Children from local schools were offered the chance to engage in fun sporting activities.

Athletic Union welcomes 'Sporting Stars' from local secondary schools

On Thursday 7 November, the University of Exeter held its second ‘Sporting Stars’ day of the academic year, attended by 90 students hailing from four different local Secondary Schools.

The event welcomed students from West Exe, Clyst Vale, Magdalen Court and The Maynard primary schools and was the second of six opportunities for local children to get involved in sport.

Now in its second year, Sporting Stars days give children the chance to have a fun and educational day away from the classroom.

The main aims of the project are to educate and inspire children through the field of sport. This isn’t just any ordinary day off school for the children; not only are they given the chance to participate in a variety of different sports, but they are also given highly engaging workshops underlying the basic science behind sport.

Sporting Stars is also a chance for the University and its students to showcase their vast experience and sporting talent. Events are organised by a committee of undergraduate students aided by members of the University’s illustrious Sports Volunteering Scheme (SVS).

SVS volunteers offer their time in order to coach and educate children from local schools in one off events like Sporting Stars, but also to go into schools and work closely with teachers and coaches.

Sporting Stars events feature immersive seminars and workshops in Psychology, Physiology, Nutrition and Movement; all of which give pupils an opportunity to get involved, get on their feet and have fun whilst learning the intricacies that these subjects offer. The sessions are taught by current University staff, students and experts from specialist organisations such as Exercise Science Consulting. Their combination of irrefutably detailed knowledge of the subjects and fun exercises help the children learn what can be often intense and tricky subjects with great ease.

After a morning of scientific workshops, students were given a taster in three different sports; tennis, squash and cricket, which are often difficult to teach in schools.

Students were then treated to a presentation from Exeter student and England rugby star Zoe Sayner who explained what life is like as an international level sportswoman.

Event organiser Megan Russell was delighted that the University is able to provide this sort of service for children in the community. She commented: “It really shows how much the students and the University care about the growth of the British youth within sport. Often when playing a new sport, a child will realise that the skills they have gained thus far are transferrable to other sports, and Sporting Stars can really open a child’s eyes to the wide possibilities available to them.

“The day isn’t all about the children, however. Speaking to the teachers, it was evident how much they too were enjoying themselves. Sporting Stars gave their pupils the opportunity to express themselves in a learning environment. The children, some of whom are known to be shy and intrinsic started to come out their shells and relish in the activities.

“Since the first Sporting Stars day, it has been a huge success. Children have enjoyed it, teachers have loved it and the students who organised the event adore being able to do this too. It is a perfect example of how the University can positively influence local communities.  We can’t wait to host the next one.”

For more information about Sporting Stars or for any information about the projects and session leaders mentioned please contact:

Megan Russell (Participation and Volunteering Coordinator), 01392 722646 or sportingstars@exeter.ac.uk

Nutrition – Dr Andrew Middlebrooke founder of Exercise Science Consulting – info@exercisescienceconsulting.co.uk

Movement – Wayne Pattinson S and C coach – W.Pattinson@exeter.ac.uk

Devon Cricket – Steve Pritchard (Schools Development Officer) – steve.pritchard@devoncricket.co.uk

Date: 8 November 2013

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