The desire and enthusiasm to maintain its proud tradition of sport for all in the face of the global pandemic has won Upton Junior School in Broadstairs a special honour.
The School Sport Award in the national Business Education Awards 2020 is described as “a great achievement” by Head of School Darci Arthur.
She said: “We won it for our dedication and commitment throughout the first lockdown for providing children with the opportunity to stay fit and active with fitness classes and sporting challenges.
“Upton has an excellent tradition for encouraging sport and fitness activities for all children, no matter what their standard – the important thing is that it is inclusive for all our girls and boys to enjoy.”
The official award citation reads: “Sport has traditionally been an area of strength at Upton. This was shown even more during the ongoing lockdown, sport coaches ensured no one misses out by regularly providing structured activities including fitness videos and online challenges, via online streaming.”
Out of final shortlisted schools Upton was the only non-private school and the only one in this area.
The challenges offered online varied from throwing a tea bag into a mug and playing keepy-uppies with a toilet roll, to a mini triathlon, plus daily fitness videos, and online sports clubs including athletics, football, tennis, and basketball.
Sports coaches Callum Noble and Jordan Maclaurin say the award recognises the importance of sport at all levels in the school.
Callum said: “At Upton we pride ourselves on the motto ‘One Childhood One Chance’ – we ensure that every child gets the opportunity to take part in a variety of sports from football to lacrosse to even free swimming lessons.
“The main thing for us is that the children have fun learning sport. Enabling them to enjoy it at a young age gives them the stepping stone to carry on in secondary school clubs and beyond.
“Everything we do at Upton is for one main reason and that is for the children, without them we wouldn’t have got this award so thank you and well done Team Upton.”
Jordan agreed and added: “To be nominated for this award was a huge honour and privilege, so to win it is simply amazing and something we will treasure as a school.
“We are one big family at Upton, and quite simply this award would not have been possible without the hard work and commitment of a major part of that Upton family, the children.
“We were delighted to be able to offer them the opportunity to stay fit and active during the first lockdown. We thank the children for their enthusiasm and commitment to keeping fit and active, it was a pleasure to offer the challenges for them.”
As well as traditional games like netball, soccer, rugby and athletics, Upton provides for lesser known sports including lacrosse, squash, archery, handball, go-karting, table tennis and orienteering. With a swimming pool onsite, pupils are also able to swim for free as part of their PE lessons.
As well as in-house sport, Upton boys and girls regularly compete in district, county and regional competitions as teams and individuals. Upton also runs a community sport programme that offers competition and involvement to schools using its facilities. It has a major involvement in the ongoing development of primary sports across the district and works alongside the highly-regarded Thanet Passport Association that oversees sports opportunities for children.