A PILOT study focusing on how extra levels of physical activity can improve academic performance has proved a winner for youngsters at a Moorlands village school.
Year Five and Six pupils at Endon Hall Primary School have been put to the test by entering the national schools indoor rowing competitions.
Endon Hall sports coach Neil Gilson, who is Olympic Ambassador for Staffordshire, said: "Rowing competitions create excellent confidence and self-esteem, so important in creating that feelgood factor to carry forward into secondary education."
The challenge has seen Endon Hall up against not only state establishments, but also some private schools renowned for their rowing prowess.
After some rapid intense training and organisation, both the boys and girls from Endon Hall surprised everyone by climbing to the summit of their respective leader boards. The boys team added icing to the cake by breaking the British record in the 100 metres relay – a feat achieved on borrowed rowing machines – in just four weeks.
The boys team comprised Bradley Haynes (captain), Mikey Lea-Hacking, Matthew Myatt and Jason Weaver – whose time of 3:14.1 beat the old record by two seconds.
Following on from their record-breaking feat and leading the national league after two disciplines, Endon Hall had a number of boys entered in the British and Indoor Rowing Championships at the Sophia Sports Complex in Cardiff.
Isabell Parry became Endon Hall's first national champion by rowing 458m in two minutes. Eden Shiller was fourth, Masie Tinwell sixth and Olivia Richardson tenth.
Gilson commented: "To have four girls from one school in the top 10 of a national competition is truly amazing."
No to be outdone, Bradley Haynes was crowned boys national champion after rowing 494m in two minutes and Jason Wexler took bronze with a distance of 467m.
Out of all the schools in the UK, Endon Hall returned home with 50 per cent of the medals and with the distinction of becoming the first school or club to ever win both boys and girls under-11 national titles.
The school continues to progress in the national rowing league and has broken yet another record in the boys 8 x 30 second discipline, rowing a distance of 2019m in four minutes – bettering the old record by 11m.
Such was their determination and dedication the boys bettered the record by a further four metres just a week later.
Gilson added: "Eight boys and girls have seen their SATS results improve by at least a grade, whilst on the physical side, every single student has seen his or her performance improve over the three months in training – some as much as 35 per cent."