As well as tracking fitness and improving individual and school performances, Primary Sports Coordinator Sam Baker hopes the academy will help students see sport and fitness as an essential part of school life.
ACG Sunderland has started a sports academy for primary students to help aspiring athletes reach their full potential.
The initiative is focused on students in Years 4-6 who represent the school in a sport, participate in running club, and achieve set fitness targets.
Fourteen students are involved in the pilot year.
“At the start of the year we were looking at how to improve sports performance in the primary school,” said Primary Sports Coordinator Sam Baker. “I had set up a successful rugby academy in my previous school and I knew the process worked, so we decided to start one here.”
Since the academy started, the school has seen outstanding performances in hockey, netball and swimming, all of which feature athletes participating in the academy.
Jack Pollard, in Year 6, is one of the athletes taking part. Last year he finished towards the back of the school in cross country; this year he placed second. He plays rugby, Floorball, hockey and swims for the school.
“It’s upped my fitness so much,“ he said. “I’m seeing muscles I’ve never seen before.”
Mr Baker, who has a degree in sports management and extensive experience as a sports coordinator in schools, said as well as tracking fitness and improving individual and school performances, he hoped the academy would help students see sport and fitness as an essential part of school life.
“It shouldn’t be a second priority; it’s an important part of a holistic education.”
There is pride and prestige in being involved in the academy, he added.
“Having a personalised sports academy shirt with your name on the back is a pretty big thing for the students. I always have other students asking if they can join the academy.”