I hope that the first half of term ran smoothly and that you will be able to spend some quality time with your family over the break. The return to school can be unsettling at the best of times and with the added changes, it could feel unfamiliar for all. However, I have been very pleased to see smiling and happy pupils, who have returned to school with enthusiasm and thrown themselves into the challenges head on. Who knew that the pupils would miss school as much as they did…?!
I will do my best to not mention the phrases ‘the new normal’ and ‘bizarre times’, I am sure you have heard these referenced far too much! Being a teacher and parent, not a lot feels normal at the best of times. As I sit down to write this, I have reflected on the start of term and the summer holidays (remember them..?). Emerging from lockdown, the big focus points seemed to be, how do we exercise and stay active and how do we continue to socialise with our friends? Sport and PE it seems, are perfectly positioned to help with both of these, which for me, makes my life a lot easier. Thanks to Joe Wicks, the nation’s PE teacher, (don’t get me started), many people realised you don’t need to leave the house to stay fit and healthy. It was a great message but it didn’t help with the social element. Schools are the perfect place for pupils to reconnect with friends and we can provide both the practical elements and reasoning, for an active lifestyle. I often think that the biggest benefit of playing sport is the ability to forge friendships and provide a platform for young adults to build their confidence. There are, of course, plenty of other values that can be gained from sport. I recently read an interesting article that linked being active with the ability to catch up on school work missed because of Covid-19. You can read it here, it’s a two-minute read, honest!
During this half term, we have 55 clubs up and running across 14 sports. Football – girls and boys, netball, hockey, basketball, rugby, cricket (ask the 1st and 2nd years about belgies), tennis, to name a handful, have been offered to our pupils. We recently worked out that on any given Monday, close to 200 pupils are involved in a sports club after school. It is a fantastic sight to see and I want to say a special thank you to the staff who generously give up their time to facilitate these fantastic opportunities for our pupils. Under challenging circumstances, Truro School staff, supported by expert coaches, have ensured the safe running of the clubs while providing fun and challenging content. We are still not operating at our usual full capacity and I know this is frustrating for pupils and staff. All clubs are restricted to year groups and this requires more staffing and separate areas for each club. We are introducing new activities but before we do so, we must ensure that they are able to run safely and that they sit within the return to play framework of that sport and within the guidance set out by the DfE. As a school, we have far stricter guidelines than those of local sports clubs, and our main aim is that we continue to offer our pupils an uninterrupted learning experience.
With the uncertain picture that we had in the summer, the PE department focused our planning around sports that we knew were viable. We have switched rugby and netball with football and hockey during games lessons for example and swimming will be taught after Christmas. All of our usual curriculum offering will be taught but the order has been re-arranged. We are always keeping up to date with the latest sporting guidelines and I regularly meet with other Directors of Sport across the South West, to discuss ideas, problems and solutions. I am confident that Truro School is offering varied and safe sporting and PE lessons.
Over the summer, we have added new faces to our department and said goodbye to a valued member of staff. Miss Emma Bickley joins us as a newly qualified teacher, teaching lower school PE and GCSE and A-level PE. Emma is a very keen sportswoman and is coaching netball this term but her most favoured sport is swimming. Her email is EBI@truroschool.com if you ever need to contact her. Also joining us is our new sports administrator, Mrs Monica Lowe. Monica will be helping with the admin for the department as well as communicating with parents and running our social media platforms (more on that later). Monica has two children and hails from Valencia and is doing a fantastic job in teaching the PE department vital phrases we will need for our holidays! Monica can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.We have sadly had to say goodbye to Miss Leanne Manley, who was our head of hockey. Leanne had been at the school for eight years and her devotion to our hockey programme was legendary. Leanne will be missed but we wish her well at her new role.
We our launching our social media platforms and by Friday, both our Twitter (@TruroSport) and Facebook accounts will be up an running. We aim to use these to keep you up to date with pupil successes, school news and interesting articles around youth sport and coaching. Please do give us a follow and we look forward to being able to interact with you more. The last piece of the ‘what’s new’ section is the Saints South West partnership. We are thrilled to be able to work with such a well-respected organisation and the head of this programme for the school is Alex Watson. Alex has made over 400 league appearances and has been at clubs such as Liverpool, Derby County and Bournemouth. Alex is already involved with after school clubs, girls football and games lessons.
If you would like to get in touch to ask about anything regarding PE and sport at Truro School please do, my email is DJS@truroschool.com.
Half term is here and I have a kitchen renovation project to attend to, wish me luck. My wife has had to cope with a makeshift kitchen for a few weeks but I kept telling her it will have to be the new normal until half term, which she strangely didn’t mind. Bizarre times indeed…
I hope to see and speak with you soon,
Director of Sport