10 Nov 2008

Pupils at Cowbridge Comprehensive School are getting even more active than ever before now that the 5x60 scheme has arrived at the school, creating opportunities for extra-curricular sporting and physical activities.

The national 5x60 scheme encourages secondary school pupils to exercise for at least 60 minutes on five days of the week. The goal is for 90% of secondary school pupils in Wales to be happily undertaking that amount of exercise each week by the year 2020.

The Welsh Assembly Government funded initiative is run by the Sports Council for Wales and is supported locally by the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s sports and play development team.

5x60 has been up and running in the Vale of Glamorgan since January 2007, and an extension of the scheme has allowed it to be introduced in Cowbridge Comprehensive School this term. One of the council’s three 5x60 officers, Michelle Davies, is working closely with PE staff to enable the school to add to its already vast PE programme, and offer exciting new extra-curricular sports.

Questionnaires were sent out to pupils in September to find out what activities they would like to get their teeth into and, in response to the feedback, various clubs have already been set up, either at lunchtime or after school.

Michelle said: "5x60 gives pupils a chance to take part in lots of different sports and activities, letting them find new ways of getting active while having loads of fun. We’ve been really pleased with the response so far and I’d like to thank Miss Hale and the other PE staff for their support. A number of other new activities will be coming soon, including trampolining, table tennis and trips to outdoor activity centres. If any sixth formers at the school, or other volunteers would like to help to run the clubs, please get in touch."

Michelle added: "We are also keen to establish greater links with local sports club coaches to help deliver 5x60 sessions. If the youngsters then take a shine to a new sport, they could join a club and enjoy taking part in sports and physical activities outside of school in their own time. This would not only help the pupils become more active, but would also increase the numbers attending local clubs and potentially help to develop coaches of the future."

The success of the scheme’s early days at the school was celebrated at a special launch event at Cowbridge Leisure Centre which coincided with National Healthy Living Week. Year 7 pupils had the chance to try out something new as Kirsty Cooper led a street dance session, Keith Williams came down from the Vale Golf Resort to pass on some swing tips, while players from the Celtic Crusaders rugby league team delivered a packed taster session which allowed the girls and boys to learn some basic skills.

The 5x60 scheme has also been introduced in Stanwell and St Cyres schools in Penarth this term, and is already being delivered in Barry Comprehensive, St Richard Gwyn RC High and Bryn Hafren Comprehensive in Barry. A new 5x60 officer is also being recruited for Ysgol Bro Morgannwg and Llantwit Major Comprehensive so that all of the Vale’s secondary schools will soon be enjoying 5x60 activities.