and fitness has led to a new concept aimed at encouraging more kids to become fit and healthy in the North East. Lyndsey Smith found out more.
Fireman Matt blazes the trail with new fitness concept MATT Stirland, from Guisborough, has been involved in the fitness industry for 12 years, and his ambition is to get kids active. This determination led to the birth of Streetlife Youth Fitness – to be launched at the end of February – which will take fitness equipment into schools and community venues for young people. Named the Face of Entrepreneurship 2009 for Teeside, as part of the If We Can You Can campaign, Matt is now focused on getting his idea going, believing the government will be looking at investing a lot of money into concepts such as this due to the spiralling public negativity surrounding kids’ fitness. He said: “I was initially going to form a range of health clubs for children called Playhouse but this turned out to be a very expensive idea. “I was looking for investors but it just wasn’t happening so I came up
with Streetlife Youth Fitness which is the same concept but in reverse I go to them.” Matt has spent £10,000 on equipment, including free standing boxing bags and spinning bikes, and is also looking at sports reaction walls which he will transport to schools and clubs. The sessions are structured around the national curriculum following Matt’s research into what would make Streetlife viable. “I saw the PE syllabus and endeavoured to make the sessions fit, and they tick all the boxes. It will also help them hit the five hour target as it can be used in PE lessons or after school clubs.” Tanita body analysis equipment will be used to give a whole picture of improving fitness levels and Actiped through Fitlink will be used to monitor levels of physical activity. Matt added: “I want the kids to come up with what they want to do
Matt with Margaret Fay, chairwoman of One North East regional development agency in the sessions, I want them to take control. I will also look at doing some kind of leadership award so they can take the sessions them-
selves – its all about making it their own. This will help with the sustainability of the project and it will develop as it goes along.”
news 23 A PE teacher who was desperate to get girls active is reporting success after she teamed up with a local gym. Lyndsey Smith reports.
Teamwork is a success for teacher Carol CAROL Collins, head of PE at Penketh High School, has been teaching for 29 years but says she was at the end of her tether trying to figure out how to interest some students. Her PE lessons were disrupted by rowdy pupils who did not want to take part and the students who did try were heckled and ended up being distracted. She said: “To be honest I was desperate. We had a particular bunch of kids who disrupted every lesson. It was the same thing week in week out. “They didn’t have their kit, didn’t want to get sweaty or get their hair
wet. I was wasting, on average, ten minutes of every lesson, arguing with these kids and it wasn’t fair on the students who wanted to take part, particularly when they started heckling from the sidelines.” Carol contacted the Fitness Industry Association for advice and she was teamed up with her local David Lloyd Centre as part of the ‘go’ programme which pushes non-competitive sports such as aerobics, cycling and swimming with an experienced instructor. The six week programme is offered to a different group of girls each term.
Carol said: “In a risky move I just ignored the disruptive kids. I got the other girls together and explained what we were going to do. “One lot would go to the gym while others decided what they would do – would they play hockey, rounders, netball – it was up to them. “You suddenly have this set of disruptive kids seeing the girls go off to the gym, hear them talking about what fun they have and suddenly it’s why can’t I go? The simple answer is they can and the uptake has been absolutely tremendous.” Fran Hawley, family activities co-
ordinator at the gym, added: “It is about treating them like adults – the girls are getting to come out of school and come to an adult gym and being treated like grown ups. “As well as gym circuits we can offer activities like spinning, bodypump, team combat and swimming - all great exercise options. “We are seeing a real good response from the girls – girls that had no interest in physical activity whatsoever. It gives them a chance to access facilities which they might not get to usually and helps us increase common participation.”
Fergie helps new sports site kick off in style SIR Alex Ferguson has opened a community sports site at a school in Manchester. The football club manager, pictured left, opened the Partington Sports Village at Broadoak school in Trafford funded through a £1m grant from the Football Foundation and £150,000 from Sport England. It features a 3G artificial grass pitch, floodlights and fencing, redeveloped multi-use games area, and
Exercise can help disabled children By Louise Cordell CHILDREN with developmental disabilities can benefit from fitness activities including group exercise programmes and horse riding, according to a new review of studies. The evidence shows that kids with disorders such as autism and cerebral palsy can use training to improve their coordination, aerobic fitness and quality of life. Lead researcher Connie Johnson, a physical therapist with the Fairfax County Public School in Virginia, said: “The findings are encouraging since studies show that children with developmental disabilities tend to be less fit than their peers. “In many cases this is because the children lack the resources and community support that would encourage them to be more active.” However, she pointed out that parents might be more likely to provide their children with opportunities for physical activity if the specific potential benefits for their children are proven.
Dr James Rimmer, director of the National Centre on Physical Activity and Disability, said: “Children with disabilities can ill afford to have a downturn in health and yet when told by their doctor to exercise or lose weight they are rarely, if ever, given the resources or knowledge to do so.” Connie analysed 14 studies and three other evidence reviews to find out how children with developmental disabilities might benefit from different types of physical activity. She found that the strongest evidence came from studies of group exercise, therapeutic horse riding and treadmill workouts and said: “It shows that all children found some level of enjoyment, satisfaction or physical benefit from the activities.” The results also showed that only two studies reported any problems with the exercise programs, including one study of children with severe cerebral palsy where therapeutic horseback riding raised some heart rates above the healthy recommended levels.
upgraded grass pitches and drainage systems. There is also a new pavilion, changing rooms, and sports suite. Headteacher Tarun Kapur said: “Previously, sports provision at the school was severely limited due to the lack of facilities and safety concerns, so we are delighted with the village.” Broadoak School will now have an on-site football development officer and social inclusion co-ordinator.
Fun sessions backed up by DVD release By Louise Cordell AFTER successfully introducing fun and innovative PE sessions to local schools, BPM Active are now releasing a line of kids’ fitness DVDs to help pupils take their lessons home. The workouts are based around cheerleading, football skills and martial arts, and have all been designed to help engage ‘non-sporty’ children and get them active. BPM Active founder and advanced fitness instructor Ian Baker said: “We had released a few fitness DVDs previously and they were so successful that we decided to expand and provide something that would appeal to everyone. “We have whole families using them at home in front of the TV or laptop and they are also a great resource for teachers. “They mean that those without much PE knowledge can use them to lead a structured and effective fitness class, and those with more experience can get some fresh ideas and learn some new routines.” The programmes are designed to be non competitive and are built around the latest trends in dance and music. Children are also encouraged to try out all the different workouts in order to help them find something they enjoy and will keep up. Ian added: “Cheerleading is very popular at the moment and SoccerJam, which was inspired by a
Workouts are based around activities including cheerleading and are designed to help engage ‘non-sporty’ children and get them active football juggling contestant on ‘Britain’s Got Talent’, is a big hit with both boys and girls. “It really captures their imagination and gets them involved – but young people’s trends change so fast so you have to stay on the ball in order to keep up to date. “We have also found that the martial arts skills work especially well for children with low self esteem and really helps them gain confidence
and feel good about themselves.” The Swindon based company has also provided six week fitness programmes in 20 primary and secondary schools in the area, introducing a different activity each week. Alongside this, pupils take part in the ‘1,000 Minute Challenge’ which encourages them to record the time they spend on physical activity on a special form and enter into a prize
draw every time they reach their target. Ian added: “In the future we are hoping to introduce a new six-week programme which takes a more holistic approach to youth health and fitness. “We want to include more of the theory as well as the practical in order to help kids understand all the things involved in a long term, healthy lifestyle.”
Some children ‘not getting full quota’ BOB BELLEW, independent PE consultant:
Craig Brown receiving school of the year award from Dave Woods, Rugby League Division 2 Coach of the Year
School ups sports activities to get all pupils involved By Lyndsey Smith AN AWARD-winning school in the North East is upping activities on its timetable in a bid to get all pupils involved in enjoyable physical activity. Walbottle Campus – recently voted school of year in the Newcastle SSP sports awards – has been targeting new sports on enhancement days, and operating academies for football, dance and golf. Craig Brown, head of PE, believes the school benefits from the commitment shown by staff and outside coaches. He added: “We have coaches coming into the school in curriculum time, for after school and lunchtime clubs, and enhancement days, as we try to break away from the norm, and find activities that appeal to everybody instead of focusing solely on the gifted and talented. “We are aiming to engage all pupils, not just the team players, and we now have a lot of individualistic activities such as frisbee, golf, rowing, judo, cross country and trampolining, and I’d say we were half and half now in terms of what we offer, which is a huge change from ten years ago when everything in PE was team sports orientated.” Craig believes the house system they operate within the school goes a long way to encouraging kids to become involved. “Using inter-house sport ensures all
pupils participate in intra-school competitions. Kids are even awarded points for turning up so everyone contributes, and they all feel they have done something. “It can be less intimidating, particularly for the non-sporty pupils, as they are doing their bit and everyone gees everyone else along.” Kids have also been encouraged to assist in running events such as sports days and Carol Marshall, SSco, thinks this is a great way of building their self-esteem. She said: “This has worked particularly well with young, vulnerable girls, the quiet ones who don’t usually get involved. Suddenly they are able to take control of something and are helping and leading – things they would never have dreamt of doing before.” She added the school is constantly looking at different strategies in a bid to find something for everyone and to encourage them to stay after school. “We had lots of kids enthusiastic about dance so we formed a dance academy – it is about catering for them. “Also, how many kids go on from school and play team games? We need to give them something that is sustainable, and things such as cheerleading, streetdance and trampolining have proved really popular. “We are trying constantly to introduce new sports and bring coaches in but of course it’s down to funding being available.”
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As an ex SSCo for many years working in primary schools within an inner London borough I have seen the increase of PE time and the use of instructors within the curriculum. There are primary schools that have two hours of supposed taught PE on their timetable but that time allocation is not taken up for a variety of reasons which include: changing time which is included in the two hours; children are sitting down listening to the teacher. In many cases children not being taught high quality PE (not the fault of the class teacher whose PE training at college/PGCE course is often very patchy) and the constraints of SATs especially at year six means that
some of those children do not receive their full quota of statutory PE allocation. There appears in some cases discrepancies on some of the data schools supplied via their PESSCL surveys and what is actually taught within the school. My role now is to work with primary school teachers and their classes on what is high quality PE especially in curriculum gymnastics. Steve Grainger, I am sure, is correct in stating that 90 per cent of schools take part in at least two hours of high quality PE and School Sport a week given the information received by the Youth Sports Trust. My concern is what mechanism is there in the system to sample check that this data is correct especially with regard to high quality work and sustained activity.
Quality not quantity is the issue DAVID BALL, former county PE advisor: NINETY per cent taking part in at least two hours of sport – survey What do I think? You ask. Too much attention is given to the quantity of time provided for young people to take part in physical education and sport. Yes, time must be a major consideration but crucially it is the quality of teaching/coaching that is paramount. Too frequently teaching/coaching is poorly delivered: queues of children waiting their turn to strike, throw,
pass, catch and too many unimaginative and often inappropriate games practices. Such approaches are unproductive and represent poor value for money whether in the context of a school physical education programme or club/local authority sport development scheme. Many generalist primary school teachers receive unsatisfactory levels of training in the craft of physical education teaching. Also, coaching by many sport coaches is unmonitored with the result that there is no nationally coordinated procedure of quality control.
An initiative to introduce youngsters to exercise through dance is making waves nationwide, following huge success in the north. Mary Ferguson visited the team behind Dance Action Zone Leeds to find out more.
Makeover scheme’s self-esteem boost THE DAZL Dance Makeover programme was launched last Summer to help overweight children lose weight and increase self-esteem through dance. Run in partnership with the NHS’s Watch It scheme, tester workshops with 1200 children helped DAZL plan the delivery. And during the school holidays, twenty girls aged between eight and 15 took part in intense training five days a week for three weeks, working towards a show at the end. The programme was headed by Ian Rodley, who took part in DAZL as a youngster himself and is now their head dance facilitator. And as well as dance he taught them about healthy eating and talked about the emotional issues that go with being overweight. He said: “One girl lost 8cm round her waist and everyone gained so much more confidence through making friends and getting a sense of achievement. “We had some girls who were very overweight but they took part in all the moves and could do the jumps and more athletic movements just as well as everyone else.” Sue added: “In terms of social marketing it’s very hard to recruit for the Dance Makeover. We make it clear that it’s a weight management programme but we don’t want to upset anyone and we were a little disappointed that of 1200 children who participated in the trial workshops only 20 signed up. “However last year’s programme was a big success and we will be repeating it again this summer. We know what we are doing is helping but ultimately, child obesity is a problem that’s bigger than us.”
DAZL steps up to combat childhood obesity ... TARGETING young people in deprived areas of the city, DAZL aims to boost health and combat childhood obesity through different styles of dance. The organisation started life in 2000 as two community dance groups in South Leeds, set up for those who weren’t participating in school P.E. Eight years later, the scheme operates city-wide, holding up to 75 classes each week, putting on public performances and coaching award-winning teams. A pilot programme to promote weight loss through dance was launched last year and in November 2008 alone, DAZL worked with 1850 young people. A registered charity, it’s supported by the Primary Care Trust and city council and part of its core programme is a three year plan to get overweight children moving. The different styles of dance on offer include street dance, breakdancing, contemporary and cheerleading and coaches work within schools, community centres or wherever is central to the youngsters they are targeting.
Putting on dance shows help keep the youngsters motivated. Director Sue Pennycook, who has led the programme for the last three years, said: “We started with street dance but in the last two or three years there has been massive demand for cheerlead-
ing classes and our teams have seen huge success in national competitions. It’s a very aerobic form of dance so in terms of fitness benefits, it’s great and overweight girls that take part end up losing lots of weight. “And if the kids are getting two hours a week of PE then taking part helps bring them up to the five-hour target.” The majority of participants are female, but more boys are being attracted through the introduction of hip-hop and street dance, and a male cheerleading squad was recently established. As well as boasting the highest scoring UK cheerleading team in 20 years DAZL recently won ‘highly commended’ at the Health Service Journal Awards. And Sue said that putting on dance shows is imperative to keeping the youngsters motivated and providing them with a sense of achievement. She added: “When we put on the showcases we have to limit tickets to two per person because they sell out so quickly. The level of support from the kids’ families is amazing.”
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Synthetic surface deal is signed PULSE Fitness has signed a deal with Recomac, a provider of synthetic surfaces, allowing them to use their artificial turf for its UK soccer centres. Recomac’s recent projects include a multi-use playing area at Caistor Grammar School, Lincolnshire, marked out for hockey and football, synthetic pitches at Leisure Point Sports & Fitness Centre, Dublin, and a 7,000 square metre installation at Manchester City Football Academy. Warren Ormerod, sales manager for Pulse, said: “There are a number of occasions when traditional grass surfaces are simply not suitable for our customers. “We wanted to offer them the very best alternative and through working with Recomac we are able to do this.” Aidan Conway, Recomac director added: “The surfaces we provide have a proven track record in durability and this is what is required in a complex that will get heavy usage.”
Tennis courts make way for new area By Lyndsey Smith A PARK in South Wales is attracting more people following the replacement of disused tennis courts with a modern multi use games area. Garth Park, Maesteg, had four asphalt tennis courts using up more than 200 square feet, yet they were hardly ever used, prompting the council to invest. Now the facility includes synthetic turf cricket practise nets and a synthetic football pitch, and has become a community hub attracting schools, sports and social groups and families. The project was funded with support from the Sports Council for Wales, the Welsh Assembly Government, Garfield Weston Foundation and the town and community councils, and when the facilities opened local primary school children took part in a multi sports
activity day at the site. It is hoped that by promoting new links between Maesteg Celtic Sports Club and the wider community, the new facilities will support a broad range of sports and activities encouraging young people and their families to become involved in local sports and lead more healthy and active lives. Maesteg Celtic will also develop links with other sports clubs, schools and
community groups to increase the range of opportunities that are available. Notts Sport installed the facilty and Andrew Thomas, sport and recreation manager for Bridgend County Council said: “We have a long history of working with them and the surfaces they have supplied to us in other parts of this area are still going strong after more than 15 years of use.”
New ground solves water-logging problems By Lyndsey Smith A MANCHESTER school has improved its sports facilities following problems with waterlogged pitches. Parrenthorn High School, Prestwich, has installed an all weather multisports ground offering pupils and the community opportunities to play football, hockey, rugby and rounders on a quick-draining and durable surface. Andrew Morley, business manager at Parrenthorn said: “Many of the local
clubs suffer, as we did, with waterlogged grass pitches that can’t be used year-round. “Now we have added hockey to our school sports, our feeder schools can come here to play sports, and Bury Hockey Club and the Salford City Reds rugby league first team are among the wider community groups using the facility. “It’s providing massive benefits for Parrenthorn, and when it’s floodlit in the evenings it’s a real draw for people passing by.
“Schools are now in a competitive market to attract pupils, and this is one of the best facilities on offer in this area.” The new pitch – installed by Notts Sport – recycled as much of the old shale construction as possible and a new full-size synthetic grass pitch was installed, along with a 40-bay car park next to the facility, to encourage community use, with outside users bringing extra revenue to the school.
New sports club is set to open A NEW sports club for blind and partially sighted children is set to open in Twickenham next month thanks to the charity, Action for Blind People. The ‘Twickenham Actionnaires’ club will launch in February at St Mary’s University College and aims to help children aged eight to 16, along with their siblings and friends, learn to play football. Nicky Holloway, sports development officer for Action for Blind People, said: “Twickenham Actionnaires will offer a wide range of opportunities to local visually impaired children. “The club will strive to develop children’s physical skills and fitness, along with their confidence and social skills. “Twickenham Actionnaires has had an incredible amount of support from St Mary’s University College, Brentford Football Club and the sport development team at the London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames to whom we are very grateful.” The club, which will meet fortnightly and is free to all blind and partially sighted children and their friends, is part of a network of 29 similar Actionnaires clubs across the UK.
Pupils ‘jump on board’ activity plan By Louise Cordell FRIZINGHALL Primary School has become the first in Bradford to provide a full 12week activity programme for pupils in partnership with fitness company, Let’s Get Healthy. The ‘Jump On Board’ programme covers physical activity, healthy living and healthy eating and has been developed with experts at Leeds Metropolitan University. A parent involvement officer for the school will be trained by the Let’s Get Healthy team to help them deliver the programme, which will be run as an after school club, with parents joining in the last 15 minutes of every session. Each week the kids are also given pedometers, hula hoops and other equipment to encourage the whole family to The ‘Twickenham Actionnaires’ club opens in February
be active at home. For the last three months other schools in the area including St Joseph’s Catholic Primary and Mill Lane have also been taking part in fitness days, thanks to new funding from Vdot.com. Maria Bourke, Let’s Get Healthy founder, said: “We have been delivering practical sessions in schools which range from how to overcome bullying to street dance and this new funding has allowed us to use technology to gather information about the children’s current health and lifestyle as well as their opinions on important topics. “This information is then passed onto the head teacher and I feel passionately we should embrace technology in our quest to get whole communities interested in a healthier lifestyle.”
A leisure centre in Bournemouth became one of the first in the area to offer a youth specific fitness gym. Now, nearly two years on, Lyndsey Smith found out how things were going.
Centre continues to ‘open up a new world’ for youngsters THE Zone at the Littledown Centre is a dedicated gym for eight to 13 year olds with many schools in the area opting to use it as part of their PE lessons. Equipped with a range of cardiovascular and resistance machines, free weights and boxing equipment, the gym offers pupils a different option from the traditional games on offer. Peter Brown, group leisure facilities manager, said the gym can put together packages that aim to entertain and educate pupils, whilst keeping them fit and healthy. He added: “We aim to make health and fitness attractive to all children, even those who find sport and PE a turn off. “We are opening up a new world for young people and introducing them to a gym environment, where they are educated about health, nutrition and fitness as they exercise.” Park Primary Prep school has used the Zone since it opened, and Matthew Spraggs, head of PE, believes it has been exceptionally beneficial for the kids. He said: “It has proved to be extremely popular even with the non-sporty kids. Not everyone wants to be out there on a field chasing a ball and this gives the kids a nice, different option show-
ing that exercise doesn’t have to be team sport related. “We are lucky as our headteacher is sporty and as a school it is something that we really push, and we are fortunate to have found this niche where the kids can have fun and exercise.” Matthew believes in the educational values of the facility as well. The school also ties visits in to their science lessons, with instructors teaching biological and physiological aspects to the kids. “We have a really good relationship with them and there is lots of different equipment for the kids to use, tutored by young instructors who bond well with the kids and make the sessions fun. “They do weights, cardiovascular training, use the boxing equipment, and learn how to warm up and cool down, as well as balance and stretching. “They are literally pouring with sweat - they are having so much fun that they don’t realise how beneficial it is, or how much exercise they are actually doing.” The centre also caters for children with special needs and Linwood school - for kids age three to 19 with severe learning difficulties - take advantage of this. Cli Fell, teacher, said fitness levels have increased immensely since they began using the Zone. She
added: “It is particularly beneficial for our kids as it allows them to mix with kids from other schools which is nice. “We have specially tailored programmes for them such as a follow on gym training sequence with picture cards which is very stimulating. “It allows us to integrate our young people into a regular environment, getting them out of the school building, and essentially breaking down barriers.” A school package includes inductions and personal programmes, nutritional information, a healthy body programme and awards and recognition. It helps children to acquire and develop physical skills and gain knowledge and understanding of fitness, health and an active lifestyle, and Peter Brown added: “This programme is important as it builds a healthy mind as well as body, building up self esteem and confidence. “It links in with key stage development objectives, supports pupils with special needs and social issues to get motivated and fit, and begins to tackle the increasing rise in childhood obesity. “All in all it makes a strong commitment to making PE and school sport an important and valuable part of pupil’s lives.”
Sir Trevor unveils £1.8m renovation By Lyndsey Smith
Sir Trevor Brooking with headteacher Tony Downey
PRIMARY school children were entertained by FA skills coaches at a school in East Staffordshire following the opening of their new sports facilities. Sir Trevor Brooking attended The Blessed Robert Sutton Catholic Sports College to unveil their £1.8m renovation, which includes a 3G artificial grass pitch with floodlights and fencing, new changing block, officials’ rooms, refurbished sports hall with community and coach education room, and disabled facilities. Tony Downey, headteacher, said: “These new facilities will ensure PE and sport is played in first class surroundings. “The enhanced facilities will enable a significant increase in sports participation and we are ambitious for the future and look forward to more developments.” Director of specialism, Julie-Anne Weir echoed his sentiments. “We were designated sports college status in 2005 and these new facilities will really help us to move forward.
“It is a school facility but it is also important for community use. The sports hall area has been totally refurbished through a community club development programme grant and during the evening and weekends is home to the Burton Uxbridge table tennis club. “Pupils will also benefit massively and on our opening day 100 primary school kids got a taste of what’s on offer as they were coached by FA skills coaches, our community hockey coach and PE staff.” The Football Foundation, Sport England, the Staffordshire environmental fund, Consolidated Charities of Burton and the school themselves funded the project, and Sir Trevor added: “This is a great incentive and encouragement for pupils and the wider community to achieve their highest goals in the field of sports. “One area of focus for me within my role at The FA is skills development in the younger age groups, and these facilities will provide a quality and safe environment in which to deliver fun and engaging sports activity.”
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