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Olympic legacy alive and kicking as children try out four sports

By Kent and Sussex Courier  |  Posted: February 25, 2013

By Shams Al-Shakarchi shams.al-shakarchi@courier.co.uk

  • WARMING UP: Youngsters do their stretching exercises at the Olympic and Paralympic Sports Taster Day, at the Angel Centre in Tonbridge on Thursday, hosted by the Tonbridge and West Kent Schools' Sports Partnership TWAH20130213A-001_C.jpg

  • WARMING UP: Youngsters do their stretching exercises at the Olympic and Paralympic Sports Taster Day, at the Angel Centre in Tonbridge on Thursday, hosted by the Tonbridge and West Kent Schools' Sports Partnership TWAH20130213A-006_C.jpg

  • FUN DAY OUT: A group of youngsters from Chiddingstone School take a break in training for a match of handball, at the Olympic and Paralympic Sports Taster Day, at the Angel Centre in Tonbridge on Thursday, hosted by the Tonbridge and West Kent Schools' Sports Partnership TWAH20130213A-007_C.jpg

  • TAKING AIM: Training for a game of handball, youngsters at the Olympic and Paralympic Sports Taster Day, at the Angel Centre in Tonbridge on Thursday, hosted by the Tonbridge and West Kent Schools' Sports Partnership TWAH20130213A-008_C.jpg

  • THUMBS UP: Youngsters give the universal sign that they're having a good time, during a break in training for a game of handball, at the Olympic and Paralympic Sports Taster Day, at the Angel Centre in Tonbridge on Thursday, hosted by the Tonbridge and West Kent Schools' Sports Partnership TWAH20130213A-009_C.jpg

  • MOVES: Judo coach Steve Law

  • TRAINING WITH BALLOONS: A game of paralympic volleyball gets underway using training balloons, during the Olympic and Paralympic Sports Taster Day, at the Angel Centre in Tonbridge on Thursday, hosted by the Tonbridge and West Kent Schools' Sports Partnership TWAH20130213A-019_C.jpg

  • SAFETY: Pupil from Broadwater Down School in Tunbridge Wells tries on a fencing helmet for size

  • THE BASICS: Youngsters learn how to drop an opponent during judo training in the hall

  • THRUST-HO: Youngsters from various schools around the area enjoy a fencing taster session

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PE LESSONS in primary schools are failing to keep kids fit according to Ofsted, but in West Kent, sport for youngsters is thriving.

That was the message from the Tonbridge and West Kent School Sports Partnership, which supports initiatives between primary, secondary and specialist schools to increase sports opportunities for children.

Despite a huge slash in government funding, the West Kent programme has continued to give pupils the chance to try out new sports.

The Olympic legacy was very much alive and kicking at the Angel Centre last Thursday when 100 youngsters from local schools took part in a taster day.

Coaches taught the 9 to 11-year-olds handball, sitting volleyball, judo and fencing – four sports which caught the public's imagination during London 2012.

The event fell on the day a report by the education watchdog vehemently criticised schools for not pushing their most talented pupils and failing to tackle child obesity when it came to PE lessons.

The report found in more than a quarter of Britain's schools, the level of physical activity in lessons was so low it failed to improve fitness at all.

Partnership manager Claudine Fulton, based at Hayesbrook School in Tonbridge, said when the government made cutbacks, local schools decided to fund the partnership themselves to ensure pupils had as many chances to get involved in sports as possible.

"This funding, along with support from local man Charles Harris, who helped fund some programmes, has allowed us to continue supporting teachers in PE, supply schools with coaches and high-quality PE lessons and give children opportunities like today that they otherwise would no longer get," she said.

Event organiser Charlotte Twydell added: "The legacy to "inspire a generation" will not happen by itself so we are seeking to engage with the local schools and community and show that through our schools sport partnership you can still get access to – and training in – many of these Olympic sports."

On the day, Frittenden School joined seven others to try their hand at Olympic and Paralympic events.

Teacher Stephanie Faulkner Smith said: "We are grateful to the enhanced PE service – what a fantastic well-organised day, allowing our children to participate and try sports we could never offer them in our school."

Other schools taking part were Chiddingstone, St James Juniors, Hever, Broadwater Down, Claremont, Sussex Road and Ridgeview.

For further information on the Tonbridge and West Kent SSP enhanced service, contact Claudine Fulton on 07966 795422.

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