Pupils given a sporting chance at University of Chichester

The festival of sport was a popular event
The festival of sport was a popular event

More than 1,000 students from schools across the south visited the University of Chichester’s Festival of Sport.

The event, organised by the Institute of Sport, provides Year 9 and 10 students (13 to 15-year-olds) with opportunities to participate in different sports such as trampolining, handball and tag rugby; learn about exercise and its effects on the body in various strength and stamina tests; and find out what courses are on offer at the university.

We also hope everyone takes some learning away from their day and that the teachers can build this into their classes as they prepare their students for next year and beyond.

Prof Mike Lauder

Professor Mike Lauder, director of the Institute of Sport, said: “The idea of the Festival of Sport is to provide almost a theme park around sport. The students from schools that attend the event are given an insight into what you could study in sport at university but very much through a fun approach.

“There’s lots of practical activities at the festival, be that playing sport or doing exercise, with some of the theory that underpins this taken into account. We want the school students to have an enjoyable experience.

“They have the choice of what they want to do in terms of activities. We also hope everyone takes some learning away from their day and that the teachers can build this into their classes as they prepare their students for next year and beyond.”

Alison Davis, who with Amanda Godwin was the festival’s key organiser said: “We’ve got schools at the festival this year from Sussex, Hampshire, Surrey and South London. We have really good links with a core group of schools that we’ve built up a relationship with the PE staff there that take our university students on work placements.

“We have more than 500 students a year out on placement. A number of teachers at these schools are former University of Chichester students. They enjoy coming back to see their university. They are really proud that they were once our students.

“For a lot of the young people they now teach, this is perhaps the first time that they’ve visited a university. The festival gives them a chance to get a feel of the university. Hopefully, it sows a seed that this is the sort of place they might want to go to in the future.” Clare Deacon, the Institute of Sport’s placement co-ordinator added: “The festival provides a taste of the activities and courses that are on offer here. Hopefully, young people are inspired seeing these in practice.”

Emma Colebourn, head of PE at Henry Beaufort School, Winchester, said: “This is the third year we’ve come to the Festival of Sport. We’ve brought 50 year 9 students this time who are taking GCSE PE. It’s great to visit a first class university like Chichester. “The facilities are very good and the festival is so well-organised. Our students have enjoyed the different fitness tests and new sports they haven’t tried before. There’s so much going on here in one day and it’s a real reward for the students that love sport.”