An Eastbourne school is celebrating its pupils’ sporting prowess after receiving a boost of £3,000.
The Mayor of Eastbourne, councillor Pat Hearn, and councillor Colin Swansborough visited Heron Park Primary Academy to help celebrate.
The Academy, which is part of Aurora Academies Trust, received the grant from the Hampden Park councillors’ Devolved Budget fund to help develop its after school clubs and provide opportunities to young people, while reducing the financial burden to the pupils’ families.
According to the school, the sports provision at the Dallington Road school has improved so dramatically that a third of pupils who were previously non-active are now regularly taking part in after school sports.
Building on this success, the school has also been awarded its Gold School Games status and won first prize for the best in-school competitive sporting provision in the South Downs area.
The mayor said, “Sport is such an important part of a child’s development and it’s so beneficial if that can be instilled from an early age.
“We were delighted to spend time with staff and children at the school and they were proud to tell us about the wide range of sports clubs which are now on offer.
“The Devolved Budget grant enabled the school to cut the cost of the after school clubs in half and this has significantly contributed to an incredible 104 per cent increase in attendance.”
Heron Park’s sports clubs and in-school curriculum are co-ordinated by Mark Griffiths from Sportitude.
He said, “Our aim has always been to improve sporting achievement at both an individual and team level but in a way that teaches our children to respect the game, their opponents and the officials.
“Self-discipline and teamwork are vital qualities for children to learn at an early age and we are proud that our sports teams are now beginning to reach a standard to compete with the best schools in the area, while also winning many friends for their sportsmanship on the field of play.”
Head teacher Raja Ali, said, “The promotion of sport and healthy lifestyles is of paramount importance as they help our children to develop, gain in self-confidence and to live longer.
“At Heron Park we also see this as being a vital aid to learning and we are proud of our children’s achievements so far.”
And Tim McCarthy, Chief Executive Officer of Aurora Academies Trust, said, “We are very proud of what has been achieved at Heron Park.
“The young people in our care deserve not only an outstanding educational programme in the classroom but also an outstanding diet of extra-curricular activities which enrich their lives in so many ways. For us it is always onwards and upwards!”