19/20 Secondary Major Awards: Highly Commended: Ashlyns School (PE)

We were very pleased to award Ashlyns School (Berkhamsted) the second of our two Highly Commended Awards (£5,000) towards building a new long jump pit.

Interestingly, Ashlyns were one of several schools to put in a Major bid for a new or refurbished long jump pit.  All those schools put in strong bids with lots of similar arguments but Ashlyns managed to nose ahead in some areas.  It’s worth noting here that although we may see potential benefits of any project, if those benefits aren’t addressed in the application, we can’t give them any weight.

Some strengths of Ashlyn’s application are that they focussed on the benefit to their Sports Leaders and the pupils they would help.

“Ashlyns School was awarded Leadership Academy Status by Sports Leaders UK and named their Academy of the Year 2017. Academy status recognises the high commitment the school places on developing leadership within the school community. Our successful programme comprises Sports Leaders from every year group; they host sport festivals, visit local primary schools to offer specialist PE lessons and help to run primary school sports days.”

Ashlyns also brought the benefits to other parties, including staff into their argument…

“The new long jump pit would also help to engage the local primary schools in athletics, as we regularly work with our four linked primary schools to deliver sports festivals with our Sports Leaders. Therefore, this facility would also positively impact the delivery of primary PE lessons and physical activity opportunities in the wider local community.

Some of our PE Teachers are also wishing to engage in additional athletics coaching qualifications and this long jump pit would allow them to apply their learnt qualifications, thus improving the entire athletics standards and opportunities for both staff and students.”

John Preston (Head of PE) took full advantage of the extension form to enhance his existing arguments and put forward others e.g:

“The main aim of this facility is to boost the participation rates in all year groups within the summer months. Having this facility would provide an avenue into a sporting habit for life through the means of athletics. It would aid our disadvantaged students (12.6%) by allowing them to try other sports based around individual performance not team sports, which often leads them to becoming disaffected with PE. It would also help our students who have additional needs (15%) as sometimes these students do not socialise well in groups and will allow them to work on their own technique and focus on their own performance.

The all-weather lanes could also be used by other departments and subjects such as maths by calculating average speed and velocity, Biology by looking at anatomy and physiology, Physics by focusing on the energy, forces and bio-mechanics, which would make other lessons more interesting and engaging and give them real life applications of the knowledge being assimilated.”

As always, we were disappointed not to be able to award all the excellent and often, passionate bids the full amount, but with written assurances that the project’s additional funding was in place, we were pleased to at least be able to make a substantial contribution towards Ashlyns’ new long jump pit.