The specialist schools programme is an important part of the Government's plans to raise standards in secondary schools. There are ten different types of specialism, and of all of the different types of specialist schools Sports Colleges have the best record for raising students’ academic standards.
The school leadership team recognised that sport played a significant role in the lives of many of the young people who attended John Spence and after widespread consultation with the local education authority and several community partners a bid was submitted to become a specialist sports college in the spring of 2001. Designation followed and we began life as a specialist Sports College in September 2001.
As well as working hard to raise standards in physical education and sport for all our students across the ability range we use the specialism to support whole school improvement too. Our students’ success in external exams has risen steadily since we became a Sports College.
The school has become a focal point for community sport with six community clubs now based on the school site.
All these clubs provide opportunities for both boys and girls to participate and progress in sport.
The school also works very closely with our feeder primary schools through the school sports partnership programme, sharing good practice with staff and providing opportunities for primary aged children to participate in sport out of school hours.
Likewise links with our secondary and tertiary partners have been further developed through collaboration and the sharing of resources.
SKY Living for Sport aims to use the power of sport to engage, motivate and inspire some of our students to reach their full potential.
The initiative was developed in partnership with BSkyB and supported by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCFS). Sky Living for Sport targets students who have either poor attendance or who lack confidence.
Students work with teachers and support staff to set personal targets and goals. They take part in a range of activities such as Sailing, Orienteering and Climbing, they then go on to organise a sporting event for some of our feeder primary school students.
Craig Heap, former Commenwealth Games Gold Medal winner in Gymnastic has visited school recently to work with this years cohort of students.
The programme culminates with a celebration event, recognising and rewarding the student’s achievements against their set goals.