Increasing participation in sport
“The best state schools recognise the wider benefits of participation in competitive sport in building a strong ethos and helping children to develop into well-rounded and successful individuals. As a result, attainment across these schools tends to be high.”
Sir Michael Wilshaw, Head of Ofsted
Aside from the obvious benefit to health, sports are a brilliant way of keeping pupils positively engaged during the ‘dead period’ after school, and can also inspire young people to transfer positive gains, such as discipline, teamwork and leadership skills, to other areas of their life, including academic learning. However the hidden costs of school sports, as school budgets tighten ever-more, can be prohibitive.
Outdoor Rowing on the Thames
We kickstarted the outdoor rowing programme in 2018 with 110 Year 10 students. Delivered in partnership with Fulham Reach Boat Club, the programme provides the opportunity for a whole year group to discover rowing, the great majority for the first time.
Rowing is a particularly physically, mentally and technically demanding activity, and in taking part, students gain in confidence, perseverance and focus.
A number of students have really taken to the sport, and they are given the opportunity to join the school’s newly-established rowing squad. Their levels of commitment and motivation have been such that they rarely miss their 7am weekly training sessions on the river, and often use the ergo machines at school to keep up their form.
In the film below, four novice rowers and KAA students tell us about their growing love of rowing:
Year 7 & 8 Swimming Immersion
Though the government has introduced a drive to ensure that every child leaving primary school is able to swim, the reality is that many children arrive at school unable to swim 25 metres, with a significant minority unable to swim at all.
Though the school recognises the great need to prioritise swimming, particularly for younger students, it is simply not affordable within the school budget.
Starting in September, KIT has funded weekly group swimming tuition for all 380 Year 7 and Year 8 students at the school, with each student receiving six swimming lessons.
It has been a huge success: the students love it. As well as being a crucial life skill, swimming also offers breadth to our students’ sporting knowledge which is important in PE exams when they are asked to apply their knowledge to a diverse range of sports – many which they will not have experienced before.
This year, 20 students did not know how to swim prior to taking lessons, with many more who only had a basic level of ability. 100% of the non- swimmers are all now able to do, and some have even progressed to an intermediate level.
Indoor Climbing at the Westway
KIT funding supported a climbing programme in the Autumn term 2018 at the Westway Climbing Centre. This focused on 30 female students only and it was an unexpected hit with a group which has a tendency to shy away from sports, due to self-consciousness and lack of confidence. Climbing enabled the students to work in much smaller group ration of 1:5 max which has allowed for very quick progression. They have loved the maturity of having the same coach each week and building a relationship with them. The girls were proud of themselves for pushing their personal boundaries.
This year, we have expanded the programme to include a wider cohort of up to 115 students each year.