Sporty school’s joy at becoming one of the first in England to achieve gold award
06:30 03 July 2014
Archant © 2014
A Wells school is celebrating becoming one of the first in England to achieve a gold award in a new scheme which recognises efforts to encourage pupils to participate in competitive sports.
Alderman Peel High School received the top grading in the Sainsbury’s School Games Mark, a government-led awards scheme.
The accolade comes at a time when education watchdog Ofsted has criticised state schools for not doing enough to develop sporting talent.
Kirsty Downes, head of PE and performance and assistant head teacher at Alderman Peel High School, said: “Sport has always been high on the agenda here and this new awards scheme has pushed us on further.
“Sport in school is so important, not just for health and fitness, but for helping children to deal with success and failure, for teaching them rules, fair play and discipline, for encouraging teamwork and for giving those who enjoy competitiveness a platform to showcase their talent.” Ofsted’s report into competitive sport in schools, published last month, found a significant number of Britain’s elite athletes come from private schools, including 41pc of Britain’s medallists at the London 2012 Olympics.
It added that less than half of 1,000 state school 11-to-18-year-olds surveyed played competitive sport out of school time, and said heads who treat competitive sport as an optional extra are denying youngsters the clear dividends that come with encouraging them to compete. It concluded that a sporting culture can improve exam performance at school.
Education secretary Michael Gove said recently that schools must do more to instil character in pupils by encouraging team sports.
Alderman Peel High School provides pupils with opportunities to participate in 34 different sports in physical education classes and school clubs. It offers 19 different sports in 22 clubs every week.
Miss Downes said: “We are extremely proud to achieve the gold award and it is great recognition to the staff, students and parents for their hard work.
“We would love for Michael Gove to come here and see what we are doing.”
To achieve the gold award the school had to provide all pupils with two hours of physical education per week; engage at least 50pc of pupils in extra-curricular sporting activity every week; offer talented young sports-people specific support to help them balance their sporting commitments with school and home life; provide the opportunities for boys and girls to take part in sporting competition; engage at least 20pc of students in leading, managing and officiating in Sainsbury’s School Games Activity; have a school sport organising committee in place; utilise sports coaches to support school sport; train wider school staff to support school sport and have active links with at least six local sports clubs.
Wells Primary and Nursery School, which is in partnership with Alderman Peel High School, achieved a bronze award.
Miss Downes said: “We are proud of the primary and nursery school for achieving the bronze award and will help them to go for silver next time and also help other local schools to improve what they are doing in sport.”
Miss Downes thanked her PE department for their work in ensuring the success, including Joe Wilding, Shane Brett, Harriet Rudd and Danni Birkin.
She added: “We don’t stop here and we will keep on pushing further to help more pupils to improve their lives through sport.”
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