THEY’RE scaling new heights to fitness at Meltham Moor Primary School.
Headteacher Mike Whitfield is committed to his pupils’ health and wellbeing as well as their academic education and the school is using a vast array of activities and projects to achieve this aim.
“Sport and physical education is crucial to pupils’ health and wellbeing, physically, emotionally and academically,” he said.
“We have always been a sporting school, but over the last three years our role within the Pennine Schools Sports partnership has extended this to new heights.”
Traditional sports like football, cricket, netball, rugby and cross country still play an important role within the school’s physical education curriculum.
Mr Whitfield strongly believes in the importance of competitive sport in school. Pupils should learn how to lose as well as how to win.
His philosophy is to encourage positive self esteem and confidence through ensuring every child competes to the highest standard they can and are supported and praised for doing their very best.
On Thursday the school’s successful netball team will compete in the finals of the Honley and Holmfirth Hi-Fives competition at Newsome High School and Sports College.
Alongside more mainstream sports, the school is also keen to extend students’ expectations by offering specialised coaching in other disciplines.
Golf professional Chris Hanson is a regular visitor to the school offering coaching to a group of children.
Cheerleading and a popular cross country event, which the school organises and in which around 20 Holme Valley primary schools compete in, are also enthusiastically encouraged.
Among the highlights of this “outstanding school” so far this year has been its Comic Relief fundraising as part of a wider all round fitness challenge.
Pupils have used pedometers to scale mountains as part of their Mountain Challenge initiative.
They have used their maths skills to calculate the number of steps needed to scale mountains in Yorkshire, the UK and across the globe with green (5,000 steps), silver (10,000 steps) and gold (12,000 steps) awards being given.
They have raised £500 for charity through their step challenge and walked thousands of steps in the process.
Parent David Lawton devised the scheme with playworker and community sports leader Michaela Bottomley leading the scheme in school.
“It’s something different to get the children active and moving around. If they’re not into team sports the mountain challenge encourages them to become more active both in and out of school to help improve their fitness levels,” Mr Whitfield added.
Year six pupil play leaders in school lead younger children in physical challenges during break-time and lunchtime sessions and this strengthens relationships between the lower and upper primary tiers.
Ofsted inspectors who visited in 2007 praised the range of sporting activities available and the enthusiasm which pupils showed. They judged the school to be ‘outstanding’ overall.
The report said: “The school places a high priority on its provision for sport and outdoor activity and almost all pupils take part in and enjoy active lunchtimes and playtimes; these are very popular, promoting excellent attitudes towards physical fitness.”