Our department mission was and continues to be, to create an environment that fosters a life-long love of sport through participation, and to provide opportunities to develop, succeed and excel.
So, we started there! Through this vision, the staff in the PE and Sports Department have strived to enthuse all of our children by building a new sense of community within each activity. The initial concern, from my perspective, was that this was not to be a process of trial and error. Whichever strategies or schemes we decided to put in place had to work as there was no room for error. After all, you only get one chance at a childhood.
Participation in extracurricular sport relies heavily on our PE teachers being experts in both their subject and in their ability to develop enthusiasm in students - so that the students will choose to participate in sport outside of their PE lessons. At BISS, as I mentioned earlier, our participation numbers in extracurricular sport have increased from Term One of last year. Although the students have not been able to compete with other schools, due to the high participatory numbers in each programme, from the BISS Lions Year 1 and Year 2 Football League to the BISS Lions Under 19 Volleyball League, we have been able to include all students who wished to play and we have created the appropriate level opportunity for them to develop and compete.
So why is this important? The statistics show that children who are engaged in physical activity at least once a day will be better learners. This comes as no surprise to any of us and is something I have written and spoken about with many parents at length. The importance of our students enjoying their sporting activities after a global pandemic and a mass lockdown is greater than ever before. On our return to school, I saw the students in need of ‘community’ or to break it down further, Common Unity. We have achieved this by creating fun, competitive and safe learning environments within our extracurricular sport. The experienced athletes have worked towards leadership goals, supporting those who are lessexperienced in a sport. Club captains have taken ownership of their team ethos and have developed a sense of togetherness within their sport. We have celebrated all the different facets of the BISS Lions programme during Term One at the BISS Lions Sports Awards evening, which helped students to not only celebrate with their sporting peers within their own specialism, but to celebrate within the pride of the BISS Lions.
As a result of the success of the programme and the benefit from being part of a global network of schools, in recent months, I have led an online Nord Anglia discussion forum open to the 69 schools across the Nord Anglia Education group. Colleagues from different sectors of many NA schools have been able to come together to discuss the various challenges they have faced in recent months and how best to overcome them. This forum has again brought common unity to the listeners and speakers in the sessions, and has proved so successful that there has been interest from one of the UK’s top sporting universities, Loughborough University. These forums continue to develop and are proving to be insightful gatherings in which we can discuss ideas to create the best possible programmes for our students to benefit from.