Sport and fitness for today’s youth
May 2009 £2.75
Daring sports lead to rise in participation By Louise Cordell ADVENTUROUS schools that add more daring sports to the PE timetable have seen participation rocket, according to Ofsted. The study which was published this month says PE provision is better than ever, thanks to the introduction of more adventurous activities like skateboarding, martial arts and mountain biking onto the curriculum. Alternative classes from yoga and Boxercise to golf and cheerleading have fuelled a resurgence in lessons with nine out of ten schools now hitting Government targets of at least two hours of sport every week. Author Judith Rundle, a physical education specialist advisor, said: “While visiting schools we have found a very positive picture and I think it is the increase in variety of activities that has led to a lot of the re-engagement, particularly in older girls. While there is still a place for more traditional team games, especially for those pupils who enjoy more competitive activities, schools are widening the net and offering things that attract other pupils too. “It is clear that if schools want to improve their performance, then
increasing the variety of what is on offer is the way to do it.” Ofsted investigated the standard of PE lessons in 100 primary and 84 secondary schools in England between 2005 and 2008. Classes were rated good or outstanding at two-thirds of primaries and more than three-quarters of secondary schools. However, the report found that provision was not so good for teenagers sitting their GCSEs – only half of 14-16 year olds were required to do two hours’ PE because they were concentrating on exams and core subjects. The report said that while creative approaches to PE were paying off, the Government still needed to introduce more ambitious targets to improve worrying levels of health and fitness. Judith added: “We know that while physical education is a contributing factor towards the fight against obesity, it cannot be the sole cure and many other things, like healthy eating and activity outside school, need to be taken into consideration. Schools are able to look at these issues through PHSE programmes and while researching the report we found that the schools with strong links between these programmes and their sports provision were the most successful.”
Free gym for under fives in Liverpool
Slimming expert Rosemary Conley is launching a new weight loss programme for children. Kids 2 classes will be held at Rosemary Conley Diet and Fitness Clubs across the UK and are designed for youngsters over ten and a parent to attend together. The six-week programme will involve learning about healthy meals, fitness circuits and nutritional games and quizzes. Rosemary said: “This is not a slimming club for kids. It will really help them to feel successful and positive about their physical pursuits.”
CHILDREN under five in Liverpool are to get free gym memberships as part of a council scheme to tackle childhood obesity. The Futures scheme will offer a range of activities from active play and dance to basic ball exercises in 13 of the city's 15 Lifestyle Centres. Liverpool City Council is also giving free annual membership to 1,600 families so that they can join in. Council leader Warren Bradley said: "Nowhere else in the UK is delivering a health and fitness programme on this scale and, in the build up to us hosting the next Olympics, it would be a triumph if we could provide every child in the country free access to their local leisure centre. If Liverpool can do it so can other towns and cities.''
‘Get primary kids hooked on sport’ By Mary Ferguson HOOKING children on sport in primary school and improving teacher training will help transform physical education, according to the shadow sports minister. Hugh Robertson said schools are fed up with government initiatives and claimed they need more independence to just get on with it. The Conservatives have promised to improve the delivery of and access to sport by reintroducing competitive school fixture lists and improving the links between schools and sports clubs. Hugh said: “Over the four years I have been doing this job I’ve seen brilliant school sport delivered in atrocious environments and average school sport delivered with amazing facilities. The key is to help the teachers, instead of just hitting them with target after target. “And if we can capture children’s enthusiasm for sport between eight and 11 they are more likely to stay with it throughout their school years.
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Often by the time they get to secondary school it’s too late.” In their recent policy paper for sport, the Conservatives claim nearly one million school children do not receive the basic two hours of sport and PE each week and many school sports facilities remain unused after school hours. To combat this, Hugh said he wants to concentrate on school club links and has called for more support for the Association on Physical Education (AfPE), who claim there are only six hours devoted to PE during primary teacher training. And he said the drive towards competitive sport is the single biggest challenge that secondary schools face, as they struggle to find the teachers and curriculum time for it. He added: “I’m not sitting here thinking ‘I’m a Conservative, so I want to put a Conservative doctrine into school sport’. I’m taking the four years of what I’ve seen and saying good progress has been made in some areas, but there is still more to do.”
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Bobsleigh world champion Nicola Minichiello has held a masterclass for students in Yorkshire. The Olympian led the class at Camp Hill bobsleigh facility in Kirklington to mark her new role as an athlete mentor for Sky Sports Living for Sport. Students from Aireville School,
Skipton took part in the event and were tutored on a bob-push track. Nicola, who has worked as a teacher, joins a team of athlete mentors led by Olympic gold medallist Darren Campbell, who provide help and advice to youngsters involved with the programme.
Flooded club back on its feet AN AMATEUR boxing club damaged by flooding has reopened, with a former boxing champion at the helm. Mike Gibbons – a fully qualified Amateur Boxing association (ABA) coach – is heading up the team at the City of Hull club and he is targeting youngsters. Youngsters can train from the age of eight and Councillor Linda Chambers added: “It is great to see the club open again and reaching out to local youngsters. In addition to the many other amenities in the area, this offers another alternative for local people to get fit, get focused and have fun.”
Jackie tries to ignite a passion for exercise in kids By Mary Ferguson
Youth finals OVER 5,000 young athletes have appeared at the annual British Universities and College Sports Championships in Sheffield. The finals featured 20 different sports, with teams and individuals competing to gain the title of British University Champions. Tracey Baker, head of sport at the University of Sheffield said: “A number of Olympians have previously come through university sport systems and these championships can help expose any potential talent of the future.” Sheffield was selected to hold the first-ever British University Championships last year.
Jackie Lewis when she was training
A FORMER bodybuilder has turned to training children in a bid to boost their health and ignite a passion for exercise. Jackie Lewis, who has recently set up personal training company JL Fitness, runs kids’ exercise classes and gym sessions at her local community centre in County Durham. She has been helping to run the fitness suite at the community centre for a couple of years and, since Christmas, has been closing it for an hour a week to take a group of ten youngsters from ten to 14 through their paces in junior gym sessions. To keep their interest going, they are set challenges on the bikes and treadmills to cycle or run the distances between local points of interest. A big map on the wall charts their progress and they receive certificates at the end of their journey. Another group of children take part in fit kids sessions, which are run in the community centre hall and incorporate circuit training, tag rugby and fit ball exercises. Jackie said: “The Junior Gym has been going so well that we really want to put on another session but it wouldn’t be fair to the members who lose access to the gym for another hour, which is why we launched Fit Kids.”
Edwin Van De Sar has thrown his weight behind a new initiative designed to get more girls involved in sport. The Manchester United goalkeeper launched a girls’ futsal tournament for 14 to 16 year olds that will see teams from across the country compete for a place in the finals at the Red Devils’ training complex.
Jackie Lewis Children are also taught about the body and nutrition and are set little tests at the end of each exercise session. “I always ask the kids what they have eaten before they start and try and educate them why nutrition is important. It’s nice to see that they started out telling me they had sweets or pies and now it’s beans on toast or jacket potatoes. It shows they are learning.” The plan is for parents to come to the Fit Kids sessions once a month and either join in or observe, helping them get involved with their children’s health. Jackie added: “I felt I’d achieved what I’d wanted when I was an amateur bodybuilder and I’m really enjoying helping the kids enjoy exercise. I’d love to start working with even younger ones now.”
Edwin is firmly behind the project adding: “Nobody should miss out on sport simply because of where they live, which is why the work that StreetGames is doing up and down the country is so important. “This tournament is a great way to give young people a platform to demonstrate their skills and show everyone that there is a wealth of talent out there.”
Bid to get teens in the swim NEW initiatives to encourage under 16s to take advantage of free swimming sessions have been launched by DC Leisure and swimming brand Zoggs. The kids and family sessions have been created as part of Swim4Fitness, a pledge to help families get more active in the pool. Parents and children can learn about the benefits of swimming, find nutritional advice and access structured swim sessions and activities in a new interactive section on the website.
Over 60 per cent of councils in England now offer free swimming for under 16s. Mark Hammersley, CEO of Zoggs said: “The government’s new ‘free swimming’ initiative is a fantastic opportunity for people to make the most of their local pool. “Zoggs is committed to encouraging and helping everyone get more active as part of a healthier lifestyle and enhance the freedom and fun of swimming so is delighted to be supporting DC Leisure and all swimmers.”
St Lukes pick up their award at school sports colleges conference.
School scoops top award By Lyndsey Smith
Rosemarie Clark took part in the first SHOKK Fit Camp at Hertsmere Leisure’s Furzefield Centre. A programme of sports based activities and games as well as theory based sessions covering topics to assist the children in making healthier choices and lifestyle changes was held. 223 children attended the camp over five days and 87 per cent said that they would attend again.
A SCHOOL which offers advice to parents on cooking healthy meals is celebrating after scooping a top award. St Luke’s Science and Sports College in Exeter picked up the innovation award at the recent Youth Sports Trust Conference. One of its successful projects is a health night for parents. Kealey Sherwood, director of community, said: “Parents can come in and learn about healthy eating and cooking a nutritious meal on a budget. They can take part in yoga, dance and fitness classes as well as using
our fitness suite, exercising as a family or on their own or with friends, while kids go off and do different sports activities.” Kealey believes the school’s move to sports specialism inspired a new ethos of fitness, with student surveys carried out to find out youngsters’ attitudes to PE and sport, and their eating and drinking habits. Kealey added: “We are able to gauge pupils’ opinions now. For example we have 26 per cent of our pupils cycling to school when the national average is six per cent, yet some girls say if they cycle to school they have to wear a helmet, and then have nowhere to straighten their hair – there is always
room for improvement. We are listening and trying to do as much as we can. Working with the pupils will hopefully encourage everyone to become more physically active.” The school offers activities like kite surfing and mountain biking alongside traditional sports. Kealey added: “We have a great take up before, during and after school. We are big on health and well being and we have breakfast clubs where kids can take part in a variety of activities before being given a healthy breakfast, there is lots of informal play at break times, and every pupil carries a bottle of water around which they also take into lessons.”
Elite coaching could be extended to other sports By Lyndsey Smith ELITE sports coaching in a school in Dorset will be rolled out to other sports if the success and popularity it has achieved in cricket continues. The Queen Elizabeth specialist sports college in Wimborne Minster has brought in ex pupil and former county cricketer for Hampshire and Gloucester, Richard Scott, to coach six talent identified youngsters. Richard runs a breakfast club and Tony Watson, head of PE, says the staff are benefiting as well as the kids. He added: “Staff are looking to learn techniques too so that we can eventually roll out the coaching for everyone. “We do have cricket on a participation basis but nothing quite so specific as what Richard can teach. “We identified six youngsters who have showed massive potential and we will look to cascade down from there so other pupils can benefit too.”
The school runs a programme from which the kids were picked and Tony sees no reason why elite coaching cannot be offered in other sports in the future. “This is working very well for us. Richard comes in and takes the kids through a comprehensive warm up, helps them develop fielding skills and running strategies and then works on their batting. “It is sport specific stuff and I think with the number of young athletes we have on the programme we will look at bringing coaches in for other sports to help other talent. “We operate sport for all on a large scale so we don’t have to feel we are doing something wrong by zoning in on those that with the right help could go a long way. “Apart from curriculum PE we also bring in trampolining, badminton, basketball and swimming coaches and we have lots of initiatives running now. “Perhaps where we used to get a dozen pupils after school, interest has now trebled by the coaches coming in.”
news 7 Obesity intervention programme SHINE has been helping overweight children get their lives back for years, counting TV presenter Gok Wan as one of its biggest supporters. Mary Ferguson reports on an initiative that tackles obesity at the top of the scale.
Helping overweight youngsters shine STANDING for Self Help Independence Nutrition and Exercise, many of the children SHINE works with have BMIs over 40 and serious health problems associated with obesity. And one of its youngsters – a 15 year old boy weighing 30 stones – recently appeared on Gok Wan’s Channel Four show ‘Too fat, too young’, highlighting the work of the programme. Kath Sharman founded the project in Sheffield five years ago and it has been operational in Plymouth and Oldham for a year, after being taken on by the NHS. A former nurse, Kath trained as a counsellor and became a child and adolescent specialist. She said: “A lot of the kids I saw were crippled by low self esteem because of weight issues so when I was approached by the then director of Education Action Zone to set up SHINE, I jumped at the chance. “The first programme we ran in 2003 was a shambles because we delivered it just like a school lesson, with power point presentations. “So the kids that took part in that
first one became our advisory group and committee and they still shape how we run things today.” So far, 264 children in Sheffield have been helped through SHINE, which runs three 12 week programmes a year. Youngsters aged 11-17 are referred by GPs, school nurses or social services – but a large number also refer themselves. The longest standing member of the committee, who is now 18 and a director of the programme, lost four and a half stones and is now doing a degree. The chair of the committee has lost over six stones and the biggest weight loss to date has been eight and a half stones. Kath, who herself has lost ten stone since setting up SHINE, said: “The sad thing is that a lot of parents don’t believe – or refuse to believe – that their child is overweight. “But bullying is one of the big problems for overweight children and one of our girls was even attacked with a pin to see if she would pop. “And because it’s so traumatic for
many kids to take part in PE, we write them letters that tell the school they are getting their two hours with us.” The SHINE programmes consist of an initial 12 weeks’ learning about nutrition, self esteem, managing anxiety and depression and learning to differentiate between physical and psychological hunger. Education sessions are held on a Saturday at a youth centre and physical activities take place at a local leisure centre. There are two hours of team sports on a Tuesday, swimming on a Wednesday and gym sessions on a Saturday morning. The two hour education sessions are then followed by a dance class. Funding comes from Sheffield City Council, Children In Need and other small grants, but the programme is struggling for money. Kath added: “The biggest problem we face is trying to secure funding. Our kids are classed as morbidly obese, unlike programmes like MEND and Watch It!. “Consequently they tend to have other serious health problems like
Kath Sharman asthma, diabetes and high blood pressure, as well as psychological difficulties like self harming. “This means the programme costs more because we have to use nurses, psychologists and nutritionists.”
8 news Trinity Deneview School in Newcastle was rewarded for its efforts in outdoor physical activity when it was voted school of the year for innovation by its SSP. Lyndsey Smith spoke with head of PE, Mervyn Riley, to find out what makes his school stand out.
Getting kids out of school lands Mervyn a top award MERVYN is a former territorial army instructor and is now a mountain leader, and it was his passion for the outdoors that has helped the secondary school encourage more of its students to be active. It has so far offered classes in rockclimbing, hill walking, orienteering, mountain biking, obstacle courses and beachwalks. He said: “Activities take place on my site and I have more flexibility in making things happen in terms of getting the kids out of school. “We offer outdoor and residential activities and I get lots of support from the school, with outdoor activities now written into the school improvement plan. “I aim for 100 per cent full time attenders six times a year, with the other sites working in cycles and offering different activities sporadically.” Mervyn said he selected outdoors events as they offered a workout over a more prolonged period and can also help build stamina.
He added: “Anyone can kick a ball around for a few minutes but we are talking about sustained effort for a few hours – sustained physical activity over a prolonged period. “You can see in the competitive games we play at school the one thing lacking is stamina and this works wonders. “Cross country is a good example of when stamina comes to the fore and those that win are also those with a little bit of grit and determination – and it also helps to develop a degree of confidence. “The main problems I find is that kids don’t cope very well with not winning and PE is a steep learning curve in terms of that. “The outdoor stuff is more cooperative activity, some find it difficult but I think they surprise themselves in terms of the degree of cooperation they have and the engagement of the kids has a knock on effect across the whole curriculum. “A lot of the kids are inner city and it can be a bit disorientating for them
Mervyn Riley when we go to the Highlands or to the Lake District. “You have the would-be hard cases in tears as it starts to get dark and they are walking through the woods
wanting to hold your hand and it proves very beneficial in terms of communication. “It’s all about broadening their horizons.”
Sharron with some young people during one of the sessions.
Sharron helps raise profile of young apprenticeships OLYMPIC champion Sharron Davies was one of the stars who took part in a series of events to raise the profile of young apprenticeships in sport and active leisure. She was joined by paralympian Mickey Bushell for the sessions organised by SkillsActive which included presentations, talks, meetings and activity sessions. School pupils, college students and employers came together to discover more about the benefits of sports apprenticeships to both employers and young people. Stephen Studd, chief executive of
SkillsActive said: “Sport and active leisure is a key area for a number of reasons. Not only does it contribute to the Government’s targets for improving the health of the nation and tackling the growing obesity crisis, it also features high on the agenda in the run up to the London 2012 Olympics. There’s never been a better or more exciting time to get involved.” The sessions ran as part of National Apprentice Week in London, Brighton, Bristol, Bolton, Buxton, Telford, Wellingborough, Sunderland, Harrogate and Benfleet.
news 9 Collecting the Sunday Times PE teacher of the year award, Cheryl Buckley was told she had revolutionised a failing PE department. Lyndsey Smith reports.
Cheryl nets award for turning PE around CHERYL has been at Baxter College in Kidderminster for six years. Now assistant principal, the former head of PE is still line manager for her old department, teaching 15 lessons a week, and coming up with new ideas. She said: “When I first arrived the kids were okay with PE but hardly over enthusiastic. A lot of things were based on high performance levels and this wasn’t my ethos at all. “I was all for mass participation. This didn’t mean disregarding the kids who were top end performers – and we had a few – it just meant allowing other kids that weren’t so good to take part as well.” The first step was to change the
way school sports days were run. Different activities such as tug of war competitions were introduced to encourage the whole school to take part. “You used to see the high level kids taking part whilst the rest of the students were on the sidelines heckling. A varied programme of activities suited to all levels and abilities alleviated that and encouraged everyone to get involved. “We applied the concept to lessons too. We tried to structure the curriculum to suit the kids rather than the teachers. Some groups we introduced tag rugby instead of traditional rugby because it was far easier for them to get to grips with – it’s about the kids feeling comfort-
able and enjoying themselves and we have sports captains acting as a student voice that tell us what they want.” Boys and girls are split before they mix again at year 11 and then groups are split again into differing abilities. “Single sex groups proved beneficial, particularly for the girls who struggled with their confidence when it came to sport. “The groups are very flexible to allow everyone a fair chance. If you are a star gymnast or national swimmer but can’t play football or netball it doesn’t matter. “They can be in the lower band for the team sport and the top for their particular talent giving them a
chance to shine on that stage.” The headteacher at Baxter is a PE specialist and Cheryl says that has been instrumental in allowing her to get things done. “He believes PE has a huge role to play and that made my job so much easier. He backs us all the way as a department and even obtained funding to build us a Wii room – a reward for the kids when they have done well. “He fully embraces PE and we are lucky to have such a positive and forward thinking department. We have a mix of very experienced and newly qualified staff who count ourselves lucky we are at a school where PE isn’t constantly thrown to the back of the pile.”
12,000 involved in second school sports festival By Mary Ferguson A SCHOOL sports festival designed to inspire pupils to enjoy PE has taken place for the second time in Bristol. The Bristol Festival of School Sport and Culture took place over three days, involving 12,000 pupils from 18 different schools in the area. Teachers were instructed to bring along pupils who don’t appear to enjoy team sports in PE and would benefit from competing at a lower level. The aim was to introduce them to new activities and encourage them to enjoy team games by playing against children of a similar ability. Lisa Blacow, competition manager for The West of England Sport Trust (Wesport)– who helped organise the festival – said: “It’s very important for us to provide opportunities for kids to try out more activities and team
sport. The festival was a chance for them to gain confidence and to inspire them to take more of an interest in PE when they return to school.” Lisa said there used to be a pantathlon event every year, but it became too competitive. So when Wesport took over, they wanted to create an event that still brought schools together, but took away the overly-competitive element. “Last year was a bit of a test event but the feedback we got was fantastic. We have seen great examples where young leaders have enjoyed a sport here and taken it back to their school, so people that couldn’t attend can benefit too. “And some schools have even changed their curriculum to incorporate some of the more different sports like ultimate Frisbee and golf.”
Other sports on offer at the festival included tag rugby, lacrosse, boccia, t-ball and flag football. Lisa added: “The festival was a great way for teachers to see the kids they
Wirral school keeps getting active in the family ... By Lyndsey Smith A FAMILY night has been introduced at a school in the Wirral to allow parents and children to get active together. Park High Sport College struggled to encourage its students to take part in physical activity and decided to host a free family night once a week to offer something different. The school has picked up an innovation award at the schools sports colleges conference for their efforts and director of community, Lilian Lancely, said the benefits had been clear to see. She said: “For us to engage our kids we had to try and change their culture - change their attitude, self-esteem and confidence. “We thought the way forward was to engage their families and we did this through the medium
of physical activity. “We live in an area high in unemployment and social deprivation. People in Birkenhead, on average, live ten years less than those in other areas of the borough, and these nights are about a whole lot of health issues but also social capacity building.” Visitors are able to use the fitness suite, climbing wall and trampolines, and Boxercise classes are also available. Lilian said: “Our boxercise sessions are packed and it is all about developing confidence. We want parents to be active and healthy and involved with their children. “Our nights aren’t structured or prescriptive, they can do a different activity every week if they like - it’s about motivation.” The school also has a Saturday pre-school club with gymnastics
sessions helping promote healthy activity for the under fives. Numeracy and literacy are addressed through the use of themes and stories and this programme has raised standards of behaviour and attainment in gymnastics and physical education whilst providing a networking facility for parents. Lilian added: “This initiative has impacted on our kids’ activity levels massively. If they can see their parents getting involved they are more actively encouraged to get involved, and it has had an impact on our daily success. “We are now seeing more kids doing activity recreationally at lunchtime or after school clubs and it is all about quality, consistency and development for us now.”
don’t normally notice during PE games because of the stronger players. It shows that pupils can enjoy competitive sport – as long as they are playing at the right level.”
Partnership’s work recognised with NSPCC award A SPORTS partnership has become the first in the country to receive an award for its work with children’s safety. Tyne and Wear Sport have achieved the advanced NSPCC award in recognition of its work. David Marrin, assistant director, said: “I am delighted with this significant achievement that recognises the partnership's commitment to protecting children and young people in sport. “The hard work will lead to a safer environment for them to enjoy sport and I am particularly proud we are the first County Sport Partnership to achieve the advanced level.” Nick Slinn, from the NSPCC’s Child Protection in Sport Unit added: “It is clear that Tyne and Wear Sport has effectively embedded safeguarding in its work, and is supporting its partners to take steps so that children and young people can enjoy their sporting activities in a safe environment.”
Former nurse prescribes lots of games By Louise Cordell A FORMER nurse has set up her own fitness company because she was fed up of seeing so many overweight children pass through the health service. Mum-of-three Sue Young was a nurse in Wearside for 23 years and decided to offer a fitness service to schools that includes activities like hopper races, games of tag, hulahooping and skipping. She said: “I have three kids of my own and I didn’t want them or any of their generation to fall into the obesity trap and become just another statistic. “It is an absolute tragedy that it is happening, so I was looking for a way to encourage them to get fit and have fun while doing it. “Basically we do anything we can to keep their heart rate up while they are enjoying themselves. “Many activities offered are too spe-
cific – and if kids don’t want to do them or don’t have the skills, then they feel excluded. “Some also feel embarrassed about their fitness or body shape and would rather not get involved so we try to take their minds off that.” Sue took on a franchise from FitKid and provides the lessons in several primary schools – she is now looking to expand into secondaries. She is trying to push the five-hour offer but says many schools have trouble meeting the recommendations. She added: “I know that most schools have trouble finding the time to provide enough games time – a lot that I have been to haven’t come anywhere near. “However, I have found that older children seem to enjoy the sessions just as much as the younger ones so my focus now is to provide the classes for as many as possible.”
Sue Young and her ‘FitKids’ Sam, Emily and Amy
A half-term soccer camp held in Tameside has been hailed a success by its organisers. Hattersley’s Sport in the Community team hosted the event which saw young people from the neighbourhood take part in a week’s worth of football related activities at the Ken Ward Sports Centre. As well as practical training and healthy eating sessions, it also included a special Futsal tournament from StreetGames, the national charity which helps young people from disadvantaged backgrounds access sport.
Childhood obesity to be tackled By Mary Ferguson A THREE-YEAR project to tackle childhood obesity in Rotherham is set to begin in May. The Carnegie Club is an extension of the Carnegie Weight Loss Camps that run in Leeds and will enable overweight youngsters aged eight to 17 to attend weekly lifestyle sessions, held at local DC Leisure run sports centres. Over the 12-week term, participants will increase their levels of activity, improve their understanding of diet and nutrition and hopefully make a long term behavioural change. Regular updates and reviews will
continue after completion of the course. There will also be links with schools, leisure centres, libraries and supermarkets to promote the scheme and encourage people to self-refer on to the programme. Carol Weir, public health specialist for NHS Rotherham, said: “We are the first PCT in the country to launch this type of programme and on this scale. “The significant level of investment demonstrates the priority it has been given and our commitment to reducing obesity levels in Rotherham.”
news 11 Children in Wales are taking up more sport than ever thanks to two initiatives designed to encourage exercise throughout their school lives. Mary Ferguson reports.
Welsh initiatives aim to keep kids moving DRAGON Sport and 5X60 were launched by Sports Council Wales to boost participation in extra-curricular physical activity in both primary and secondary schools. Dragon Sport, targeted at under 11s and launched in 2000, encourages participation in football, rugby, cricket, athletics, netball, hockey, tennis and golf. And in 2006, 5X60 – which represents 60 minutes of exercise, five times a week – was introduced to encourage kids to keep up the good habits once they move up to secondary school. 94 per cent of primary schools and 96 per cent of secondary schools are currently involved in the initiatives. Anne Hamilton, head of people and programme development at Sports Council Wales said: “Dragon Sport has had a huge impact on children in Wales. Extra curricular participation figures have gone up significantly – it really has been a massive jump. “We offer the traditional sports
because people recognise them and the basic skills the kids learn can then be applied to other sports.” Primary school teachers play a key role in the delivery of the activities, but the project offers a training programme to get parents involved too. By learning the skills themselves, they are then in a position to teach and encourage their own children at home. The 5X60 project was introduced to follow on from Dragon Sports and encourage those who had picked up sport at primary level, to continue through secondary school. Anne said: “We were seeing this mammoth increase in primary school kids taking up activity but that wasn’t being mirrored by a continuation into secondary school so we had to create extra opportunities for kids of that age.” The programme was launched in 2006 by Welsh Big Brother stars Glyn Wise and Imogen Thomas, selected to be ‘realistic’ role models for the teenagers being targeted.
A Dragon Sports participant during a session with rugby players from the Cardiff Blues
Glyn and Imogen at the launch of 5X60 Outdoor and adventure activities such as surfing and climbing, recreational activities such as aerobics and martial arts and pursuits like cheerleading, dodgeball and trampolining have all been provided by the project. Anne added: “We are trying to encourage a greater range of young
people to take part in sport. There are typical pupils who get into the school teams and end up playing for them all because they are so skilled, but we want to provide opportunities for other kids who are perhaps not so successful. And that means targeting primary and secondary schools together.”
Two members of Blackburn Rovers Academy staff are pioneering a psychological profiling tool which they believe will lead to the club producing more first team stars of the future. Lyndsey Smith found out more.
For further information please contact Tony Faulkner and Steve Nickson at Tony.firstname.lastname@example.org or Steve at email@example.com
Steve Nickson and Tony Faulkner
Shaping stars of the future ... THE history of football is littered with examples of teenage prodigies who failed to fufill their potential whilst others, who once shared the same hype, went on to become global superstars. For every Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard there are dozens of players blessed with natural talent who barely break through into the professional game, let alone make it into the world’s elite. Tony Faulkner, head of the medical department, and Steve Nickson, head of recruitment, believe a lot of this is down to attitude and that, as in a number of sports, an objective approach to managing the mental development of young aspiring footballers is very much a grey area. To combat this they have devised a series of specially designed questionnaires, psychometric tests and physical exercises to profile individuals. It consists of four specific areas – constructive evaluation, mindset,
mental toughness and language and behaviour – that enables the coach to identify and address any mental deficiencies that might exist. Having evaluated players’ scores they identify areas where players are mentally weak and use a range of skills training to develop those psychological traits. Tony says this is beneficial as talent alone is not enough. “Over the years when talented players have hit that brick wall they often struggle and this is another aspect to add to their already good skills set. “When lads come in we can start to profile them and find out where they are on the continuum of psychological development, and then, depending on what we find, we can start to identify possible weaknesses and put mental skills training in place to help them develop.” The idea came about five years ago when academy staff got together asking the question: What makes a pro-
fessional footballer? It was widely recognised that athletes with a good attitude were generally more successful and it was this prompting that led to Tony and Steve’s research. Travelling the world and meeting experts from many fields they aimed to discover ways they could make their players more mentally proficient. Tony said: “It has been an interesting journey and we have sought advice from performance experts from all over the world in all sorts of industries. One common denominator in diverse professions was attitude. There were lots of cross overs that correlated within different sectors. We want all our top athletes to be self managing psychologically when they are on the pitch – our goal is that the player becomes self-reliant and we have devised exercises that become useful techniques which will sharpen their head game.”
Profiling gives youths tools and strategies they need PSYCHOLOGICAL profiling is now in place at Blackburn from the age of 14 as experts believe children do not have the life experience to be able to retain a realistic picture in the profile before that. However, pre-14s are introduced to a process within their coaching syllabus that exposes them to the psychological, social and emotional aspects of the model. Blackburn have been told by the Premier League they are the only club in the UK to be running anything like this at such depth and Tony said: “There needs to be an acceptance that putting a model like this in place is needed and I think there is a long way to go in terms of that. “Youngsters come into our academy and into a structured environment where it is football, football, football
and this is about giving them tools and strategies to deal with setbacks they come across. “There is a great quote from a project at San Francisco university that says 80 per cent of successful athletes say it is down to their attitude rather than talent yet there are no structured programmes in place – it isn’t logical.” Tony and Steve plan to visit AC Milan – who run a similar programme – in June and Tony added: “I have been speaking to their doctor who believes we are now coming into the generation of mental preparation and I certainly hope that is the case. “As Jose Mourinho once said: “Without addressing the mental deficiencies we are not giving players the tools to play at the top level.”
The four areas of the model are broken down as follows:
potential requires development of both hard and soft skills.
Self constructive evaluation This enables the player to become self aware and learn how the mind can affect both performance and development.
Mental toughness To assess and develop the traits of: commitment, control, challenge and confidence.
Mindset To assess and develop the players’ mindset: fixed mindset (F.M.S) or growth mindset (G.M.S) F.M.S – Individuals who only rely on hard skills – their physical talent – to progress. G.M.S – Individuals who are aware that
Language and behaviour To assess how a player perceives his view of the world through the language he uses in conversation. This gives the coach the knowledge of the player’s motivational and working traits, which allows them to influence the player’s behaviour by matching the player’s language.
Youngsters net basketball star as a mentor By Lyndsey Smith A FORMER pro-basketball star is passing on his skills to youngsters in Lambeth – acting as a mentor to dozens of young people across the borough. Former England player Junior Williams – also of Brixton Top Cats, London Towers, and Oklahoma City University in the USA – runs free basketball coaching sessions for 11 to 20 year olds from the Lilian Bayliss Old School in Kennington. He said: “Sport is really important for young people in helping them develop life skills, such as companionship, team work, respect and discipline. “I believe my job is as much about helping young people develop life skills as it is developing basketball skills, and I always tell young players if they work hard, they will get better and results will come – that applies as much with school work as it does
with basketball.” Around 180 young people take part, competing in leagues as Kennington Top Cats. Junior said: “All the sessions are free and I am really keen to encourage more young people to get involved as I love coaching and getting kids interested in sport. “It's not just about developing elite players who may have a future in the game professionally - it’s seeing kids having a good time, making friends and learning life skills that really gives me a kick." Lambeth Council has refurbished basketball facilities in Larkhall Park thanks to funding by NBA Europe and Adidas as part of the NBA Cares initiative. Coun Mark Bennett, cabinet member for sport, added: “Basketball is a sport which is really growing in popularity and we want to make it a key sport for development in Lambeth in the run up to the 2012 Games.”
SHOKK and Hull City Council have joined forces in the fight against childhood obesity with the installation of the full SHOKK concept at Woodford Leisure Centre. The facility is the first of its kind in the area and was officially opened by Deputy Lord Mayor Karen Woods. Sharon Bingham, area manager for Hull Leisure said: “It doesn't matter if children are big, tall, thin or small or have the ability to catch or kick – the new gym represents the kind of future we all want for the children of Hull, which is an active and healthy one. Sport and physical activity are vital elements in a young person's life, which brings health and social benefits. This will hopefully lay the foundations which they can take into their adult life.”
Students gain initiative insight STUDENTS at Canterbury’s Christ Church University enjoyed a guest lecture from Ian Wakefield, business development manager for the Institute of Sport and Recreation Management (ISRM). The sports management undergraduates gained an insight into initiatives to capitalise on the increased national interest in sport and learned
how professional bodies can raise standards of professionalism in the sector. Ian said: “Each year there are around 75,000 students who graduate with sport related degrees in the UK. These people are the future of our industry, so it is essential that professional bodies such as the ISRM engage with universities in this way.”
Bursaries for talented youngsters DERBYSHIRE’S 2009 Talented Athlete Fund has been launched by the performance director for British cycling. David Brailsford joined more than 80 young sporting stars who are competing for England or Great Britain or have been identified as having the potential to do so within
18 months. Former national netball coach Liz Broomhead also hosted a workshop for parents, which looked at how they can best support their child on their chosen sporting path. Each of the athletes who attended received a £300 bursary from the fund to help with training and competition costs.
Olympic star Darren Campbell helped launch the UK School Games in Wales – the first time the event will be held in the country. The gold medallist – this year’s ambassador – was joined at Cardiff Castle by a selection of past and present UKSG competitors.
Report looks at disability pathway A REPORT has been commissioned to explore how the UK school games can be more effective at increasing opportunities for young disabled people. The Youth Sport Trust’s report will reflect on the disability pathway leading to the event to increase opportunities. Alison Oliver, director of sport for the YST said: “We have made some excellent progress in recent years to ensure that a disability programme is established with swimming, athletics and table tennis all included
last year. “The findings of this commission will allow us to focus our efforts even further and ensure that the games lead to increased opportunities and improved provision for all young people.” Multi-paralympic medallist swimmer Marc Woods, and BBC commentator Paul Dickenson, who represented Great Britain in hammer at the 1976 and 1980 Olympics, will lead the commission consulting with a range of sporting and disability federations.
Wanted: PE teachers for scheme By Christina Eccles A COMPANY which specialises in sending sports coaches to schools is looking for PE teachers to help roll the scheme out nationwide. Sports Xtra runs a fitness programme in primary schools across Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Essex and North London to promote physical activity. And now it is looking for more PE teachers to come on board to manage the teams of coaches that go into schools to help deliver the PE lessons. Managing director Gareth Lippiatt said: “We hope PE teachers would want to get involved. “They have already got the background knowledge and are passionate about developing young people through sport. “We can provide them with the training and they may also have a lot of key contacts which would be useful. “They also understand that there is a need for what we do so we think this is something that could work well.” The project offers teaching plans and resources to over 200 schools and some even have Sports Xtra coaches sent in to deliver the lessons – something which Gareth said has become more popular. He added: “We are going out to four or five more areas in the next six
Managing director Gareth Lippiatt months and we have definitely found a model that works. “I am pretty confident we have found a solution. “We are seeking to recruit franchisees who have experience in teaching, management or sales. “The key to success in this industry is in building strong relationships and it is definitely a ‘people business’.” The company has been working in schools since 2002. Since the franchising scheme launched last November it has received about 200 enquiries.
The climbing wall which Sports Xtra can take into schools
A disability sports fun day took place at a school in Essex with help from Chelsea FC players. Organised by Thurrock Council and Basildon College, Treetops School hosted the event designed to give disabled children the opportunity of taking part in coached sessions in a variety of sports and activities. Chelsea FC provided the football session with the college manning the multi-activity circuit and the youngsters were given the chance to try ‘new age kurling’, a variation of curling played on a hard surface instead of ice.
Dance beating most activities in popularity By Louise Cordell DANCE is now the second most popular activity in Britain’s schools according to new research from the Arts Council. Over the last four years the number of pupils choosing the subject has risen by 83 per cent, with only football attracting higher numbers. Studies show there has also been a big increase in the number of boys taking part in dance lessons, now making up a third of those involved. Sarah-Jane Watkinson, development manager for the National Dance Teachers Association, said: “I think the response to dance has been so good because it is such an accessible part of contemporary culture – it makes up a big part of young people’s social lives. “It appeals to boys who already enjoy physical activity, because fitness is so important in dance, but also to those who are reluctant to take part in team sports. “They definitely seem to be drawn to the more energetic forms like hip hop and break dancing and it is a great way for them to burn off energy. “The discipline also has a lot of strong male role models, which is important to young boys, and
because it is so widely popular now, they don’t need to feel afraid to experiment and try something different.” A dance manifesto recently produced by Dance UK described access to dance in schools as a lottery, as there are not enough specialist teachers to deal with increased demand. It points out that the time given over to dance in different areas varies greatly, with some ignoring it completely – meaning that pupils never get the chance to take part. Sarah-Jane added: “Some schools have really taken it on board and are making the most of the fact that it fulfills physical activity and cultural requirements, bringing many different benefits to the pupils, but others still need to look more creatively at how it could be used. “I think vital advice for schools is to get professionals in to work with the kids. It gives the lessons much more kudos, the kids respond much better and it is great for their self esteem to be working alongside experts. “It gives them something to aspire to and they can see what they might be able to achieve.”
A student from Stoke on Trent 6th Form College
16 dance action
Dance mat activity could benefit special needs pupils says expert By Louise Cordell PUPILS with special needs could benefit from using dance mats as part of their activity timetable according to an industry expert. Paul Shinners, commercial director at Pulse, has worked with many special schools and contributed to studies into exer-gaming products in America.
He has praised the dance machines for their ability to improve coordination, concentration, reaction times and spatial awareness in a fun context. They can also be often used to strengthen children’s communication and social skills through the competitive nature of the games and the group interaction involved.
He said: “Movement is essential to developing health and emotional well-being in children.
physical coordination and memory – all of which can be addressed with dance machines.
“Special needs provision in sport is now mandatory and dance machines cater for neurological disabilities such as autism and dyspraxia.
“Autistic children are predominately boys and they have little or no musical ability – however they can memorise the dance steps through concentration.
“Children with dyslexia and ADHD lack skills such as spatial awareness, attention control, problem solving,
“Many of the world champions in the dance mat community are boys with special needs.”
Junckers spring into action ...
National move for dance initiative
WHEN The Place, the UK’s premier centre for contemporary dance, needed floors for its new studios, Junckers was first choice to supply the highly technical and specialist flooring required. Nigel Hinds, project director for The Place said: “There’s something intangible about the balance of qualities – warmth, support, spring – that make an ideal floor for creating dance, but an artist knows when it feels right. “Having worked with Junckers before, we knew we’d get the best possible floors and specialist technical knowledge.” As The Place’s studios are used 14 hours a day, 364 days a year, an extremely durable surface is essential. Junckers pre-finished 22 mm Beech
A NEW national initiative has been launched to help give children and young people the opportunity to dance. U.Dance was introduced at the Youth Dance England conference and aims to give every child the chance to take part in a dance performance each year. It is hoped that the scheme will inspire new dance opportunities both in and out of school as well as support dance teachers and practitioners and their professional development opportunities. Following a successful six-month pilot scheme, U.Dance is now open to submissions from all over the country and plans to have reached
SylvaSport Premium, nailed to Junckers New Era UnoBat cradle leveling system provide support without being rigid and responds beautifully to the dancers’ every step. The flooring contractors were VA Hutchison Flooring Ltd. For more information call: 01376 534700 or visit: www.junckers.com
every school and youth dance group across England by 2011. The initiative has involved over five per cent of primary and secondary schools, with a total of over 1,000 schools and 26,000 children and young people taking part. Linda Jasper, director of Youth Dance England, said: “U.Dance is one of YDE’s key national programmes and has already had an unprecedented response from dance performance groups both in and out of school. “We look forward to the programme moving from strength to strength over the next few years.”
18 dance action
NQTs lacking confidence in teaching dance By Mary Ferguson NEWLY qualified primary school teachers lack the confidence to deliver effective dance lessons in PE because they don’t receive the right training, it has been claimed. Max Amesbury, lead trainer for PE and sport development with Education Leeds, told Future Fitness that a deficit of effective training at university means many NQTs then start the job with low confidence, particularly when it comes to teaching dance and gymnastics. Max, a former head teacher, said: “From my own experience and from talking to other heads, it’s clear that a lot of NQTs are coming out of university without the confidence and expertise to teach PE and this specifically applies to dance and gymnastics. They are often enthusiastic but just don’t have the experience,
because it’s not addressed in enough depth at university.” To help combat the problem, Education Leeds is considering the launch of extra training for NQTs in dance and gymnastics, taking place for 60 hours over a nine-month period. The initiative would be an extension of their successful Leeds PE and Sport certificate, given to high level teaching assistants who complete training to become leaders of PE and sport in their primary schools. Margaret Talbot, chief executive of the Association for Physical Education added: “You can’t generalise – some NQTs are very well prepared when they start the job but some are not because they don’t receive enough training. There is a need for top-up training for some people but the real solution is to make sure the initial training is right.”
‘Danceathon’ in memory of Daniel A COLLEGE in the North East has held a special dance event in memory of a sports student who died last year. Northumberland College put on a ‘danceathon’ for Daniel Petini, who died of leukemia, and raised money
for the Teenage Cancer Trust. There was a variety of different dance styles at the event with specialist instructors and interactive martial arts demonstrations. To help raise money students offered sports massages in return for a donation.
A dance initiative in the North East has started a second term thanks to the growing popularity of street dance. The ten-week hip hop street dance course has been rolled out to a further four secondary schools plus a special school, after a successful pilot last year. The course, run in conjunction with Stockton School Sports Partnership and Stockton Sports Development, combines the physical and creative aspects of dance. Community dance coach Lyndsey Davies said the uptake from the boys has been as good as the girls. She added: “The response from the kids
has been excellent. The classes are voluntary and we have had between 22 and 30 attending including boys. In fact the boys have really taken to the street dance. I think it’s the cool factor and we have looked to employing a male break dancing coach so they have a role model to look up to.” The programme reflects the current trend for street dance and break dance and Lyndsey, along with three specialist dance teachers are working to provide a programme of dance routines and choreography that aims to encourage the children into after school dance classes.
20 dance action The Gateshead Schools Dance Festival began 18 years ago with 12 local schools taking part. Since then the event has grown and this year over 2,000 children got involved, celebrating styles of dance from all over the world. Christina Eccles found out more.
Festival makes great strides EVERY secondary school in Gateshead took part in this year’s festival, with 69 schools performing different styles of dance on stage at The Sage Gateshead. Organisers say the increase in the number of schools taking part and its move from a local leisure centre to this major venue shows how the festival has progressed – and how much the popularity of dance as a way for young people to keep fit and have fun has grown. According to Gateshead Council’s physical education and sports advisor Alun Davies – who organised the festival – dance in schools has become more popular and this increase has been seen especially in boys. He told Future Fitness that when the dance festival first began, there were a lot more girls taking part but at recent events, more boys have got involved too. He said the key to getting boys more involved was picking broad ranging themes – this year was styles of dance from all around the world and next year they are looking at dance from films and musicals. Alun explained: “For years we
noticed that nearly all of the dancers were girls but we wrote to the schools as part of their registration and encouraged them to include boys in their dances. “Recently we have had more boys taking part – you can make it appealing to the boys. With the younger age groups and infant classes, they have always got a mixed class. “It depends on your approach. The theme this year was dance from around the world – if we had made the themes narrow, it would have limited numbers.” Displays at the festival included styles such as break-dancing, rock 'n' roll, jive and hip hop and another first for this year’s event was that members of staff from three of the borough’s schools also took part. Alun added: “This was the first time that we invited the staff to be part of it. It was great for the kids as they could see them as good role models.” Future plans for the festival include an Olympic theme in 2012 which may include dances from cities which have previously held the Olympic Games.
Cheerleading Platforms weekends can help are launched teens get fit – study SCHOOLS can now get their pupils dancing with a new series of cheerleading weekends launched by PGL centres. Instructors from the British Cheerleading Association help groups practice and perfect formations and routines, including pom and cheer dances. Two different sessions are available, introductory and intermediate, which allow anyone to get involved and start improving their fitness levels. PGL also runs a range of other weekend contemporary dance workshops in partnership with FitPro. These workshops begin with group work, learning basic steps, practising various styles and the building up short routines. More complex sequences are then introduced and the weekend culminates with a complete performance of the finished routine.
By Nicola Hyde EARLY findings from a research project into the benefits of five-point dance platforms has found they can help teenage girls get fit. The £47,000 study, conducted by Heriot-Watt University, is the first controlled research project to look into the impact of exergaming and dance mats on teenage girls. The study proved that teenage girls can achieve moderate intensity exercise whilst playing on the ZigZag’s five-point platforms and a 300 per cent increase in energy expenditure compared to sedentary sitting. Fergus Ahern, managing director of ZigZag said: “It has been proven that girls’ activity levels significantly drop between the ages of 10 and 15 years of age.
The research looks into the impact of exergaming and dance mats on teenage girls. “We also know that if a girl continues to take part in physical activity during her teenage years, she is more likely to remain active as an adult. “Dancing is one of the activities that teenage girls identify as being most enjoyable. “I believe that this research is immensely important and will help us to understand how best to use dance mats and exergaming to help improve the health and wellbeing of our children.” The second stage of the research project will look at motor coordination, perceived skill and physical selfperception and is due for completion in June.
Trampoline workout success By Mary Ferguson A NEW workout that uses individual trampolines has been hailed a success by a sports partnership which introduced it to students as an extracurricular activity. Urban Rebounding involves children working out on individual mini trampolines, typically as part of a fitness class led by a teacher. The Newcastle School Sports Partnership introduced the trampolines – known as rebounders – last November by providing a day long teacher training course. In the same month, six mixed school groups from across the city were invited to try them out, helped by specialist trainers. Now, there are nine secondary schools on the waiting list, with 30 urban rebounders being shuffled round city schools for after-school sessions. Ian Kendall, partnership development officer for the NSSP, told Future Fitness: “I came across the concept at a conference and really wanted to get
them up to Newcastle, but we could only get funding for 30, which is why they are being introduced to schools like this. “However my aim for the future is to buy more, so schools can have their own and be able to use them in curriculum time too.” The rebounders can be used by pupils aged seven upwards, but most of the NSSP schools involved are secondaries. According to research, urban rebounding is 68 per cent more effective than jogging and Ian said even overweight children find it accessible. He added: “The smiles on the pupils’ faces while they are on the trampolines is quite entertaining and because they are so focused on the teacher, they don’t even realise how hard they are working. “We recognise that not everyone wants to get involved with team sports so this is a great way for us to cater for those who prefer individual exercise.”
Urban Rebounding involves children working on mini trampolines.
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achieve the optimum pH of 7.2. This new and exciting piece of equipment is on sale now. For more details on the pH FUN please call Lesley Freeman on 01242 822537 or e-mail: lesley.freeman @biolabuk.com
A young rugby player from Newcastle has been recognised for his role in helping others at his school progress in the sport. Crawford Matthews, a year 12 pupil at Heaton Manor School, was presented with the Rising Star Award at the annual Sport Newcastle dinner, following a first rugby league win for his team in the Carnegie
Challenge Schools Cup. Crawford coaches the year nine team at his school after hours, supported by the Newcastle School Sport Partnership. Pictured, from left, George Taylor, Rugby League development officer for NE, Crawford with his award and Ted Baty, SSCo for Heaton Manor School.
Derbyshire youngsters battle it out at finals By Christina Eccles MORE than 120 athletes from across Derbyshire have competed in the East Midlands Airport Derbyshire Year Five/Six Sportshall Athletics Finals. The event, now in its third year, was sponsored by East Midlands Airport for the first time and brought together some of the best athletics talent from local schools in a number of traditional track and field events indoors. Amber Valley topped the final scoreboard with 636 points, with Chesterfield just behind on 616 points – making it the closest final to date. In third place was North East Derbyshire with 600 points. Every competitor received a certificate, and the winning team was also presented with medals and a trophy by GB Pole Vaulter Hen Paxton and Leonie Parkin, community relations executive at East Midlands Airport. Events included indoor javelin, standing long jump, standing triple jump, hurdles and obstacle relays.
Youngsters enjoy activity sessions with a young leader.
PE students hit the right note PE STUDENTS at Newman University have been taking part in an X Factor style sing off to help with their training. Pupils studying the PGCE secondary physical education course also took part in speech therapy sessions and singing lessons to help with their voice projection, range of tone and to learn how to use their diaphragm when speaking in public. The aim was to put into practice skills they will when when teaching in schools throughout their career.
Leadership project paying wages to pupils By Lyndsey Smith WAGES are being paid to pupils in the Wirral as part of a leadership project at a specialist sports college. Bebington High offers students the opportunity to train to become leaders, with some able to earn a wage as assistant coaches. Top leaders get paid, on average, £6.50 an hour for assisting with Saturday sports clubs. Director of specialism Debra Jennings said it acted as an incentive to get more kids involved. She added: “We usually offer payment to leaders that have attained a level one qualification although we can be flexible. “Some sports don’t have qualifications or some pupils may not be old enough to take them but if we feel they are ready and suitable equipped with the relevant skills we will look at rewarding them too.”
Debra stressed wages should be seen as a reward with the kids enjoying their leadership sessions despite the payment: “Some kids only come in for an hour and £6.50 doesn’t go a long way. The fact is they love doing it and it’s a progression pathway for us. We will support them on any courses they want to do to enhance their qualifications and we may pay a little extra for gymnastics coaches who are few and far between as opposed to football coaches that we are awash with – it is about incentivising.” Student leaders help out at break times conducting activities for younger students as well as the Saturday Active Club. They take coaching qualifications such as vocational GCSEs to national governing body awards, in disciplines ranging from cheerleading to netball, which run alongside normal lessons.
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Pictured, from left: Charlie Coleman (student), Steve Blaney (Harlow College), Ben MacIntyre (Ripped Gym personal trainer) and Chloe Fisher (student).
Students visit gym to gain industry insight By Mary Ferguson AN Essex college has teamed up with a local gym to help its students on fitness courses understand the industry before entering employment. Pupils from Harlow College have been visiting Ripped to help with the practical areas of their course and for their assessments. In a typical session, one of the gym’s personal trainers delivers fitness assessment demonstrations – one session where they are shown and perform the tests themselves, and another where they deliver the tests to each other. The two top marked students will then have the opportunity for work experience, shadowing the gym’s personal trainers. Peter Squire, a tutor at Harlow College, told Future Fitness: “We have a partnership with the local leisure centre but taking the pupils to Ripped helps them see how things operate from the private side. “It depends what units the kids are
working on at the time but we are aiming to get them to the gym at least once during a fitness module. I think it’s important for them to get there and see how things work in the industry.” Peter is hoping to introduce a level two fitness instructor qualification at the college and is talking to Ripped about using the gym as a venue. “Most facilities – both council run and private – tend to favour level two over national diplomas so that’s why we are pushing for the qualification. “I think other colleges could really benefit from linking with a gym – it allows the club to look at potential staff and enables the pupils to experience a larger learning environment.” Michele Meade, co-owner of the gym, added: “We are delighted to be able to help out and put something back. We will do whatever we can to ensure the quality, knowledge and experience of the students who are studying in sports and leisure achieve the best possible grades.”
Schools turn down offer to workout in studio A PERSONAL trainer is fuming after two local schools shunned his offer to let students work out in his studio. Jamie Sutherland, who works at Citigym in Fife, said the studio had contacted the schools to ask if they would like to bring pupils in to sample classes such as aerobics and core stability – but they both turned him down. Jamie said: “The feedback that we got from local schools was that they thought it wasn’t necessary to show the kids anything else. “Our argument was that the children would like to do other things, not just what they do in PE. We were offering to give them something extra that the schools could not provide. “We were totally disappointed. We are the second most obese nation in the Western world so for schools to
give us something like that is absolutely ridiculous. But we are a business and we can’t spend a lot of time chasing these people.” He also revealed that the company looked into trialling some items of children’s fitness equipment and contacted primary schools in the area to see if they would be interested in this but again had no luck. He added: “We contacted about a dozen primary schools but had no response. Our first contacts were the active schools co-ordinators but they never got back to us. This is down to a lack of knowledge and a lack of training and local authorities need to step up to the mark.” Jamie added that the studio would consider contacting schools again in future and they are hoping for a more positive response next time.
Two of East Durham College’s campuses have merged creating a new £38m facility which includes a fully equipped gym. SportsArt supplied over 45 training stations to the gym, including four new ecopowered treadmills that incorporate a maintenance free drive system using up to 32 per cent less energy than traditional treadmills. Other items supplied included ellipticals, X-Trainer, steppers, rowers, upright and recumbent cycles, plus a range of strength training units, adjustable benches and free weights.
Suzanne brings snowboarding to Oldham school By Lyndsey Smith SNOWBOARDING has become the next big thing for youngsters in Oldham after being introduced by the school sports coordinator. Suzanne Foulds of Our Lady’s RC High School in Royton discovered the sport when first qualifying as a PE teacher, and now three of her six cluster primary schools have
sessions at Ski Rossendale, along with pupils from the high school. Suzanne said: “We look to engage those kids that are not traditionally sporty and the interest shown has been great. “The sessions are very structured. The kids learn the basic skills of the board along with an in depth health and safety talk and we start them off on the nursery slope.
“They will learn to go from the top to the bottom unaided before being given the opportunity to progress and they have really taken to it.” Suzanne said snowboarding uses a variety of muscles including the hamstrings and quadriceps to guide the board, start it in motion and to stop. She said: “It is great for motivat-
ing and engaging kids and gives them a sporty experience out of the school. “Its popularity has inspired me to try and think of other new things and we will look to take every possible opportunity. “I have mentioned it to other SSco’s in the area and you never know we could soon tons of snowboarding kids in Oldham.”
PE inactivity could stop weight loss By Louise Cordell
The pupils with coach Mike Coker
Hampshire college celebrating pupils’ athletic success A LANGUAGE and sports college in Hampshire is celebrating after pupils achieved success in a national athletics competition. Eight students at The Mountbatten School took part in the Aviva Sports Hall Athletics UK Championships, where both the under 13 girls team and under 15 boys team finished second against 49 other counties. PE teacher Ceri Mitchell said: “The
Mountbatten School has enjoyed considerable individual and team success over the winter in Sports Hall Athletics. The UK Championships have taken all eight athletes to a new level of competition and hopefully the championships and their performances will inspire them to even greater heights in the forthcoming months.”
REGULAR periods of inactivity in PE classes could be stopping kids from losing weight according to a new study. Research carried out at Queen’s University, Ontario has found that longer, sustained bouts of exercise are the best way to stave off childhood obesity and that children with short and sporadic activity levels are more likely to struggle with their weight. Lead researcher, professor Ian Janssen, said: “Even in 60 minute PE classes or team practices, children are inactive for a large portion of the time and this would not necessarily count as sustained exercise. “But when children do engage in longer periods of sustained physical activity, there is a smaller likelihood that they will be overweight or obese.” The study monitored nearly 2,500 children, aged eight to 17, taking part in different levels of activity – sporadic (one to four minutes), short (five to nine minutes) and long (ten
minutes and longer). Motion sensors were used to measure their responses and their body mass index was calculated in order to classify them as normal weight or obese. The study found that two thirds of the physical activity the kids took part in was made up of short sessions lasting less than five minutes. It also showed that only 25 per cent of those who took part in longer activity sessions were obese – compared to 35 per cent of those who joined in for short, irregular periods. Dr Janssen added: “Our findings have important public health implications with respect to the promotion of physical activity in young people because current guidelines to not stipulate how the recommended amount of daily physical activity should be accumulated.” He now plans to carry out further studies to determine the optimal length of exercise time and to examine what influence different periods of activity might have on other areas of health. Preparations have started for the Surrey Youth Games which are set to take place in June. The games aim to encourage young people to participate in sport as well as promoting coach and volunteer development. Pupils from primary and secondary schools in the Epsom area are taking part in free badminton coaching courses and local squash teams will be demonstrating their skills. The activities include badminton, basketball, boccia, football, hockey, judo, netball, rugby, squash and swimming.
Judo proves a hit with pupils in Gloucester By Mary Ferguson PUPILS at a junior school in Gloucester have been swapping cricket bats for combat after the head introduced a judo club. Kelly Armstrong, head of Field Court Junior School, told Future Fitness the after-school lessons have been hugely successful, with pupils developing citizenship skills as well as increased fitness. She said: “Judo has benefitted the kids on many different levels. It’s good exercise but it also teaches them about discipline and self control. We have had some behavioural issues at the school and judo has helped them learn respect. One of our pupils is autistic and he especially has got a lot out of it.” There is an even split of girls and boys taking part in the sessions – which are paid for by parents – and Kelly said the girls especially felt safer and happier learning it as a form of self-defence. The classes have been so popular that they are extending them to the
younger children at Field Court Infant School.
“Some people believe judo is about fighting but it’s actually about gentle conflict resolution. It isn’t the type of sport where participants aim to win at all costs, as simply taking part genuinely builds character and self confidence.” At the moment there are no plans to introduce judo to the PE timetable but to introduce other pupils to the after school club, Field Court is holding a one-off ‘trial day’ with taster sessions for the children. Kelly added: “Judo isn’t a mainstream sport in schools in the way football or netball is. “You don’t have to be skilled with a ball to join in and as a result, we are seeing a completely different set of youngsters taking part.” The school make it clear to pupils that combat outside the training hall is unacceptable and if anyone misuses the techniques they learn they will be excluded from the group.
Top table tennis players bid to transform lives SIX world class table tennis players are helping to raise money to transform children’s lives through sport. Jean Michel Saive, Chen Weixing and English national champions Paul Drinkhall and Darius Knight will compete in front of a live audience in the annual Dunlop Table Tennis Masters in May. The aim of the event is to help engage young people in deprived neighbourhoods through the table tennis initiative, TTK
Greenhouse. The competitors will complete a six-man game, two quarter finals, two semi finals and a final for prize money, all screened live on Sky Sports to over 40 countries. There will also be special performances from some of the young people who attend sports programmes run by Greenhouse and the tournament proceeds will go directly to the charity’s table tennis initiative.
Eight primary schools in Liverpool have attended their first rugby league tag festival, held at Hope Park sports campus. The majority of the 100 children had received coaching from Liverpool Storm RLFC and the club’s volunteers also supported the event by officiating matches, timekeeping games and offering first aid. The pupils received an invitation to join
the Liverpool Storm junior club at their weekly training sessions, and sign up for their U11 squad. John Farrell, festival organiser and Liverpool’s rugby league development officer said: “The event was a huge success, all the kids improved with every game they played. “This location and club environment can provide a great opportunity for any child to develop their rugby league skills.“
High-energy yoga bid to curb violence By Mary Ferguson
Staff using the new gym
Council weighs in with £75k grant for new school gym By Mary Ferguson PUPILS and staff at a Shropshire secondary school are benefitting from a new gym that will be used in the curriculum from September. Thomas Adams School received a £75,000 grant from North Shropshire District Council to buy 17 new pieces of equipment and sixth form students and staff are working out together after school. The gym is also open to the community and from September, the facilities will be available to younger pupils during PE time.
Helen Fischer, project manager for the gym, said: “I think it will really benefit the children that don’t enjoy team sports. My son hates playing football and I know he would much prefer to be inside using the equipment. Hopefully, it will also inspire those that don’t enjoy PE to feel better about exercise.” Helen added that staff and students enjoy working out alongside each other and said it’s beneficial for them to interact outside of the classroom environment. The CV and resistance machines were supplied by Vision Fitness.
YOUNG gang members in Glasgow are being taught a high-energy form of yoga in a bid to curb violence and bring them together. David Sye, a master yoga instructor based in London, is teaching the boys ‘Yogabeats’ through the Yoga Beats Conflict project, which is being filmed for a television documentary. The discipline – which uses energetic, non-structured movements to loud music like hiphop and dance – was introduced to the youngsters along with the film crew. David told Future Fitness: “When we asked them what they thought about yoga they totally rejected the idea but when I showed them a demonstration they loved it. “I challenged them by jumping into handstands and bending myself like a pretzel and it seemed to really inspire them. “Kids on crack cocaine or heroine – or any other type of narcotic – can get the same kind of high from yoga and that’s what I’m trying to teach them.” Yogabeats uses spontaneous movements instead of traditional postures,
which David said is better suited to young people’s bodies. “I started off teaching kids static postures but they repeatedly used different movements, as their bodies naturally fell into other positions. “This type of yoga gives them instant good feelings and like with drug addiction, the body then wants to feel that again. “I don’t want yoga to be confined to the middle classes in Kensington and Chelsea, I want to use it as a tool for sociological change.” David said that introducing the concept of Yogabeats has the potential to help schools combat extreme bad behaviour or substance abuse, but it has to be taught by the right person. David developed Yogabeats when he was caught up in Yugoslavia during the Bosnian war, teaching traditional yoga to people in the community to help them cope with the fear of death. He added loud music to drown out the sounds of fighting and bombs and he taught the discipline to soldiers in return for food.
Boarding school upgrades to maintain first class facilities A BOARDING school in Somerset has upgraded its gym equipment to maintain its reputation for having first class fitness facilities. Wellington School’s Princess Royal Sports Complex, a £2.6m indoor sports facility, has installed new CV and resistance equipment from Cybex as part of its rolling replacement programme. Pupils in year 11 and above are able
to use the full fitness facilities and a ‘junior gym club’ is run for 13-15 year olds who are closely supervised on the equipment. Complex manager JJ Rowland said the boarders don’t need much encouragement to use the facilities in their spare time because they look for things to do after school finishes. “We have lots on from the finish of school up until six, including foot-
ball, rugby and hockey training, which is made easier because of our astro turf. We also do fencing with an international coach which is very popular. “The time between finishing school at 3.30pm and dinner at 5pm is a key time to do sport and we are fortunate to have it.” The centre also runs sport camps, coaching camps for traditional sports
like football and netball and an adventure camp takes place which involves children being taken out into the countryside to play games in woods and learn how to build fires. JJ added: “Because we are an independent school we don’t have targets dictated to us, but there really is an incredible amount of sport that goes on here.” A new rotating climbing wall, aimed at schools, colleges and youth groups, has been launched by Freedom Climber. The sport is becoming more popular than ever and this equipment helps young people to increase strength, flexibility, stamina and coordination in a safe, low level environment. As users climb, the wall mounted climbing surface rotates so they are always a safe distance from the floor – meaning that no ropes are needed. Andrew Bagnall, Freedom Climber distributor, said: “It enables schools to provide an exciting activity with the challenges and exercise benefits of climbing in a safe environment – which allows kids of all ages to participate in this great recreational sport. “Kids have always loved to climb and if they get exercise and increase coordination at the same time, it’s perfect.”
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