Stanford sweats for Britain’s future athletes

Stanford Primary School children sweated their bit for Great Britain’s talented young atheletes when Ben Challenger, British high jumper and Olympic hopeful visited the school earlier this week.

The school teamed up with Team Super Schools, a national fundraising initiative, to raise money for young talented athletes and to encourage and inspire the children to take regular exercise and enjoy sport.

Ben and the children aged four to 11 were sponsored to do star jumps, leg drives and push ups and successfully raised over £1,000. The funds will go towards supporting the country’s talented young athletes who could represent the country at the Olympics and Commonwealth in the future . A portion will also go to the school to use in supporting school children to pursue sports available in Merton via the Merton Schools Sports Partnership.

At Stanford sport is a really important part of the curriculum and all children have access to physical education. The high quality of Stanford’s physical education programme was recently recognised when Sport England awarded the school an Activemark because the percentage of children participating in at least 2 hours of high quality PE and school sport each week is significantly above the national average.

Ben Challenger said:
‘I think sport is an important part of a child’s development. It’s good to keep them fit, to build their minds and to teach them the importance of team spirit. You never know if you’re going to like something until you try it so children who are not to keen on sports should give it a go. They may like it!’

Head Teacher of Stanford Primary, Keran Currie, said:
‘Ben’s visit was a wonderful experience for our school. Not only did Stanford children get the opportunity to do their bit for the country’s talented young athletes but Ben’s presence also made a huge contribution to the children’s understanding of the importance of taking regular exercise, participating actively in sport and how it contributes to a healthy lifestyle.’

Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Debbie Shears said:
‘I was at Stanford when Ben visited and saw first hand the school’s commitment to sport and the health of its pupils. It’s also great news that Stanford and other Merton schools are being recognised for their sports provision through Activemark accreditation . These awards highlight that Merton schools provide a varied curriculum and quality educational opportunities which give students the chance to achieve their potential.’

‘Ben’s visit has also given the children a greater interest in following this year’s Olympics and Paralympic Games in Beijing and in particular the London 2012 Games’

Notes to editors:
– Pics of Ben Challenger’s visit to Stanford available on request.
– Ben Challenger showed he was one of the most exciting talents in athletics as early as 1996, when he jumped 2.21 at the World Junior Championships in Sydney, improving by 10cm in just one year. In 1997, he won the silver medal at the European Junior Championships. His career highlights to date include winning a bronze medal at the 2002 Commonwealth Games. His personal best is a jump of 2.30 metres.
– More information on Team Super Schools is available at http://www.superschools.co.uk
– More information on Activemark is available at http://www.sportengland.co.uk