30 Oct 2008

Bishopston Comprehensive in Swansea has been named School of the Month for its efforts to get young people fit and active.

The school has been awarded the prestigious title for November by the Welsh Assembly Government’s 5x60 scheme which is managed by the Sports Council for Wales. 5x60 is designed to get more secondary school pupils taking part in 60 minutes of physical activity five times a week.

5x60 officer Elizabeth Vernon explains, "Although I’ve only been at the school for just over a month, I think the scheme has been a huge hit with the pupils and everyone, including staff, are on board. The pupils are very enthusiastic about what’s on offer and can’t wait to get involved with some outdoor adventure activities."

PE teacher Rhian Williams has been pleased with how 5x60 has taken off at the school:

"We’ve started five clubs so far which include basketball, football and skipping. We have had reasonably good attendance at the sessions and each club is growing in numbers as word of mouth spreads.

"I would say that all pupils in years seven to nine know exactly what 5x60 is and they know where to go to suggest ideas and where to find information about clubs.
The suggestion box is always full and there are plenty of pupils pestering Miss Vernon to run clubs!"

And the surf’s clearly up at the school. Vernon is about to launch Bishopston School Surf Club:

"I surf myself and have a number of very talented pupils currently surfing in the school," she explains. "For beginners, I will be setting up sessions on the wave-rider at the LC2 after Christmas so they can learn the basics in a warm environment. These sessions will continue at the beach in the nicer weather of summer term."

Making sure that girls at the school are not standing on the sidelines, there are also plans in the pipeline to run an inter-house netball tournament, a football tournament which will see girls from different schools in the area compete as well even more opportunities to play football, tag rugby and volleyball.

The most ardent supporters of 5x60 – the pupils – have also championed the scheme.

Year 11 pupils Naomi James explains, "I think the scheme is a great way to give pupils, who are not in the school team, the chance to participate in a sport of their choice, which they will enjoy. I am really looking forward to Miss Vernons’ surf club."

Jamie Barter, who is also in Year 11, is now shooting hoops and is coaching younger pupils:

"I think that the 5x60 scheme is a good way for pupils’ to take part in sport and get fit. Because of the 5x60 scheme I am attending a Basketball Leaders Award and I am involved in running the year seven girls’ and boys’ basketball club, which is great because I really enjoy playing basketball."

And Charlotte Rutter of Year Seven has been pulling on her boots to take to the pitch, all thanks to the 5x60 programme:

"The 5x60 scheme is a great way to get kids involved with sport, it gives us the chance to try new sports. I’ve been toevery football club session and 2 basketball sessions so far and really enjoyed taking part. Miss Vernon is helpful, fun and a good football player."

Latest figures reveal that increasing numbers of youngsters across Wales are pulling on their trainers to get involved in 5 x 60. The programme has been championed by Olympic silver medallist David Davies, Stuart Cable and Hip Neu Sgip presenter Alex Jones.

Pupils are invited to visit www.5x60.org.uk and to put forward their school for 5 x 60 School of the Month.