This is an interview with Kim Karam, the New Milne’s Primary School Head Teacher, who was appointed this school year. Kim has made a huge impact on the amount of physical activity sessions involved in the Primary School since August. We wanted to catch up with her to see what views are on Active Schools and physical activity.
What are your perceptions of Active Schools?
Active Schools has been instrumental in allowing us to offer our students a much wider range of sporting opportunities. Our coordinator, Lorna, supports us in providing team and individual activities after school almost every day. Whenever I have offered ideas, Lorna has found suitable coaches, resources and training for our pupil leaders. We have offered six sessions of various sports to all age-groups. These have included cricket, rugby, basketball, badminton, hockey, gymnastics, karate and dance. This would not have been possible without Active Schools.
What do you believe is important to be embedding in the school for physical activity?
It is my hope that we offer all students the chance to participate in sports they enjoy or show an interest in. Article 15 gives children the Rights to join their friends in groups and clubs. As a Rights Respecting School, this is one of our embedded principles. I want Milne’s Primary students to experience the joy of movement, to cultivate a lifelong commitment to physical wellbeing and instil active habits and a range of activities into their everyday lives. I do not want them to be afraid of trying new things and experiencing physical challenges.
Have you seen any impacts from these physical activity sessions?
So far this year we have provided opportunities to 42% of our students – this is a large increase, and a trend which will help us to embed physical activity into our school experience. The children have enjoyed a wider range of sports and have become more confident in a variety of ways. As well as increased physical fitness and wellbeing, our sporting participants learn more about being a team player, sportsmanship, following rules, safety and perceived risks, resilience and healthy competition. Moving forward, these skills can be transferred into other areas of their lives.
Are there any other partners that you feel would benefit from working with the school and Active Schools to benefit the community?
Our children have had the chance to meet and work with new people; coaches, leaders and other clubs within our ASG. I would like this to be expanded and for new clubs to be on offer. This might include dancing (building on the popularity of ‘Strictly’), kayaking/swimming and climbing walls. It would be nice to consider opportunities that parents and children can do together too, possibly a jogging or fitness club, cycling or outdoor orienteering.
The area I’d like to focus on next is equalities and inclusion what area do you think should be my next main focus?
Equality and inclusion is very important in sports, as in all areas of our provision for our students. We have recently purchased Boccia balls and have begun to train some of our pupils to run a lunchtime club that is truly open to all abilities. We keep a participation log in each class so our teachers can track which pupils might need more encouragement to attend classes. Our after-school clubs are all free and we ensure that most do not require children to have any of their own equipment. I think the next main focus should be to gather the thoughts and interests of all the children to see what they would like to try next. I would also like to offer free classes to staff, allowing them all to be role models for fitness and feel more up skilled when teaching P.E. to children with a wide range of individual needs.
A huge thank you to Kim and her staff for allowing children in the school to take part in activities during and after school hours. We have enjoyed working with you and we look forward to many more sessions at Milne’s Primary School. If you wish to help deliver sessions for Active Schools in the Milne’s ASG please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.