Talented children in smaller, often isolated rural schools do not have the same opportunities to be spotted as their counterparts in larger, more urban schools with established links to big clubs and county sports networks.
Patsy Ramsbottom, School Sport Coordinator at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School in Ashbourne, explains: “Able and gifted students in small rural schools need to be stretched by peers of an equal ability. In sport these opportunities are not always available in intra-school, and possibly some inter school events. To be able to identify able and gifted students is also sometimes difficult in a small school setting. Students may be identified at cluster and partnership events and then their talents can be coached, developed at an appropriate challenge level.”
There are three key areas of this work:
• Raising the quality of PE for gifted and talented young people.
• ensuring appropriate personal development support for young talented performers in sport.
• Improving standards of coaching and competition for talented performers in sport.
We also run a two-day gifted and talented sports academy for up to 40 of our cluster primary schools most promising year 5 and 6 pupils. We teach core skills with workshops on speed and agility, coordination, goal setting and hydration. using innovative teaching methods such as video playback and introducing them to GB young ambassadors we aim to inspire them and given them confidence in their own abilities.
We also focus on subjects such as sleep and diet, mental preparation and subjects like dealing with injury that are outside the remit of a normal PE session or classroom setting but which are crucial for helping students become the best they can be.
Our ‘Team Me’ approach helps students focus on their aspirations, setting clear targets and identifying people around them who can help them to achieve their dreams, creating a motivational support network of clubs and people in the local community who can nurture and encourage their talent. We engage parents and increase their understanding of their child’s potential and needs.
Year 9 Anthony Gell student Cameron Orr is one of our gifted and talented students who currently ranks 3rd nationally in mountain biking (under 14) and has recently been accepted on the Olympic talent Programme.
The Partnership will:
• Work with students and parents to create talent pathways by building relationships with local sports clubs, coaches and the wider community.
• Coordinate inter-school competitions which allow talented students to go forward to county and national level championships.
• Offer regular Gifted and Talented Camps bringing promising young athletes together in a safe, supportive atmosphere that helps them develop.