Friday, 4 July 2008

Skipping Class

I went to New Road Primary in Chatham today and saw one of the most amazing school initiatives I've seen to date. It is "Skip2Bfit" and was sent up by a Kent based chap called John McCormack, a former boxer and boxing trainer, who has introduced skipping into primary schools as a way of improving academic performance.

The pupils (and teachers) at New Road Primary were having a lot of fun skipping to the Eye of the Tiger when I arrived at 2pm and it wasn't long before I got roped in (geddit?) to having a go - thankfully I had my plimsolls in my handbag so didn't have to do it in my heels! I only had a token skip - it is hard to do it properly in a suit - but even after a little while my heart was pumping away. That said I think my biggest worry was that I was going to whack some kid with my skipping rope - not exactly a vote winner!

Anyway, my efforts were token but the efforts of John, Dwain and the others who run Skip2Bfit are full time and hugely impressive. John is absolutely convinced that this initiative helps improve academic performance - and with some reason: in Medway alone it has been proven that it has raised concentration levels and learning ability - and it goes without saying that it helps keep children fit and healthy.

I gave out the certificates at the special assembly at the end, which was followed by a "face off" between the best teacher and the best student, which had all the students (and teaching) cheering along. All in all the whole thing smacks of fun - and how else do you get children engaged in learning and fitness if it is not fun. I enjoyed my little skip but annoyingly I forgot to ask for permission to publish pictures of the children I was skipping with - hence the cropped picture above - but hopefully I will publish more soon.

After an afternoon at New Road Primary, I went to see a parent of two children at Chatham South School. He is very concerned about the proposed merger of Chatham South with Medway Community College. More soon on this...

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