Today was something that I’ve been looking forward to since John mentioned it to me last week…going back to primary school! It had been arranged for me to spend the day at Chad Vale Primary School in Harborne in order for me to see how Project HE:RO works first hand by shadowing the school’s Health Mentor, Rhys Bowen.
When I arrived at the school in the morning I was met with some bad news: sports day was supposed to be happening today but it had been cancelled due to the bad weather! Despite this I was still going to be able to use today as a chance to understand more about the work Evolve does and what impact it within the school.
To kick off the day I sat down for a chat with the school’s Health Mentor, Rhys. It was clear that Rhys is passionate about his role within the school and by the end of the chat I had definitely gained a greater understanding of his role. I can now see that this scheme is not just about organising physical activity for the children to enjoy; it’s also about providing classroom assistance, one-on-one help for children who require it and also providing a positive male role model. This last point seems particularly important, especially when I later read that one in four of primary schools in England do not have any male teachers.
Rhys then gave me a tour of the school and as we walked around the classrooms it became obvious that he is very popular with the children! When the tour was complete I was given the opportunity to spend time with Year 5 and I was able to question the teacher and the children about their experience with Evolve. Mr Clark explained that having a Health Mentor as a regular member of staff was a great strength of the scheme as children and teachers are able to build a relationship with Rhys and in return Rhys is able to understand the school and how it works. The children I spoke to explained that their sessions with Rhys were more fun and varied than normal P.E lessons and even described Rhys as their ‘favourite teacher’.
Today was definitely useful in allowing me to see first hand what project HE:RO does for schools. I left feeling positive about working for Evolve and being able to work with a company which is obviously succeeding in improving children’s primary school experience. Hopefully my time at the XLR8 Camp will be just as much fun!