Gold medal swimmer inspires youngsters

CELIA WIGG Olympic gold medal swimmer Duncan Goodhew yesterday met potential sports stars of the future at a Norfolk school that is leading the way in PE. Despite only having 66 children, Saxlingham Primary School has professional coaches in twice a week to teach sport.

CELIA WIGG

Olympic gold medal swimmer Duncan Goodhew yesterday met potential sports stars of the future at a Norfolk school that is leading the way in PE.

Despite only having 66 children, Saxlingham Primary School has professional coaches in twice a week to teach sport. And the youngsters are having such fun as they keep fit that about half have signed up for after-school clubs, also run by Attleborough-based Premier Sport.

Headteacher Chris Gibson said: “Having a sports specialist teaching a range of sports ensures children learn key skills while covering the required two hours of PE lessons. During this time we have seen not only the children's skills increase, but confidence and enthusiasm levels have risen dramatically.

“The children have a very good relationship with Clayton, their instructor. He provides a positive role model and promotes sportsmanship and teamwork. Having learnt tag rugby, the older children entered an inter-school tournament. They approached each match with confidence despite playing against teams from much larger schools.

“Premier Sport coming into school not only impacts on the children but provides a cost-effective method of covering the staff's PPA (preparation, planning and assessment) time.”

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Mr Goodhew is an ambassador for the firm which has 100,000 children on its books at 1,250 schools across the UK and is the largest of its kind in the country. And he was a real hit with the children, as he told them anecdotes about his own career during a lively question and answer session.

“Having had to cope with dyslexia, and losing all his hair through alopecia, Mr Goodhew was keen to encourage the children to enjoy their time at school and to see themselves as individuals with the potential to achieve great things.

“Never give up on yourselves and always try really hard. Swimming for me is like anything in life, doing something I really believe in, doing it really well and making myself be good inside. Success is as personal as your own fingerprints. There's no one that's the same in the whole wide world,” he advised.

Mr Goodhew told the EDP: “What this school has proved, without a shadow of doubt, is you can provide a great choice for children at this age in unparalleled quality.

“Not only are we achieving opportunities but providing an onward-going route as well. Kids that are showing great promise in a wide range of sports beyond just the school environment are given a pathway to follow.”

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