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SSP Alert!

Be active, be healthy, be happy!

Hello all!

I’m sure you are all looking forward to a jam packed summer term, I know we are at the SSP. With lots of competitions, CPD courses and planning for next year it looks set to be a great summer. The national picture looks just as busy. The Women’s Cycling Tour of Britain coming to Oxfordshire in June is very exciting. Couple this with the Women’s Football World Cup, Netball World Cup and Men’s Cricket World cup (2 being held in England) there will be plenty for us sports fans to enjoy and lots to inspire our youngsters. The DFE announcement confirming the ‘enhanced’ PE premium funding for the next academic year is fantastic news; giving schools the resource to provide sustainable opportunities for young people to be more active.

The Easter break has given me an opportunity to take stock and reflect on my first term in post. It has been a brilliant 3 months in which I have thoroughly enjoyed discovering all that the partnership has to offer. The competitions, the training, the people, the breadth and reach of the partnership have all solidified my passion for making our young people healthier and happier.

The range and quality of events is as strong as I expected. We have talented young performers and leaders given the opportunities to showcase their talents in positive environments, which are brilliantly organised by our SSCO’s with the help of enthusiastic and supportive Primary PE coordinators. I was lucky enough to spend the last week of term supporting #teamnorth in the County School Games Spring Finals witnessing the end product of our fantastic competition framework. It was a real honour to watch our hardworking young people display their talent, always in the correct competitive spirit, where sportsmanship is so important. Winning is not as important as the experience itself, however, to come away with 14 Bronze, 17 Silver and 14 Gold medals was a brilliant culmination of the efforts of all involved. This was backed up in the first of the Summer County Finals this week with another 9 medals, including 4 golds in one day of competition! Well done and thankyou to all of you who support the competition framework.

I have been lucky to meet with many of the stakeholders who support this fantastic partnership, it has been a real pleasure doing so. Meeting with people who want to make a genuine difference to the lives of young people is inspiring. We continue to grow our reach and having met with new governing bodies, sports organisations and sports developers it is clear what we are doing is widely recognised as being excellent; which means that more and more people want to be involved. The challenge, as always is how can we improve these opportunities for all young people to be more physically active, something we must not lose sight of.

I continually reflect on the Sport England Active Lives Survey results from December that tells us we must do more to ensure all young people are more active on a daily basis. The health of their lives literally depends on it. I was also very interested to read the results of the coinciding attitudinal study that was released in March. The biggest take away was that if young people have fun when being physically active and playing sport they are vastly more likely to continue making positive lifestyle choices throughout their teens and into adulthood. This wasn’t a surprising finding but to have evidence to back up what we already know brings it into sharp focus. The challenge for us all is to keep this message at the forefront of our thinking when we plan and deliver any physical activity. We should continue to provide a range of opportunities as we strive to make a difference but it must be FUN!

Working in partnership with The Youth Sport Trust to introduce MY Personal Best into our primary schools has been one of the most significant achievements of past few months. Using sport to support young people to be better young people, building their character education is an opportunity too good to miss. We have several more exciting opportunities coming to the partnership…… working with Sport England on improving well-being in teenagers through sport, introducing the 401 challenge to schools, improved CPD opportunities and working with an app developer from Kingston University, to name just a few. Watch this space for more info.

I don’t mind sharing that this job is having a profound impact on my life. I am lucky that I have always loved sport and been well supported to be active, knowing the benefits it can bring. But I must admit to getting a bit lazy in the past few years, exercise once a week (maybe twice) had become the norm. I have heard myself saying that “I haven’t got time to exercise and play sport” that quite frankly is nonsense. We can all make time, in fact, we must. In January I felt like a hypocrite; how can I be such a strong advocate for physical activity if I don’t live it? So I’ve done more, I’ve found time. More running, more cycling, more walking, more sport, more moving! Feeling the benefits of exercise is brilliant. I have more energy, I sleep better, I’m more positive, I’m happier- life is better. Exercise and sport really is that powerful. It’s not a secret, it’s not a special club, it’s not about talent- it’s for all of us. This is a message we must instil in all of our young people, actually, in us all.

If you have read this far, thank you for your time. For those of you who have enjoyed reading it I promise to get updates out more often.

I look forward to seeing you all over the course of the summer term.

Be active, be healthy, be happy!

Dean

NOSSP Partnership Manager

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