Teaching sporty habits for lifelong healthy communities


Watersports , Rugby


St David's

Healthy, happy and active pupils are the focus of a Pembrokeshire High School that is set on teaching all the right habits for a life of wellbeing.

Ysgol Dewi Sant, in St Davids has completely overhauled facilities, while developing a new approach to PE and school sport, ensuring that alongside achieving academically, youngsters within its local community are developing the right habits to go on and live a full, active and healthy life.

Working with local primary schools and extending its offerings to members of the local community, the school has successfully created a local ethos promoting the benefits of healthy and balanced lifestyles, meaning that every child is gaining the opportunity to a better quality of life. 

Ysgol Dewi Sant's overhaul began with the opening of a multi-use sports hall and fitness centre at the school, but it has been the PE department's commitment to providing different types of opportunities to suit every child that has seen more and more young people getting hooked on being active.

Working with local clubs and organisations has allowed the school to introduce new sports and activities both within lesson time and after school.  Using the area's natural resources for example, pupils have become regulars at local coasteering, surfing, kayaking and surf-lifesaving clubs. 

Transportation is now also offered between the school and a number of community clubs and venues, allowing many more to join in these after school opportunities.

Importantly at Ysgol Dewi Sant every child is given the opportunity to enjoy physical activity, both through the wide variety of choice, and also through support in achieving their own personalised goals.   Those who have become disengaged have the opportunity to attend a specialised programme giving them added support to find a way back into sport.

And the effort doesn't end with the school's pupils.  The new leisure facilities and fitness centre now provide out of school activities for the surrounding community.  The secondary school also works tirelessly with the area's primary schools, supporting the development of healthy habits from a young age and creating a stable environment for youngsters to continue enjoying sports when moving from primary to secondary school. 

Sport Wales Senior Officer, Shana Thomas comments:

"To be healthy and go on and get the most out of life, children need to have developed active habits.  Ysgol Dewi Sant is leading the way, in terms of how they promote and provide opportunities for their pupils to develop these habits.

"Not only have they undertaken huge changes to their facilities to reflect demand, but they have developed positive relationships with local primary schools and community clubs to ensure that enjoyable and comfortable environments have been created for all children to experience sport.

"We saw Ysgol Dewi Sant refining these best practices during their ActiveMarc Cymru application, which I am delighted to say they have achieved for 2013/2014.

"This approach is obviously paying dividends, the school's results in the 2013 Sport Wales School Sport Survey were extremely encouraging and highlighted how more and more youngsters are getting hooked on sport as a consequence of the new opportunities."

Ysgol Dewi Sant Senior Teacher, Rachael Thomas adds:

"We want our pupils to become physically literate.  We want them to enjoy leading healthy active lives as adults.

"We therefore see it as our duty to create an environment where they can start to enjoy sport and develop a level of competency which suits them, whether that is playing competitively for their county or having the confidence to simply try new sports recreationally.

"Employing our 5 x 60 officer, Amanda John, to work at the school as well as in the feeder primaries has had a huge impact upon the efficiency and effective process of a child's transition.  Amanda's work has been instrumental in allowing us to further develop our links with community clubs and organisations which allow us to provide new activities and sports within our own offerings.  It has also helped our pupils in venturing beyond the school gates to be active, joining local clubs, which has many benefits in its own right."

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