Teacher Matthew Stoddart from Youth Sport Trust Ambassador School Clavering Primary School in Hartlepool shares how the Girls Active Programme is making a difference at primary level and why he has nominated his students for the Future Leaders’ category in the 2019 Girls Active Awards.
Q: How has the programme been working in your school?
A: Our Girls Active Programme has been a huge success in terms of self-confidence, self-belief and participation. Once a term, our Girls Active Leaders have planned and delivered a Girls Active Afternoon where every girl in Key Stage 2 has taken part in a new activity, for example we have ran clubbercise afternoons and dodgeball festivals. In the summer term, we are ending on a big note by running a full school Girls Active Day where every girl from Year 1 to Year 6 will take part in some sort of physical activity.
Our Key Stage 2 event will be linked to the Women’s Football World Cup. Along with these days, we run lunchtime sessions and an after-school Girls Active clubs which has seen a huge increase in participation numbers since we first introduced the club. All clubs are led by Girls Active Leaders who have been trained for the role as part of our Physical Education, School Sport and Physical Activity (PESSPA) Leadership Academy.
Q: What impact have you seen so far?
A: Our Girls Active Programme not only empowers those girls taking part in the activities, but also the leaders. So many girls have grown in confidence from these events and it is great to see how much our leaders have flourished and stepped into their various leadership roles. There is a definite buzz around the school in terms of girls being involved in physical activity and we believe that – just as importantly – being involved in Girls Active events is contributing to their mental health as well as their physical health.
We decided on selecting leaders from Year 6 (6 leaders), Year 5 (3 leaders) and Year 4 (3 leaders). This has proved to be a positive step as it has allowed the younger girls to learn from the older girls so by the time they reach Year 6 they are experienced and ready to lead.
Q: Why have you nominated the students?
A: I nominated the students because they have simply been exceptional. They have demonstrated skills such as organisation, leadership, decision-making capabilities and being creative and innovative.
They would quite easily step into leadership roles in secondary school and beyond. They complete tasks and organise our Girls Active days with minimum input from staff. The three girls I and the other staff members have nominated were our very first and original Girls Active Leaders. They are the pupils who took part in the national training programme and came back to school to help build our Girls Active Programme.
Everything we have done has – primarily – come from our Girls Active Leaders. The only disappointing thing is that only one of the nominees has the possibility of winning because, as a group, in my opinion, they are all very much deserving of national recognition and it has very much been a group effort.
Matthew Stoddart, Clavering School. Nominating girls in the Future Leader (Primary School) Category.
Girls Active is a partnership between teachers and girls working together to understand what makes girls fully engage in PE, sport and physical activity and then provide and ‘sell’ inspiring and relevant opportunities for all girls, not just the sporty few. Girls Active is developed by Youth Sport Trust and delivered in partnership with Women in Sport and This Girl Can with Sport England National Lottery funding.