Students are reaping the benefits of increased morale, lower post-pandemic anxiety and greater focus.
Along with a new range of optional clubs at lunchtime and before and after school, all of Year 8 and Year 10’s students now have a compulsory weekly sports session, alongside their regular PE lessons. The sessions give students the opportunity to find a new sporting passion, with sessions offered in yoga, girls’ lacrosse, trampolining, debatebox, volleyball, football, fitness training in the school’s fitness suite, high-intensity training, table tennis, basketball, cricket, and netball.
Nickael Briggs, Assistant Principal at Ark Acton, said, “We know that students have missed out on a range of experiences, including opportunities to try new sports, that previous year groups have benefited from. “We’re focused on making sure that our students recover fully from the disruption caused by the pandemic, both academically and more generally. We know that sport will play an important part in this for many of our students.”
Students have welcomed the new sporting opportunities with the range of optional clubs that are open to all year groups taking place over lunchtimes and before and after school being signed up to in minutes after becoming available.
Mahdi, a Year 8 student, said, “It has been fun playing football because I enjoy it. It is great because I get to hang out with my friends and play something I love. I was happy when I found out my tutor group were going to be playing football for the whole half term.”
Daisy, a Year 9 student, said, “I was really excited about being given the opportunity to participate in the trampolining club this year. I’ve gained heaps of confidence whilst doing what I love. Although I was slightly apprehensive to begin with, I have made so much progress thanks to the support of my teachers.”
Zaniya, a Year 8 student, said, “I was really upset hearing we have to do lacrosse every Thursday because I did the club when I was in year 7. But my form tutor gave me inspiration to keep on going and sharing my talent to help others. Ms Collin has always given me confidence and told me to be proud. By playing this sport every week I get better and love helping others." Layan, a Year 8 student, said, “At first I was not looking forward to playing football because I don’t enjoy it. Now that we play it each week I am becoming better and better at it since week 1."
Oli Knight, Principal of Ark Acton, said, “We’ve found that making just one of the sports sessions compulsory has tipped the balance and where our optional clubs previously had quite low uptake, they’re now fully-subscribed, which is excellent. “
Along with the direct and immediate impact on the students’ wellbeing, the clubs also lower the inequality gap, making sure that sporting excellence is not something that’s only open to a privileged few. I’m looking forward to seeing Ark Acton students on the Olympics podium in years to come!"