14 pupils and their parents/guardians, along with teachers from the Bethnal Green Academy in Tower Hamlets, yesterday enjoyed a celebration with Spirit of Squash to recognise their achievements in completing the first Spirit of Squash “Play & Learn” programme.
Unique to Spirit of Squash at secondary school level, the new project represents a first for the UK, taking place on school squash courts and offering pupils weekly squash sessions alongside academic study in numeracy and literacy. Based on the successful American Urban Squash model, Spirit of Squash established a partnership with the Bethnal Green Academy earlier this year in order to run a pilot six week programme with a selection of Year 7 pupils.
The final week and celebration saw parents and guardians join their sons and daughters on the squash court followed by refreshments, awards and presentations. Pupils gave their own presentations about squash and the six week course, either individually or in small groups of 2 and 3.
The pilot has been a resounding success and all 14 pupils have been offered places for the whole of the academic year starting in September. Additionally a group of new Year 7 pupils will be starting after the first half-term in October.
Paul Fennell, Operations and Development Manager, for Spirit of Squash commented:
This programme is first and foremost about supporting the improvement of academic standards in children and then providing them with additional life skills for their future. Squash helps provide the focus and skills to support their studies and is of course a fantastic sport for improving health, fitness and general well-being. Our aspiration is to grow the programme year on year at the Bethnal Green Academy and also to start other programmes in some of the most deprived boroughs in London and around the country.
Spirit of Squash would like to thank the Bethnal Green Academy and its staff and teachers for their enthusiasm and support. We would also like to thank Sam Miller and Eye Rackets – our equipment partner for the “Play & Learn” programme.
If you are interested in finding out more about our programmes please contact James Sandwith – James@SpiritOfSquash.com. If you or your business would like to become a Spirit of Squash benefactor contributing directly to the expansion of our “Play & Learn” programme, please get in touch right away.
Spirit of Squash, along with equipment partner Eye Rackets, recently strengthened its relationship with the Bethnal Green Academy School in Tower Hamlets, where a new project will combine squash coaching with academic study in numeracy and literacy.
Pupils, their parents and teachers attended an evening presentation to launch and sign up to the UK’s first secondary school Urban Squash Education Project. Modelled on the American concept which has proved so successful, Spirit of Squash will run the first pilot scheme over six weeks starting in June.
Each week pupils will receive one hour of squash coaching (at a pupil to coach ratio of 5:1) and one hour of academic study in numeracy and/or literacy.
The evening presentation proved to be a hit with students and parents alike who were all sold on the idea, one parent even wanting to sign up herself.
Sam Miller, Managing Director of Eye Rackets, commented that,
The evening was extremely well received and I felt there was genuine excitement from the kids, parents and teachers. There is certainly much potential for the initiative and it’s wonderful to be associated with such a program. I look forward to growing our relationship and helping you move this forward at the Bethnal Green Academy and beyond.
Paul Fennell, Operations and Development Manager at Spirit of Squash, commented that this initiative represents the beginning of a shift in focus for Spirt of Squash:
We want to become the number one provider of education and sport programs in London, and The Bethnal Green Academy is the perfect place to launch our fantastic new project.
The Bethnal Green Academy has the only two squash courts in the borough of Tower Hamlets. Since 2007, the school has seen a remarkable turn-around under its current leadership team, beginning as a low-achieving school and now enjoying an Ofsted rating (2010/13) of ‘Outstanding’.
James Sandwith, Director of Spirit of Squash concludes:
We have been giving sporting opportunities to ever more of London’s youth, putting squash rackets into the hands of 5,685 kids in 2014. Giving children the chance to play sport is so important, but allowing them to learn basic life skills alongside their exercise is even better. Learning a sport, gaining from the social benefits that accompany sports participation, and then improving your maths, all in a safe and secure environment – that’s very special.