Sharing of good practice: young leaders at Brockwell Junior

Posted 8th February 2017

The following piece was put together by the Young Leaders at Brockwell Junior School. It is a fantastic example of the School Games values, as well as the ability to reflect on past accomplishments and plan for the future.

We are the Young Leaders. We are working hard to make sure that every child is involved in as many physical activities as possible. We have five groups of young leaders in school that target a wide variety of children’s needs and activities:

The Bronze Young Ambassadors lead some of our intra-school competitions; so far we have had competitions for two Paralympic running events and a boccia tournament. As a direct impact of their dedication and enthusiasm, every child in school signed up to play boccia, that’s 252 and a lot of teams! It was organised as a knockout tournament with the games being held every playtime. Taya, a wheelchair user, says that, "boccia allows her to play the game with her friends, just like her friends." She also feels that, "playing intra-school competitions has made her feel more confident in the inter-school Boccia competition." The Bronze Young Ambassadors also organise a whole school sports day and lead our media publications of the physical activities in school.

We also have our Change4Life Crew who are doing a fantastic job of increasing children’s physical activity during play times. They are using a brilliant programme called Go Noodle, which includes fun dancing, stretching and relaxing videos for the children to follow. Their numbers of participation, since using Go Noodle, have increased from around 10 a session to over 45, which is nearly the full year group that is invited to any given session. As so many are now attending, the Change4Life Crew are having to double up on duties to ensure that the children are being well supervised and managed. This means they are all working twice as hard for the benefits of others. Working with the Obesity Plan, the Change4Life Leaders make themselves available at snack times, armed with iPads and the Change4Life ‘Be Food Smart’ app to help children better understand the foods they are choosing to eat. This is proving to have a positive impact on the children’s healthy eating choices.

It came to light, through discussion, that many of our girls do not join in what is traditionally considered ‘boy’s sport’ as they feel ‘it is too rough’ for them. This, together with the high profile This Girl Can movement, instigated the coming together of another group of dynamic young leaders. Brockwell’s own This Girl Can Team is run by girls for girls. Their aim is to promote the participation of girls in all sport and to provide them with the experiences, skills and confidence to play these sports, not only for pleasure but also at competition level. As a result of the This Girl Can Team, Brockwell Junior put together their first girl’s only football club, entered their first girl’s football tournament and enjoyed success at county level by achieving a magnificent bronze medal.

Our largest group of young leaders are the Mini Leaders, who can be found throughout the day, engaging and encouraging children to participate in a wide variety of sporting activities, team games and physical movement. They also support the other young leaders in delivering their activities, such as the whole school New Age Kurling tournament. New Age Kurling was recently introduced at Brockwell Juniors after 50 children attended a festival and ‘discovered’ this new sport. William said: "Kurling is my all time favourite sport," so who were we to deny him the chance to continue playing it?

We believe that small changes to lifestyle can have a big effect on the health and well-being of young people, which is why we are working with the Modeshift STARS accreditation scheme to encourage children (and staff) to travel actively to school. During the first year of implementing these changes it became clear that the teachers needed help from some young leaders, hence the introduction of the Travel Smart Ambassadors. This set of leaders implements many competitions that run through the school holidays as well as during term time, such as Active Summer and Active Winter. These competitions require children and their families to ‘Tweet’ in their activities and have really helped to form and build upon home-school collaborations for active lifestyles. A great number of Tweets are received during the competitions, and have proved to be very popular. Most of these photos are of children being active with their families. This shows that the leaders are having an impact in the wider community not just with the children of Brockwell.

As a collective group of over 60 young leaders, we attend regular meetings to discuss new ideas and achievements, attend training sessions, such as lessons in photography, green screen reporting and how to blog our efforts. The young leaders of Brockwell (under the watchful eye of the P.E Coordinator) operate our own Twitter account to hold competitions, as well as inform and report regularly on the activities happening in school. Each leader promotes the Spirit of the Games and each has the power to award children with Spirit of the Games bands when these values are shown – this has had a huge impact on how the children work with each other and conduct themselves around school, not just in P.E sessions.

Our plans for the future are evolving and growing to a scale that is unusual in most settings. Our leaders are phenomenal in their roles and truly believe in what they do. They are passionate and proactive in passing their enthusiasm on to others, with outstanding results. "Keeping up with the demands of the young leaders is a full time job," said the P.E Coordinator, "but as a school, we could not be prouder of the work they do."

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