School Sports Conference at the Sailing Academy

Children at the WPNSA

Children at the WPNSA

WPNSA Hosts School Sport Partnerships’ Innovative PE Curriculum Conference

‘Inspiring learning through a creative curriculum’

The Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA) was the base to explore an innovative approach to learning last week, organized by three of Dorset’s School Sport Partnerships – West Dorset SSP, North Dorset SSP and Christchurch & Purbeck SSP.  Teaching staff from eighty Dorset schools attended the day, which involved workshops as well as key note speeches.

The Partnerships’ aim is to inspire learning through a creative curriculum linking to the Olympic and Paralympic Games.   As the venue for the sailing competition at the London 2012 event, the WPNSA was an ideal location for the conference.

John Tweed, Chief Executive at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, commented, ‘this world class sports venue is not only an asset for a vast range of land and sea based competitions, it is also a valuable centre for Dorset school children to adopt novel learning approaches associated with the Games that will no doubt in some way touch all our lives next summer’.

The day’s agenda involved key note speakers touching on ways to enrich the curriculum through 2012 values.  Head teachers and teachers provided positive case studies of using these values within their own schools.  A highlight of the keynote presentations was Darren Campbell, track star and Gold and Silver medal holder, adding his point of view as a professional athlete.  Darren was heartfelt in his appreciation of all that School Sport Partnerships have achieved in their work with young people in schools.

Darren was joined by another Olympian, Todd Bennett.  Darren and Todd are currently aiming to visit 2010 schools before the Olympics to promote their fundraising campaign for young sports people who need support to pursue their talents.  They brought with them the huge Union Flag which has been signed at all the schools they have visited so far.  Their intention is to take the flag to the Olympic village next year and present it to Team GB.

The workshops ranged from using such activities as Ballroom Dancing (ably illustrated by a group of children who learned their skills while at Damers First School), TriGolf, Pocket Fit Exercises, and Skip 2B Fit, to enrich other curriculum areas as well as maximising children’s participation in physical activity.

Thanks to the support of School Sport Partnerships, children from the partnership schools receive a more creative approach to physical education, with a variety of theoretical and practical techniques.  Using Physical Education with the link to 2012 as a common strand, their learning can be extended to a wide variety of other subjects in the school curriculum.

Dale Rhodes, Partnership Development Manager of the West Dorset School Partnership Development, said, ‘We have all found our first activity day of 2011 at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy incredibly beneficial.  It is always exciting to spend time working with such inspiring and motivated educators.  They demonstrate how to bring the wonder of 2012 into the classroom.  Thousands of Dorset children will benefit from these creative learning activities which are embodied by our School Sport Partnerships’.

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