Record-breaking year for sport at Blackhorse school

Published on: 03 Aug 2013

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THEY are running out of space in the trophy cabinet at Blackhorse Primary School after a second record-breaking year for school sport.

Blackhorse has won 13 trophies during the year, up from 11 last year, when the school ended a 10-year drought during which it won none.

The school year started well with Blackhorse picking up two sports gongs at the South Gloucestershire Sports Awards in November : contribution to school sports’ and ‘creating an Olympic Legacy’.

Head teacher Simon Botten explained: “Over the past three years we have deliberately established extra-curricular activities as a key aspect of the school’s ethos. Every week over 20 sports, arts and musical clubs take place during lunchtimes and after school with nearly every child in the school taking part. We believe that this helps to develop children’s confidence and leadership skills, as well as creating a sense of pride and belonging.”

High standard

As part of this drive, the school has actively sought to promote both competitive and non-competitive sport. PE leader , Rhea Oldland said: “We have a wide range of sports clubs offering everything from ballet to dodgeball, which are simply about learning a new skill and having fun. However, we also encourage children to get involved in competitive sporting events throughout the year, as learning to lose and win gracefully is an important life skill.”

This approach has proved very successful. The school’s 50-strong cross-country team won both the South Gloucestershire cross-country shield and the Grange Sports Partnership league (this won by several hundred points for the second year running). Add to this a trophy for winning a local schools’ duathlon and five trophies won at the Mangotsfield and Downend Schools’ Olympiad and it is clear that the standard of athletics in particular is extremely high.

The school has brought in coaching from Team GB middle distance coach and Bristol & West Athletics development officer Keith Brackstone and several Blackhorse pupils now run for the club).

This year Blackhorse added a new string to its sporting bow when newly qualified teacher Amy Laz introduced lacrosse to the children. The school went on to win the South Gloucestershire Festival of Youth Sport competition and impressed a Team GB scout so much that the team has been offered a place in a national competition against predominantly public schools with a long history of schools lacrosse.

Physical activity has not stopped with the start of the summer holidays: the school has launched ‘Challenge 31’ – a summer initiative in which children are encouraged to take part in 31 separate physical activities for at least 15 minutes each.

Mr Botten explained: “I’m attempting my first 31-mile Ultra Marathon in the autumn and will therefore be spending much of the summer pounding the streets of Bristol. We thought that it might be fun to use this to encourage the children to keep active throughout the summer and raise much- needed funds for disabilities charity Scope.”

The final part of the challenge will see all the children of Blackhorse taking part in a mile run on September 6 - with Mr Botten doing his bit by attempting a full marathon before school!

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