We are absolutely thrilled to have been awarded  Teignbridge’s Community School of the Year 2018 in recognition  of a school that has shown commitment, dedication and success in sport and community engagement throughout 2018. It is testament to our staff’s dedication and considerable effort  transforming our small school with a sedentary lifestyle into a much more energised, motivated and enthused school community.

As you may be aware, Bearnes is a small school nestled in the centre of Newton Abbot. It has limited outside space with little to no green space within the school grounds however, we have not let that stop us. Instead we set a whole school drive to raise participation in Physical Activity. The children were doing their standard P.E. lessons but the teaching staff decided it needed a bit of a kick to reenergise and motivate the students into being excited about sport and exercise.

We started by looking at enhancing our ‘tired’ and ‘uninspiring’ school playground to increase physical activity opportunities for our students during break times and directed P.E. sessions. The result has been phenomenal with children now enjoying a climbing wall, climbing jungle, log weavers and an activity trail as well as brand new sporting equipment with the focus on getting the children moving. Once the work was completed we held an official opening where our CEO Nicky Dunford cut the ribbon and our success was published in the Mid Devon Advertiser.

Our eldest pupils have taken on the responsibility of becoming playleaders nurturing our younger students and being good role models in leading various physical activities. By providing the children with a purpose it has helped to boost their communication, self esteem, leadership and problem solving skills

Throughout the year, the whole school has worked to ensure that they have taken part in as many sporting events and tournaments as possible something that the children at Bearnes hadn’t previously had available to them. They have taken part in Dodgeball, Swimming gala’s , Gymnastics, Football, Tag Rugby, Badminton, Orienteering at Haldon Forest, Kwik Kricket and a whole new Sports Day event, which parents and students alike all agreed it was the best they’d had in years! Historically, the children have had limited opportunities to represent Bearnes and compete against other schools in the area. So these tournaments were a valuable tool in building the children’s resilience and competitive spirit and, even, better they showed off Bearnes with tremendous pride and great sportsmanship

We didn’t just organise competitive tournaments for our children. We also recognised the importance of getting children active and engaged in different activities that would extend past their time at school encouraging them to explore the wider community seeking out sports clubs in the area. So, we also provided sporting events for children that also may be finding aspects of their education tricky or were ‘disengaged’. We worked to provide festival days where the children could try a new sport, meet new people from across our academy and boost their confidence. The impact was phenomenal with children, that would not normally have the opportunity to do so, demonstrating great skills in leadership. As a result of these events we noticed that the children were more engaged in their learning and were making more progress across the curriculum.

In the summer term we held our own Sports Week where the students and wider school community took part in a vast number of activities focused on healthy living which included having a Chinese chef from a local restaurant working with our pupils to create healthy noodle meals, sports coaches from the local area visiting to run taster sessions for children to experience different sporting activities. A Key Stage 1 Olympic Day at Decoy Country Park, daily wake up shake up with parents invited, a scooter and bike session and much, much more!

We have implemented the Daily Mile into our school routine where the children run, jog or walk come rain or shine around the playground for 15 minutes a day. It not only helps improve their health and fitness but always provides them with the invaluable opportunity to challenge themselves in a different way. The children continually pushed themselves and the miles collectively racked up as children were feeling better and healthier.

Well done everyone at Bearnes! You should all be incredibly proud of yourselves!