Watford Grammar School for Girls: PE Major Award - Highly Commended
PE Major Award 18/19: Highly Commended
Watford Grammar School for Girls
Congratulations to Katie Holes, Director of Sport at Watford Grammar School for Girls, for winning the second of two Highly Commended Awards this year (£5,000).
Katie put in a strong bid for kitting-out a fitness and mindfulness studio together with staff training in yoga. WGG’s bid tapped into the long-underestimated importance of mental-wellbeing in young people. The bid covered a wide range of aerobic and yoga equipment, the installation of mood lighting and a sizeable amount of staff INSET from The Yoga Factory.
The benefit of the equipment and staff training would be far reaching – promoting fitness and well-being amongst pupils and starting them on a path of life-long mental and physical health. The initial focus would be on mindfulness, wellbeing and fitness classes throughout the whole of KS4 and they would also be able to offer sessions to particular students in KS3 e.g. for SEND, CLA, low self-esteem students etc.
We were very pleased to receive a Major PE Award application which combined physical and mental fitness so comprehensively. As Katie explained:
“In common with many schools we have seen a rise in anxiety, depression and poor mental health in recent years. Pupils at our school are highly motivated and achieve very well but often feel overwhelmed by their own level of expectation. Managing the pressure of their aspiration alongside the increased pressures from social media and the experiences of growing up in a rapidly changing world simply becomes too much for many young women.”
We felt that by extending the range of activities and enhancing the environment in the studio, many more girls would be drawn back into exercise and fitness as well as benefiting hugely from new yoga and mindfulness sessions for a holistic approach to health. WGG intend to assess the effectiveness of the project with student surveys and careful monitoring of student participation. Katie explained the staff have already demonstrated their passion and effectiveness in delivering a program in this area through their This Girl Can project in Year 8 for students with low confidence and self-esteem and a small Y11 yoga group. The funding would allow them to extend provision greatly, both within the curriculum and in after-school classes and it would increase both the number and expertise of staff able to deliver these programs. They would be able to particularly help PP and BME students who may not have as much access to fitness and mindfulness activities due to financial and/or cultural constraints.
Finally, Katie ticked our very important “longevity box” by highlighting the fact that the aerobic and lighting equipment will benefit Watford Grammar girls for many years to come and the substantial INSET will benefit pupils of trained staff for the rest of their careers as well as being passed on to other staff.
We wish Katie and her team all the very best of luck with their new venture and hope they can secure the remaining funding soon.
Robert Barclay Academy: PE Major Award 18/19: Highly Commended
PE Major Award 18/19: Highly Commended – Robert Barclay Academy
Congratulations to Adam Gant, the Head of PE at RBA (Hoddesdon) for winning a Highly Commended Award in this year’s PE Majors.
Adam put in a very strong bid for a wide range of multigym and boxing equipment which only narrowly missed out on the top spot. To celebrate our recent fully-registered charity status, we were able to increase our usual highly commended awards from £1,000 to £5,000 this year. This will go a long way towards replacing some of RBA’s equipment but does leave them with the agonising choice of what to leave out.
In his application, Adam emphasised the wide range of use RBA’s new gym equipment would have including outside athletics and swimming club, Elite Motion (50-80 6-18 year-olds) and local primary schools coming in for a fitness day during Healthy School’s Week.
Amongst RBA’s pupils, Adam argued that:
“The use of the new equipment will instantly raise the profile and awareness of our fitness drive. Pupils will be able to use aerobic and body toning fitness exercises by using the new specialised equipment with the fitness room zoned into specific areas for stretching, cardiovascular, resistance and free weight areas.”
He went on to explain how programs would be written for individuals to help them achieve their goals (e.g. weight loss). There would be special benefit for Pupil Premium students who may struggle to access gym facilities outside of school and girls-only sessions to improve their level of fitness and self-esteem. RBA’s elite athletes would be able to hone their required fitness and strength levels and new Boxercise sessions would be run to help with pupil’s self-confidence and self-control both during KS4/5 curriculum time and after school.
RBA really needed their equipment updating as some of it has seen heavy use for over 30 years and a recent inspection unfortunately condemned some items.
Adam further strengthened his bid by detailing the wide range of pupils the new equipment would benefit from SEND pupils raising self-esteem in their nurture program to a fitness referral program in partnership with the Targeted Youth Support Team for East and Central Hertfordshire. The local community would also have access to the gym through organisations such as BeeZee Bodies which helps families and individuals focus on reducing obesity and increasing self-esteem.
Benefits did not just remain in the realm of PE, however. The science department would bring to life physiological changes in biology and force and motion equations in physics. Maths would also benefit by using the equipment for investigating data-analysis, calculating averages and studying the application of pulleys at A level. These real-life, practical studies help to clarify and embed the sometimes-difficult theory and added a big Effective Learning tick to the application.
We wish Adam and his team every success with their choice of new equipment and hope to see some photographs of it in action soon.
PE Major Award Winner 2018/19 - The Priory School
PE Major Award Winner 2018/19
The Priory School
Congratulations to The Priory School in Hitchin who have won the EdufundUK P.E. Major Award 2018/9.
Their £10,000 award will furnish them with a completely new long jump pit for their sports field. They have some highly successful athletics teams in the district leagues including students that compete at county and English School’s standards but the lack of their own functional long jump pit has obviously been a hinderance despite the pupils’ enthusiasm to train (Priory’s Y8 team managed to come 2nd overall in a recent District Athletics competition without long- and triple-jump facilities – imagine what they will do with the new pit!).
It’s not just Priory’s elite athletes who will benefit from this award of course. As Helen Foy, Head of PE wrote in her application, “Students enjoy athletics lessons and make progress in them. They learn about self-regulation, discipline, personal goal setting and training methods through this area of activity.” Local feeder primary schools will also be able to use the facility during their transition clubs and sports days, ably supported by Priory’s sports leaders programme.
Other local schools have benefitted from refurbishments in recent years and Helen argued that she wants her pupils to have the same opportunities. The school has a fairly high proportion of Pupil Premium students who often have less chance of accessing sports facilities outside school. Giving them a ‘level playing field’ will help close the opportunity gap and develop their raw talent and enthusiasm. Helen also highlighted the motivational and well-being aspects of having full athletics facilities for SEND pupils, developing their core skills and self-esteem by having opportunities to find their strengths and interests from the full range of events.
Maths and science classes will also benefit from the new pit, adding it to their practical lessons in e.g. angles, trigonometry and aerodynamics, enlivening the subjects and making them relevant to students’ lives.
Helen finished her well-argued and passionate application with the following:
“The way in which students approach PE lessons and extracurricular activities is second to none. They have an ingrained enthusiasm and desire to please in both lessons and extracurricular activities. If we were successful in this bid it would make a fundamental difference to students at the school and the opportunities that they have.”
We wish The Priory School all the best of luck with their new pit and can’t wait to update this item with pictures of the new facility.
Spring Award Winners - Catch Up
We had lots of applications just before and during the spring term but there was a hold up in payment due to our changing bank accounts into the fully registered charity’s name. We also had the Pupils’ Competition winners choosing their school prize (up to £1000). For brevity, I’ll summarise the awards here:
Congratulations to all the schools involved and my apologies for not being able to visit them in person to present their awards as we wanted to get the money out to them as soon as we had the new cheque book.
Don’t forget, the STEM and Effective Learning Major Awards have a deadline of 3rd June 2019 and all minor award applications must be with us by 5th July 2019 (if there is still money left in the pot!)
As part of the follow up procedure, Bushey Academy informed us that....
The new GCSE syllabus requires students practical performance to be videod and recorded so a moderator can assess the students performance. Previously we had been criticised by the exam board for providing footage that was unclear and not of a good enough quality. This year the footage we entered was praise because of the high quality and ease with which students performance could be viewed. I have no doubt that this was down to the new professional cameras that we used to film the students performance. GCSE practical grades were the highest we have ever achieved. We have also been able to give the camera to A level students to record their practical performances outside of school and are hoping for similarly positive results with these students. The cameras are also being used to develop learning and understanding of how the body moves and to identify strengths and weaknesses in gymnastics, trampolining, athletics and dance lessons across the school.
Thomas Alleynes in Stevenage noted that the impact was significant in the Cheerleading club....
We have expanded the afterschool club and now have two teams. We are able to perform more advanced skills due to being on mats which are fit for purpose. We are further along in routine setting as the students are training in an environment similar to that of a competition. We also have near perfect attendance to this club now!