Story added: 13th January 2021

“It was great to see how much he put into, and in turn got out of, the sessions."

A youngster from a school in Norwich has made positive strides forward, thanks to a Premier League programme.

Ten-year-old David, from Heartsease, was a participant on the Premier League Primary Stars (PLPS) sessions delivered by the Community Sports Foundation at Heartsease Primary Academy last autumn.

Once a week, David and his classmates enjoyed an outdoor sport and wellbeing session run by the Foundation’s PLPS Officer Jake Mardell, followed by a classroom session led by colleague Richard Graham.

The indoor session focussed on goal-setting and positive mindsets, more important than ever in a year disrupted by the cycle of lockdowns.

This two-tiered approach quickly yielded results for David and his classmates:

“We could instantly see its effect on the children’s mental and physical wellbeing across the year group. Most of what was delivered in the practical sessions was positively enforcing lots of good behaviours and being active, but also challenging the pupils to do more outside of the sessions.” said Jake Mardell.

He continued: “The work with Richard helped them understand what stress was and how to talk about their emotions openly, while learning methods to keep calm and set goals.”

David embraced the sessions enthusiastically and set himself two goals of improving his running and controlling his anger.

Muhamadu, David’s dad, noticed his son’s behaviour changing for the better.

“He used to come home very angry from school many times. He couldn’t control himself.

“Now, every time we go to the park, while his siblings go to play with the swings, he goes to run: “Daddy, watch me running!”, “How many minutes was I?””

David said: “At my park there’s a running track and I run there often now. The first time I went I felt exhausted, but now I can do two laps.”

This newfound passion for running saw David shave over three seconds off his ‘t-shape’ run time, a measure recorded both before and after the six week programme.

Thanks to the indoor sessions, Mrs Ann-Marie Tibble, David’s class teacher, reflected that he is now “making better decisions, and he no longer leaves the classroom during lessons. He is using coping mechanisms to remain calm when he feels angry.”

Inspired by the sessions and his success at both controlling his anger and improving his running, David has set himself two more goals: get better at maths and become a great baker (specialising in “three-tiered cakes”, no less!).

“That’s my future,” he proudly told Foundation coaches on a recent video call catchup.

“David’s been fantastic. It was great to see how much he put into, and in turn got out of, the sessions,” said Jake. “We’ll stay in touch, and hope to hear how he’s continuing his good work.”

To find out more about the Premier League Primary Stars programme, please click here.

Further outcomes

Further outcomes

Across the class group as a whole, class teacher Mrs Tibble noticed a range of positive outcomes.

“The children were all disappointed when their afternoon lessons were over, they all responded really well to both the indoor and outdoor activities.

“Behaviour in the playground has improved considerably; students are more co-operative and are playing fairly. The games they are playing are more inventive and they are using some of the activities they learnt during their outdoor sessions.”

Lucas, one of David’s classmates, also found the sessions engaging, and found it impacted his behaviours:

“Most of the time whenever people got in a fight, I’d always hurt them back. Now I know I shouldn’t be doing that, because that isn’t the right thing to be doing. I’m happier and more excited about things.”

60% of the students at the Academy showed an improvement in how they think about school, while 65% improved their improved their running speed.

Find out more

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