Withernsea High School

Withernsea High School

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  3. Thriving partnership provides a boost for youth health and well-being

Thriving partnership provides a boost for youth health and well-being

31 August 2023 (by admin)

A thriving partnership between Active Withernsea and Withernsea High School is continuing to boost the health and well-being of young people as part of a long-term goal to improve the provision of physical activity and sport in the local area.   

Under the umbrella of Active Humber, one of 43 Active Partnerships across England who use the power of sport and physical activity to transform lives, Active Withernsea is a local delivery pilot that aims to create a happier, healthier community.

Funded by Sport England, with the aim of making active lifestyles the social norm for everyone, these partnerships help people of all ages and backgrounds to improve their health and well-being by taking part in regular physical activity and sport.

Since September 2022, Withernsea High School has received funding and support to help create more sporting opportunities for its students and the wider school community. This has resulted in the installation of a media wall to promote healthy eating and physical activity; on-going refurbishment of the school’s fitness suite and investment in sporting equipment for additional extra-curricular opportunities.

The partnership has been assisted by the creation of a bespoke liaison role, with a member of staff in place to bridge the gap between sport at the school and in the community. Fulfilling this hybrid role is Nick Richmond, Teacher of PE at the school and Physical Activity Coordinator at Active Withernsea.

Comprising two days per week teaching PE and Sport as part of the curriculum, the remaining three days of Nick’s time are spent working on behalf of Active Withernsea (two days per week) with a further day assigned for primary school liaison work as the area’s School Sports Coordinator.

Nick said: “My work on behalf of Active Withernsea is focussed on building and maintaining a link between sporting activities in school and in the wider community. We are basically trying to create as many physical opportunities for young people as possible by promoting existing clubs and organisations, while supporting the launch and establishment of new groups based on what our young people are saying they would like to see. My role as a teacher helps to reinforce this by providing a platform where we can evaluate the success and popularity of particular sporting activities, while also being ideally placed to communicate with students to discover what additional opportunities they would like to see in school and in their community.”

One such activity that launched on the back of student demand is a popular running club which, during term time, takes place every Friday afternoon after school. With a core group of a dozen weekly runners, overall membership has reached almost fifty and includes staff as well as students.

Reinforcing the link between sporting opportunities in school and in the community, the club is now working in partnership with BLIP Active and long-established local running club, Withernsea Harriers, to further boost engagement and raise the profile of running in the local area.

Thanks to the continuing success of the Active Withernsea partnership, other such engagement opportunities have included the delivery of Karate sessions by Withernsea Karate Club, the launch of a weekly table tennis club, led by a qualified coach from the local area, plus training sessions delivered by England Netball.

Existing local facilities have also been promoted, with various activities taking place at East Riding Leisure Withernsea. This included a ‘Secondary Girls Carousel’ which saw twenty-four girls from Years 10 and 11 take part in a six-week programme that introduced them to the centre’s gym facilities, and activities such as badminton and Pilates.

The purpose of the programme was to boost self-esteem, while giving participants the confidence to engage with physical activity in the community. As a direct result, some of the group signed up to become gym members to take their new-found confidence and appreciation of exercise further forward.  

Meanwhile, working on behalf of The School Sport Partnership as the School Sports Coordinator, Nick Richmond also has responsibility for forging links with catchment primary schools to encourage younger pupils to engage with sport.  

This has been achieved through a series of events held at individual primary schools, as well as through larger scale competitions hosted at the high school. These have successfully brought multiple schools together for activities such as football, cricket, golf, dodgeball, badminton and boccia, plus cross country running and athletics.

These activities have not only helped to introduce pupils to new opportunities and given them a platform to experience competitive sport, they have also provided pathways into community-based teams and county-wide competitions. 

The sports partnership focusses on three key areas: development, engagement and competition. The development element aims to boost pupils’ skills in specific sports which, to date, has included badminton, table tennis and cricket. Through a focus on engagement, pupils are encouraged to participate in larger group activities to inspire interest in different sports including zoneball, dodgeball and cross country. Meanwhile, the competition element seeks to promote competitive sports both within the primary partnership cluster and across the wider East Riding.  

Reflecting on this work, Nick said: “The response has been really positive. It has been great to provide opportunities for primary pupils to experience different sports that they may have otherwise not had access to. Through engagement in a variety of activities, the pupils have been allowed to discover their strengths and build enjoyment in specific sports – hopefully unlocking a passion for something new that they can carry forward. It has also provided a platform where pupils can challenge themselves against their peers, building resilience, confidence and team spirit.”

Helping to embed the work of Active Withernsea are teams of student ambassadors who, through either election or application, are in-place to support the work being undertaken. Their role is to support initiatives, often taking a leading role in organising events, while representing their peers as a voice for the student body as a whole.   

Throughout the last academic year, a team of dedicated Sports Ambassadors were in-place as a student link between the school and the community. They also provided assistance at primary engagement and school sporting events and were the first point of contact for other students to register their ideas and suggestions. 

Similarly, to help further the school’s mission to promote the benefits of walking, cycling or wheeling to school, a group of ten dedicated Active Travel ambassadors have also assumed the responsibility of promoting Active Travel to their peers and the wider school community.

Their work recently culminated in an Active Travel day, which encouraged physical means of travelling to school, for the purpose of boosting fitness and reducing the number of journeys by car - helping to promote a shift towards healthier and more environmentally friendly travel.

Meanwhile, a team of Youth Health Champions have helped to promote mental health and physical well-being through a series of different interventions. In doing so, they have each completed a course to secure an additional qualification.

While much has happened in the past year, an unquestionable highlight was the launch of a Media Wall to promote physical activity, well-being and healthy eating.

Located in the school’s dining hall, the wall comprises a digital display, leaflet holders and suggestions box aimed at inspiring an interactive approach to boosting the health and fitness of the school community.

The Media Wall was launched in April by Beth Tweddle MBE. Regarded as Britain’s greatest ever female gymnast, the three-time Olympian shared words of advice and encouragement with students, reflecting on the impact of sport in her own school days and the part it played in cementing her love of gymnastics.

Commenting at the launch, Beth said:“It’s been amazing being here and seeing the launch of the Media Wall. I think the sporting opportunities that the children are being given, whether that’s in school or in the local community, are great. Kids need to be given the opportunities to be able to find the pathway that they want to choose. For me, I just want to encourage children that dreams can come true. With a little bit of hard work, determination and resilience they can achieve what they want.”

Looking ahead to September, and the start of the new academic year, forty Year 10 students will begin a Level 2 Sports/Community Leadership course as part of their Core PE lessons.

The course will provide an opportunity for students to gain an invaluable additional qualification that will teach them important life skills such as effective communication and organisation, whilst learning to lead basic physical activities to younger people, their peers and older generations in the community.

Meanwhile, thanks to funding secured through Active Humber / Active Withernsea, the school’s fitness suite will reopen after a major £25,000 refurbishment. This will see the replacement of twenty-year old gym equipment with brand new items, including cardio equipment and a variety of resistance machines and weights. The suite will also benefit from a full makeover, including decoration, new flooring and the installation of mirrors to monitor technique.

Reflecting on the continuing success of the partnership between Active Withernsea and the school, Kristina Richardson, Pilot Manager at Active Withernsea, said: “Our work with Withernsea High School has very much been the start of further exciting projects as Active Withernsea continues to work in partnership with the high school, local primary schools, the community and wider partner organisations, to bring sporting opportunities to South East Holderness. We continue to work on a wide range of project areas within Withernsea and the surrounding area. We are incredibly lucky to have already built strong working relationships throughout the community and by working together we hope to continue to create a happier, healthier Withernsea.”

Mark Crofts, Headteacher of Withernsea High School, added: “A lot of work has taken place already, building new relationships between organisations, linking the experienced with the enthusiastic, and reinforcing other long-standing relationships. The outcome of this is simple: more young people trying, enjoying and thriving at physical activities. We are excited by the desire our students are showing to get involved, but also by their willingness to lead. With the help of Active Withernsea, we are pleased to offer an increasing array of sporting opportunities and associated support to our students. We look forward to further collaborative working in the months and years ahead.” 

Active Withernsea are currently working alongside the local community, local partners and organisations in forming a community network which will replace Active Withernsea when the pilot comes to an end in 2025. Launched in July 2022, the PACE (Physical Activity and Community Engagement) network will continue the work of Active Withernsea as it aims to bring the community together in taking a lead on the future of Physical Activity and Community Engagement.

ABOVE: The school’s Sports Ambassadors pictured at an Active Withernsea PACE event.

A popular running club is one of the many new opportunities launched thanks to the Active Withernsea / High School partnership. The club takes place weekly, with members completing runs both on and off site. Here, the group are pictured on a beach and promenade run.

ABOVE: A Media Wall in the school’s canteen promotes sporting opportunities, as well as advice for mental health and well-being, and healthy eating. 

ABOVE: The Media Wall was officially launched by three-times Olympian Beth Tweddle on a visit to the school in April. 

The school has recruited a team of Active Travel ambassadors whose role it is to promote Active Travel to their peers and the community.

ABOVE: A seven-a-side football tournament was just one of the many primary engagement opportunities hosted at the high school in the past year thanks to the School Sports Partnership. 

Over 150 pupils enjoyed an introduction to different sports at a ‘Primary Sports Festival’ held at the school in July. Among the sports demonstrated were tennis, golf and Karate. 

ABOVE: The Active Withernsea partnership work has led to whole school activities, including a successful ‘Santa Run’ in December which saw over 500 high school students complete a two-mile course of walking/running around the school field to raise £1,000 for charity. 





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