Missed play opportunities and an increased time spent at home during the pandemic lockdowns had a clear impact on pupils' physical health and mental well-being.
That’s the view of staff at Chilton Primary School in Ramsgate where a new initiative is underway to redress the balance and support children.
Chilton is working with The Sports Project team which is passionate about addressing and improving mental health and well-being of primary age girls and boys.
The team spends two days a week at the school and each class has a 30-minute session with instructor Kate, who also spends two-hour long slots with pupils whose needs have been identified for more support.
On their first session pupils took part in a physical fitness baseline. Following this, teachers filled in a class 'Social and Emotional Learning' questionnaire.
This helped to identify the social and emotional priorities for each class across the school. Kate then plans sessions to support the needs of each class.
These sessions support the progression of physical fitness, as well as working on key social and emotional skills such as resilience, communication and teamwork.
The Sports Project then provide the school with feedback on the progression of the pupils and follow up ideas for the week ahead.
Acting Deputy Head of School Hannah Cheshire explained: “We have welcomed the Sport Project - after the challenges the last year has thrown up, the impact on pupils' physical health and social and emotional well-being was evident.
“We wanted to be pro-active in doing all we could to support our pupils so decided to get involved with 'The Sports Project'. The founder of the company, Mark Tyrell, is dedicated to helping and supporting primary age pupils after experiencing issues himself.
“We all know the challenges our pupils have faced over the last year. We are just at the start of our journey working with The Sports Project and we are already seeing an impact on our pupils.
“Children say how much they love the sessions and we have had received a number of emails from parents saying the same.
“Arming our girls and boys with the social and emotional skills to ensure they lead happy and healthy lives is of utmost importance.”
Head of School Kate Law said: “The first sessions with this initiative have been very positive and we cannot wait to see how well the programme goes as it develops over the coming weeks.
“Our children’s well-being, development and happiness are the core of everything we stand for at Chilton and this project works well with our efforts to offer new levels of support after such a challenging time for them and their families.”
To find out more about The Sports Project go online to thesportsproject.org.