Article in the Wharfedale Observer, 25 March 2013
A school’s sports partnership is continuing to spearhead competitions for students and lead disability sports initiatives despite “savage” Government cutbacks.
Since becoming a Sports College in 2000, St Mary’s Catholic Voluntary Academy in Menston has been responsible for running the Leeds North West School Sport Partnership of 54 schools.
This work has gained national acclaim and despite dramatic cuts in Government funding two years ago, the Partnership continues to provide a wealth of opportunities for young people in sport.
This month, the partnership launched a new primary school competition showcasing Paralympic sports – boccia, new age kurling, seated volleyball and goal ball.
The event was devised after demand was voiced from primary teachers for a specific disability sport competition.
On Tuesday, March 26, partnership schools will be involved in the Leeds KS3/4/5 Disability Aqua Festival at John Charles Centre for Sport, Aquatics Centre.
The Partnership is also now nearly two terms into the School Games calendar of sports competitions.
Pupils have participated in a range of inter-school competitions, including athletics, basketball, table tennis, Paralympic sports, dance, football and dodge ball.
Events are open to all abilities with the most talented teams qualifying through to the district final, and eventually the West Yorkshire Summer School Games at Leeds Met University.
The Year 5/6 Tag Rugby Festivals delivered in partnership with the RFU were launched on Monday.
The St Mary’s School Sport Partnership says it is proud of the progress made so far toward the Government strategy for sport, the ‘School Games’. A full summer programme of events is being organised to start after Easter.
Assistant headteacher at St Mary’s, David Geldart, praised the work of all the schools and teachers involved in providing the sporting opportunities for young people.
He paid particular tribute to school games organiser, Natalie Mallinson for co-ordinating and managing the partnership.
The St Mary’s Disability Multi-Sports Club, the SOS Club, is now in its 13th year. Three additional Primary School ‘Change for Life’ Clubs have been launched in the Leeds North West taking the total up to 12.