West Cumbria Project a Success

In March the TWM Trust delivered the first 5Star 5Steps training sessions for primary schools in  Allerdale and Copeland (with thanks to School Games Organisers Linda Borthwick and Ali Ashton) and to Wright Sport Services and as a result 33  schools have used the project in their PE lessons over the ensuing months.  Feedback has been excellent.  “A significant increase in children’s confidence in different sports”, from Lee-Anne Gibson at St Michael’s C of E School at Bothel, is one of the most gratifying comments, because the foundation skills of running,  jumping, hurdling and throwing are indeed the foundation skills for all sport.  Furthermore, if we have contributed to buIlding children’s confidence,  well, we have contributed to ensuring that sport remains central to  healthy and happy lives for those children.  All achievement revolves around confidence, after all.

Non PE specialist teachers’ have found the resources really useful and easy to apply and children have enjoyed and been motivated by tracking their own personal improvement. Staff have also appreciated the easy to use recording forms. No problems with administration have been identified, which is pleasing because, as an ex PE teacher,  Im fully aware that time is always in short supply.  The good looking certificates have also been appreciated.  Thanks go to Firpress of Workington for sorting this out for us (our original certificates, “designed” by me, were, it must be said, a bit underwhelming!)


As a result of all this 16 schools took part in two special events – one at St Bees School for Copeland schools (4th July), and one at Copeland Stadium for Allerdale schools (8th July). Ali Ashton and her young leaders, volunteers from Seaton and Copeland Athletics Clubs,  West Lakes Academy and the Allerdale School Sport Partnership (Chris Wright) all worked their socks of to make the events a resounding success. See the photo gallery for the evidence for this claim! On every child’s face there is concentration, commitment and enjoyment – and oodles of confidence  – no more words needed!


For the feedback we also asked people to report any problems or suggested  improvements – so here’s what we will be working on:- adjusting the sprint scoring tables to make it slightly more challenging and adding scores for a straight 50m run; coming up with a PDF that teachers can take into lessons to remind themselves of teaching points, the 5 Steps,  mid lesson; and a different format for score sheets ie not A4 but, if possible,  booklet form.


An interesting and possibly controversial point has arisen,  that the throwing points scoring tables should be different for girls and boys.  We know that gender difference in athletic performance does not show up significantly until puberty.  We also know that puberty can now start in the primary age range.  But it also may be true that even before puberty boys have more of  an affinity with throwing than girls do.  Should we acknowledge this by adjusting the score tables accoringly?  Or would this be playing in to gender stereo-typing?  I am asking various people for their views and we will be adding a Forum to this website to get your views too.  GWENDA WARD

First 5 Star 5 Steps Training Provided

On 18th March 2019, at Distington Community School, the Tony Ward Memorial Trust provided the first 5 Star 5 Steps training for West Cumbria primary school teachers under the new West Cumbria Athletics Development Project, funded by Cumbria Councy Council’s Community Grants Scheme. The training was attended by the representatives of 12 primary schools, plus the representatives of two local athletics clubs, Seaton AC and Copeland AC, who will run a 5 Star 5 Steps event for the schools in June. The project has also enabled England Athletics to run a special coach education course in West Cumbria, in order to enable the clubs to cope with more members. Councillor Keith Hitchen, chair of Copeland Local Committee said “this is a great project and we’re really pleased that clubs based at Copeland Stadium will also benefit because of the investment in their coaches.”

Cumbria County Councillor Rebecca Hanson, a great athletics fan who has assisted the Trust with the development of the West Cumbria project, said “I’m passionate about the many benefits athletics brings to children and am delighted to support this suberb programme.”

Terry Hughes, secretary of Seaton Athletics Club said “We really welcome this initiative. As well as the schools project, it has also helped 10 of our assistant coaches to become fully qualified.”

The Trust Chair, ex-Olympic athlete and local coach, Gwenda Ward said “Children love the fun and simplicity of these activities, which are like the street games I played as a child, when streets were emptier and safer. We want children in West Cumbria to have the same experience, but adapted to today’s conditions. And, via the training, we want to help teachers to feel confident with the activities, which are simple and fun, but also technically and educationally sound.”