Calderdale school celebrating after receiving West Yorkshire recognition

New Road Primary School in Sowerby Bridge is celebrating after being named West Yorkshire Active School of the Year.

By Ian Hirst
Friday, 16th July 2021, 11:52 am
Updated Friday, 16th July 2021, 11:54 am

Having won the district award for Calderdale, New Road Primary were chosen by a panel of PE and school sport professionals as the overall county winner, in the awards coordinated by Yorkshire Sport Foundation (YSF).

The panel included Sue Wilkinson MBE, Chief Executive of the Association for Physical Education.

Sharon Harwood, Headteacher at New Road Primary School, commented: “Alongside the academic education of our children, we are passionate about providing an environment that promotes positive wellbeing for all our pupils, staff and families.

Sign up to our daily Halifax Courier Today newsletter

Emily Heckler (Sports Coach), Ava, Charlotte Ellis (PE, School Sport and Physical Activity Officer, Yorkshire Sport Foundation), Jack, and Sharon Harwood (Headteacher, New Road Primary School)

“It is well researched that links between getting physically active supports and improves mental wellbeing. We saw the Active Schools Award as a perfect opportunity for us to celebrate and share what we have been doing at New Road, especially during the last difficult year.

“To hear that we had won the Active School Award for West Yorkshire was a very proud moment for us all. This achievement reflects all the hard work and effort our staff have contributed to ensuring our pupils our active learners and that they enjoy all the physical aspects of their education.

“We have more exciting plans for our school in September when we can extend our active provision to benefit all our families and the local community. Our vision and aim is to continue to promote active lifestyles, utilising the support from Yorkshire Sport Foundation and Active Calderdale to further strengthen and improve on what we are already currently doing at New Road. “

The Active School Awards recognised how schools across South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire kept physical education, school sport and physical activity at the heart of school life during the last 12 months. There were nine district winners from across the two counties, with two overall county winners.  

In choosing a winner, the panel praised the school for considering all aspects of children’s wellbeing, and demonstrating the impact of what they did not only in physical activity levels, but how it had a positive effect on behaviour, concentration and resilience among the pupils.

The school put their pupils physical and mental wellbeing as one of their priorities in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. They organised three wellbeing weeks during the school year, including one during lockdown which included daily activity challenges.

Pupils were taken on nature walks in the local community, took part in a virtual sports day, and re-introduced sports clubs at the earliest opportunity, encouraging staff to share their own sporting passions with pupils by leading the sessions. In addition, the school created opportunities for all pupils that extended beyond academic skills, in particular for disadvantaged pupils who had opportunities to develop and discover new interests and talents.

Since returning to school following lockdown, the school has noted an improved attitude to learning, attributed in no small part to the sport and physical activity that is available.

“Our panel were extremely impressed with the clear reasoning and rationale behind New Road Primary’s work,” said Alex Ogden, PE, School Sport and Physical Activity Manager at Yorkshire Sport Foundation.

“The school is a great example of how sport and physical activity can contribute to so much more than just getting children more active. The impact they have been able to demonstrate shows what can be achieved with PE, school sport and physical activity as part of a school’s ethos.”