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Campaign offering Norfolk schools a slice of £20,000 sports equipment fund to be launched

PUBLISHED: 08:08 27 January 2018 | UPDATED: 10:53 27 January 2018

Red Oak Primary School teacher Johnny Lee has won the silver award in the national 2017 Pearson Teaching Awards.
Picture: Nick Butcher

Red Oak Primary School teacher Johnny Lee has won the silver award in the national 2017 Pearson Teaching Awards. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2017

A drive to help primary schools unlock thousands of pounds for vital sports equipment has today been launched.

Red Oak Primary School pupils embark on the Great School Run. Pictures: Mick HowesRed Oak Primary School pupils embark on the Great School Run. Pictures: Mick Howes

The EDP and Norwich Evening News have teamed up with Sports for Schools to kickstart the campaign, which will see schools and communities collect tokens to win a share of a £20,000 sports kit cash pot.

From next Monday until April, special tokens will be printed in every edition of our newspapers – and parents, school staff and the local community can collect and donate them.

The top three schools with the most tokens – calculated on a pro rata basis based on pupil numbers – will receive prizes of £5,000, £3,000 or £2,000, while schools which collect 1,000 tokens will receive a free sports pack.

Despite a challenging climate for schools, the vast majority work tirelessly to make sure sport, and health, is still at the top of the agenda.

Jo Thompson, Active Norfolk’s children and young people development manager, works closely with heads and teachers to remind them of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

Red Oak Lowestoft pupils with teacher Johnny Lee. 
Picture: Nick ButcherRed Oak Lowestoft pupils with teacher Johnny Lee. Picture: Nick Butcher

She said: “We are trying to reduce the number of children who go up to secondary school already overweight, so we support anything that enables schools to access more opportunities to increase physical activity in young people.

“Schools are recognising the impact of a healthy lifestyle on children’s attainment and learning.”

Figures from 2015/16 show that 23pc of reception class children in Norfolk are overweight or obese, with 9.3pc of those obese.

And more than a third – 32pc – of year six children, those aged 10 and 11, fall into the category.

Sports for Schools run fitness events at more than 1,300 primary schools a year across the UK, hosted by a so-called Sportivater - usually a top international athlete who can inspire children to get moving.

Children at Red Oak Primary playing football against St Margarets Primary. Picture: Nick ButcherChildren at Red Oak Primary playing football against St Margarets Primary. Picture: Nick Butcher

Since its inception, almost £2.6m has been raised for sports equipment in schools across the country.

David Powles, editor of the EDP and Evening News, said: “We know that physical activity has a fundamental impact on achievement and wellbeing.

“We also know that while schools do the best they can, they can’t always afford the new equipment and kit they would like. We hope this campaign will give them some support – and we would encourage as many people as possible to collect tokens for their local school.”

How to get involved

You have to be in it to win it.

So if your school is interesting in signing up, they’ll need to register their interest.

All schools need to do is email sportsforschools@archant.co.uk with the school’s name, address, postcode, contact name, telephone number and the number of pupils at the school.

Once registered, they will be sent an entry pack, including a token collection box and posters and flyers for parents, while boards to display outside schools are also available on request.

Tokens will be printed in the paper every day from Monday, February 5 to Saturday, April 14.

There will be one token a day, as well as bonus tokens on occasion and two tokens every Saturday.

The school with the most tokens as an average of total pupils will mean all schools, regardless of size, will have a chance of winning.

Anyone - teachers, parents and the local community - can collect tokens.

Case study

At Red Oak Primary, sport is very much a priority.

The Lowestoft school is one of just a handful of schools in the region to secure the Sports Active Gold Award and runs dozens of events and clubs.

The school has 14 tournaments a year, in sports ranging from athletics to football, this year introduced special needs school programmes and runs girls football championships to encourage more girls into the sport.

And last year, the school’s PE and sport coordinator Johnny Lee even won a silver award in the Pearson Teaching Awards for his hard work.

He said: “Sport keeps children engaged with their learning, helps raise attainment, it teaches children that if you work hard you get results.

“But it also teaches the basics of teamwork, perseverance, resilience and all of those skills apply outside of just sport.”

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