Working in collaboration with the charity organisation SportInspired, Friday 12th May saw St Paul's Academy host the 2017 SportInspired Festival once again. This festival was in aid of national 'Give and Gain Week' and supported by Lloyds Banking Group who sent along 60 of their employees to volunteer at the event. This event was specifically targeted towards those pupils in Years 3 to 8 within the Greenwich Borough who have a special educational need. The aim of the festival was to help instil a love of sport and physical activity in these pupils who may not ordinarily be given the opportunity to engage in such activities as often as they would like.
Utilising our top-class sporting facilities at St Paul’s we were able to deliver 6 different physical activity sessions for our 150 plus students in Years 3 to 8 who attended the festival. The children had the opportunity to experience a range of new and engaging activities which included Tri-Golf, Boccia, New Age Kurling, Dodgeball, Athletics, Dance and Polybat. Participation in what were new sporting activities for a number of the students will hopefully help to further encourage students to continue participation in sport and physical activity in the future.
The enjoyment felt by each of the students who participated in the festival was clearly evident to see throughout the duration of the day. Pupils enjoyed learning new skills, making new friends as well as getting the opportunity to work alongside our numerous Lloyds Bank volunteers and Sports Leaders. Thomas, a Year 7 student from St Paul’s Academy said:
‘I don’t usually like sports but today has been really fun. My favourite sport was the New Age Kurling’.
One of the greatest highlights of the day was the unbelievable work carried out by each and every one of the 40 St Paul's Academy Sports Leaders throughout the entire duration of the day. All of the external companies who were in school as well as all of the other staff from our neighbouring schools who attended the event simply could not praise our Sports Leaders highly enough. One Lloyds Bank employee commented saying,
‘It was excellent, everyone was great and I was really impressed with the Sports Leaders’.
It is definitely safe to say that our young leaders more than stepped up to the mark, were true leaders in every sense of the word and were simply awesome across the board! This is testament to the hard work and dedication shown by our sports leaders over the last number of months working extremely hard to prepare themselves for this event. As well as ensuring that all of the kids participating in the event had an enjoyable day, all of our Sports Leaders have gained immensely from the event which is something we also set out to ensure. All of the Sports Leaders notably grew in confidence as the day progressed as well as enhancing their leadership, teamwork and communication skills to name but a few. One motto which our Sports Leaders believe in at St Paul’s is that ‘Great leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders’ and leaders in their own right is exactly what our students became on the day. Providing our students with such valuable and worthwhile opportunities is crucial to ensuring their holistic development.
Reflecting on their experiences of the festival, our SPA Sports Leaders expressed how during the day there was ‘a great aura around the room’ (Verona, Year 11)
‘This event has really taught me how to be a leader. It has been character building’ (Michael, Year 9).
‘The kids are very enthusiastic and inspirational’ (Dan, Year 11).
‘Today has been a joyous day and I never thought I would meet such wonderful young people’ (Nana, Year 9).
‘It’s great to see that my efforts are making people happy, the day is really coming together’ (Stephen, Year 11).
Students who participated in the event from schools throughout the Borough of Greenwich also liked how they got the chance to work as a team and learn to play new sports on the day. One Greenwich primary school teacher commenting on their overall experience of the festival said:
‘Thank you so much for inviting our school to take part in the festival, the children absolutely loved it and it was organised perfectly! The best school sport event I have ever been to! The team you had were amazing and so supportive of the children the whole time. Just a fantastic day and one they will remember. Thanks again, already looking forward to next year!’
Taking the opportunity to come along and see our festival on the day, our Vice Principal, Ms Malone commented:
‘It’s just fantastic! Listening you can just hear the sound of pure joy around. So many people helping too. I look at these volunteers (Sports Leaders) and I mean they look like members of staff!’
Such positive feedback simply reflects the overwhelming success of the day which was visibly enjoyed by all parties involved, be that pupils, staff or volunteers. As a school, St Paul’s would like to thank SportInspired for their continued help and support, our numerous sports providers who assisted in the delivery of our many sports, all of the Greenwich schools who participated on the day as well as all the employees from Lloyds Bank who helped to make the day truly memorable.
We look forward to continuing to build upon such positive working relationships as well as ensuring that a legacy for inclusive engagement in sport and physical activity for all is achieved. An event such as the SportInspired Festival simply illustrates the power of sport!