What connects Lechlade in the Cotswolds with Newham in east London? The obvious answer is the River Thames, but there are other connections. Read on to find out more…
This week, we had the genuine pleasure of working and playing with two contrasting schools, but with so much in common. Like the river itself, this blog post may meander but please bear with us.
Day 1 on the Thames
The shortest commute to work ever – a 3 minute walk through a gorgeous village – the 3 hour drive the previous night fast forgotten. We received an amazingly warm welcome from staff and children at St Lawrence CE Primary School – with initial conversations about sport, the environment and more. The day was launched with an active assembly, featuring international ambassadors from Purston Infant School in Yorkshire and students from the Basque region.
The first session of the day was with Year 6, with some of these students then staying on for the second session with Reception. This had been planned by the school in advance, so that their Change 4 Life (C4L) and Sports Crew Leaders could gain further experience of leadership in Physically Active Learning (PAL). Rachel Bannister, Sports Co-ordinator, explained…
Change 4 Life
“The fundamental principles of C4L is to engage a target group children in sports and exercise. Focusing on sporting skills – not actual games – the C4L sessions give children the chance to see how exercise can be fun whilst increasing their sporting skills. It also ensures that children are physically active for 30 minutes. This helps every child to achieve their 60 minutes a day of exercise. Sessions are usually run by Year 6 coaches working with 6 children per session. This allows them to work closely with individuals, ensuring that they are having fun and being active.”
Sports Crew Leaders
Cerys Howard, PE Lead, continued: “Sports Crew Leaders are in every KS2 class. Pupils apply – stating their reasons for wanting the post and the impact they can have, and are interviewed for their role. They support class teachers within PE lessons, help to organise and run in-school competitions and Sports Day. The SCL also plan and run a lunchtime club to help develop their leadership skills and support pupils in being more active each day. I have no doubt that this year this will be focussed on the skills learnt from Tagtiv8.”
“Feedback from the children has shown that both groups enjoy having an active role within school and tend to go on to more leadership opportunities at secondary school.”
Co-delivering subsequent Tagtiv8 sessions with Years 1 and 2, we were wowed by the way these Y6 students engaged with the younger children. We were able to stand back and see real learning and teaching take place – with echoes of this previous blog post. Thank you Cerys, your colleagues and children – a day to remember for sure.
Day 2 on the Thames
Another school and yet another 3 hour drive – this time to work and play with the children and teachers from Nelson Primary School. Thanks to PE Lead, Ade Cole, we were given the opportunity to share some ‘Move & learn’ Maths ideas both inside and outside. Like our visit the day before, what struck us was the respect and rapport between staff and students. Yet again, the focus was on the whole child and not just the academic performance. Like St Lawrence CE PS, the importance of physical activity and the arts shone through. The children were incredibly polite and helpful – as well as energetic! Co-delivering Tagtiv8 sessions with Ade to 60 children on 2 courts was amazing – the ideas and conversations simply flowed! This was repeated during the CPD training – the staff at Nelson Primary School certainly go the extra mile!
What else connects both schools?
The two schools are connected by the Thames, but there are a number of other similarities – despite the contrasting demographics. We were wowed by the respect and rapport at both schools, their recognition of whole child development and an enthusiasm for moving and learning. Not only that, but both schools were keen to prioritise environmental awareness – in particular the need to reduce, reuse and recycle plastic. We wish we could have seen the play, ‘The Plastic Pirates’, but time was against us. Nevertheless, we are sure that both schools will continue working with people like Sky Ocean Rescue and their #PassOnPlastic campaign – as well as the quirky but wonderful Urban Mermaid.
Thanks to both schools for a great time moving and learning on the Thames! If any schools in the Thames Valley and London would like to work and play with us, just reach out. Enjoy the week ahead…