Wednesday, July 20th, 2016.

PE team Debbie Brunskill, Mark Nesbitt and Frances Tiffin with the Silver School Games Mark award

Excelsior Academy staff and pupils are celebrating awards for the promotion of healthy living and sporting participation to add to the school’s growing collection of silverware.

Excelsior’s PE team accepted the silver School Games Mark award as official recognition of an outstanding year of work developing sporting competition and participation across the school.

And another accolade was soon to follow when the academy was re-accredited as an official Healthy School for its promotion of a healthy lifestyle for pupils.

These awards add to the Music Mark and Artsmark Gold accolades Excelsior has won recently, and being named with the Laidlaw Schools Trust as top employer for its apprentice programme at the Newcastle City Council Adult Learning Celebration of Success awards.

PE teacher Debbie Brunskill had originally set out to apply for a bronze School Games Mark, but such was the depth and breath of sporting activities at Excelsior, that a bid for silver status was successful.

Pupils from Years 7 to 11 were put through their paces in rugby, football, table tennis, cricket, rounders, trampolining, badminton, cross country and indoor and outdoor athletics to help Excelsior achieve its national award.

The academy met exacting requirements to gain silver status, including:

  • Providing at least two hours of physical education and school sport every week
  • Engaging at least 35% of students in extracurricular sporting activity every week
  • Participating in seven intra school competitions
  • Engaging at least 10% of students in leading, managing and officiating School Games activity

“We are over the moon to win this award,” said Debbie. “The more I looked at the criteria, the more it became apparent that we were on track for a silver rather than a bronze award.

“The next stop is going for gold award status – we haven’t put a timeframe on it but that’s our next goal.”

Frances Tiffin, PE Subject Development Leader for Key Stage 4 and 5, collected Excelsior’s Healthy Schools Award – a reaccreditation by the Newcastle Healthy School Programme to recognise schools which have met stringent quality standards to promote a healthy way of living.

The award sets tough targets for schools to meet including healthy eating, physical activity, health education and personal well-being.

“We have worked really hard with the student council to have their input into this programme,” said Frances.

“Our subject focus has been on providing children with a minimum of two hours PE per week. Our target was also to increase the number of children who report they are living in a smoke-free home and to focus on educating children about the dangers of legal highs.”