On Friday 23rd February 2018 the Priory School (Slough) were crowned ‘Get Berkshire Active ‘Active Primary School’ winners!
So as the title sponsor for this award, and as the founder of ‘The Actives Card’ I wanted to find out for myself why the Priory School were worthy winners and to see if there were any secrets to their success which could be shared with other schools to help raise children’s physical activity levels.
Of course, with any successful team, you need a leader who has a clear vision of what they want to want to achieve and has to be strong enough not to cave into ‘external pressures’ whilst pursuing a game plan.
First and foremost the Priory School are fortunate to have such a convincing and robust leader in the guise of their head teacher – Mrs Laver.
Mrs Laver explained, “we did not have a good Ofsted inspection in 2015 and we as a school lost sight of what being a child was all about.”
One of the key strengths of being a top performing leader is the ability to be brutally honest and identify your team’s weaknesses so that you can then create a plan to move forward and progress – and that’s exactly what Mrs. Laver and her team did.
Mrs. Laver clearly identified that her school needed to give their pupils a framework and a positive environment that placed equal emphasis on a child’s holistic health profile as well as the child’s academic profile.
The Priory School needed a passionate, ambitious PE Teacher whose objective was to create and develop a whole school physical activity programme that benefited the pupils as well as the teachers!
Introducing Mr. Molland… Mr. Molland supported by his PE team has played a key role in facilitating Mrs. Laver vision for the School and attributes their success to two major factors “having complete ‘buy-in’ from the schools Senior Leadership Team (SLT) and having daily communication with at least one member of the SLT team.”
At this point of the discussion, both Mr. Molland and Mrs. Laver were quick to recognise and praise the efforts of the schools business manager – Mrs. McGovern.
Mrs. McGovern is attributed to playing a key role in supporting Mr. Molland’s work whilst ensuring it fitted within the overall school plan.
A great example of The Prior School working together as a well-oiled machine to help increase all 1,000 pupils physical activity levels every week, was piloting and then implementing the fantastic Daily Mile initiative and subsequently investing in a dedicated walking/running track around the school field.
Another really interesting example of how dedicated the Priory School are totally dedicated to ensuring that their pupil’s health and wellbeing is a top priority is the fact they have recruited their own internal kitchen team, as opposed to using outsourced catering companies. Thus having total control over the school dinner menu to ensure their pupils are receiving a nutritious meal.
After my school tour and meeting with various Priory School team members, I came away feeling that this school truly deserved their Get Berkshire Active accolade and I was delighted that such a forward thinking and innovative school would like to work with The Actives over the summer term to pilot our new weekly health and wellbeing challenge.
As I now know that if Mrs. Laver and Mr. Molland and the rest of the team at the Priory School are driving a new initiative – it will undoubtedly increase the chances of being a successful pilot that will have the potential to positively affect the health profile of thousands of primary school children across the country.
Finally, I just want to say thank you to Get Berkshire Active for hosting such an inspiring awards ceremony (again) and thank you to the Priory School for empowering your pupils to adopt healthy lifestyle habits which they can replicate at home.