Just two years ago there was just one after-school club and no inter-school competitive sport at The Firs Primary School in Castle Bromwich, Birmingham. Now, thanks to Evolve’s Project HE:RO Health Mentors, all the school’s KS2 children take part in extra-curricular activities.
In January 2014 there was just one Health Mentor active in the school and this has been increased to four. The school has 467 pupils aged 3-11, from a wide range of backgrounds, religions, cultures and previous educational experience. The proportion of children who are entitled to support from the pupil premium is high.
The increase in Health Mentor input has led to huge steps in increasing active learning and boosting physical health.
Last summer Evolve ran an XLR8 summer transition camp for Year 5 pupils going into Year 6, with plenty of confidence-boosting fun and games to prepare pupils early for the tricky transition to secondary school. The Firs also ran 30 after-school clubs under Evolve’s supervision between January and July. There are currently six clubs a week. Pupils also attended 21 inter-school competitions in the 2014/15 academic year.
It is not only pupils that benefit from Evolve’s input, though. All staff who took part in PE Continuing Professional Development stated they were more confident and had significantly improved their skill set.
Luke Harding, an Evolve Health Mentor and Manager in Birmingham East, who works at The Firs, said: “Increasing the number of after-school clubs and getting the children involved in competitions with other schools and other extracurricular activities has had a tremendous impact on behaviour and resilience in the classroom. It is so rewarding to see the improvements in all aspects of pupils’ wellbeing.”
The Firs has also opened a learning access building called B to A (Believe to Achieve), where pupils go for extra support outside the classroom.
Learning Mentor Lisa Moon, who is on the school staff, said: “The Health Mentors run sessions there with children with behaviour issues, which work extremely well. It’s been amazing to see children who couldn’t sit still for more than two minutes increase the time to 20 minutes after just two sessions.
“The Health Mentors are inspirational role models and the children benefit from the support and having the opportunity to talk about their issues and struggles. We would be lost without our Health Mentors and their individualised, targeted support.”