DOUBLE TREBLE TITLE JOY FOR ELMS YOUNGSTERS
Young rugby and hockey players from The Elms Junior School in Long Eaton got the sporting year off to a perfect start by clinching notable title hat-tricks at the popular Westbourne Tournament (Friday 28 September).
The youngsters' latest tournament-winning triumph comes as Keith Morrow, Head of The Elms, urged people to celebrate the role of the independent school sector in producing London 2012 Team GB medallists and not look at the success simply as a question of money.
The Elms traditionally enters the U11 boys' rugby and girls' hockey at the Westbourne Tournament, hosted by Westbourne School, Sheffield, and for the third year running both teams finished as the tournament champions.
The tournament, which is held at Abbey Dale Sports Club, is an annual early term event giving local prep and independent junior schools the chance to put their training to the test and for everyone to get some early season game time under their belts in preparation for major regional and national events later in the year.
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In addition to timetabled PE and Games lessons, all children in Years 5 and 6 at The Elms have the opportunity to play in a wide variety of competitive sports fixtures, with hockey, netball and rounders the major sports for girls while for boys it is rugby, football, hockey and cricket. Swimming is also very popular with both boys and girls.
The school's 'Sport for all' policy means the focus for Wednesday afternoon fixtures and weekly Games lessons is on individual improvement across the ability spectrum while by fielding a variety of teams, as many children as possible get to represent their school.
Mr Morrow believes it is this ingrained culture of school sport that can help pupils develop a lifelong love of competing which can lead to Olympic glory or international honours.
He explains: "More than a third of the British medal winners in the 2012 Olympics were from independent schools, which educate only 7% of the school population in the UK. At prep and independent junior school level, most schools set annual fees that are not significantly different to the capitation given by Local Authorities to state primary schools. But, our independence allows us to use our funding where we feel it benefits pupils most.
"Employing specialist teachers, rather than generalist primary teachers, is one way prep and independent junior schools are able to teach sport at a higher level than state primary schools. It is this specialist knowledge, opportunities to play a range of sports and take part in regular competitive sport that plants a seed of enthusiasm and love of sport in children of a young age, which senior schools go on to develop and where we see our athletes flourish."
The Elms is the junior school to Trent College, which itself has enjoyed notable individual sporting successes over the past 12 months with England U18 hockey call ups for Kim Leiper and Chris Proctor, a Scotland U17 cap for rugby union prospect Nick Gray while Jamie Spencer-Pickup was crowned British Schools' Judo U42kgs champion.
Mr Morrow added: "Sport builds confidence, develops teamwork skills and sportsmanship and encourages respect in young people. Pride in the school badge on the sports field cannot be underestimated in the bonds it creates throughout the rest of everyday school life. This is all part of Trent College and The Elms' thorough preparation for life ethos."
For more information about The Elms Junior School and Nursery visit www.elmsschool.net