A life in the week of Alice Smyth, head of girls PE at Lodge Park Academy in Corby, Northamptonshire
Tomorrow is the biggest event in our summer calendar - the DRET Summer Cup - so on top of my usual teaching the final preparations have to be completed. The biggest job is organizing our ‘kit out’ where all 122 students are given the necessary equipment for their event, which includes spikes and vests for athletics, rugby shirts and t-shirts for hockey, tennis and table tennis. The build up to the Summer Cup has been huge with students battling it out to secure their place on the team, which was announced by Olympic gold medallist Mark Lewis-Francis. I go out for dinner with a friend and have intentions of getting an early night but when a tweet comes through to @Lodgeparkpe saying that some students can no longer attend I start to worry.
I arrive at 7am and already the first students are coming through the gates to gather in the school hall and the room is buzzing. I needn’t have worried though as all the students we are expecting appear. Our headmistress Alison Hayes wishes us all luck and we board two coaches and two minibuses to make our way to Grantham Meres Leisure Centre. When we arrive we are the first academy to take our places but are quickly joined by the seven other secondary academies in the trust and some primaries. During the opening ceremony, I receive an award from David Ross for my work with the DRET Allstars Team and feel very starstruck to be in the same room as Kelly Holmes, an idol of mine. The rest of the day goes by in a blur and we return back at school coming fifth overall but with plenty of students wearing medals and celebrating successes. What a fantastic day.
If I thought having the summer cup out of the way meant I could relax, I was wrong. I spend the morning organizing and collating evidence for our verification of the Sainsbury’s School Games Kitemark. The kitemark is awarded to schools which hit targets in participation, leadership, inclusion and student voice. This is the first time Lodge Park has applied for the kitemark and we have gone straight for gold (the highest award). After two hours of teaching I spend a hurried hour collecting evidence before one of the highlights of my week - enrichment. At the academy, all KS3 students on a Wednesday afternoon get a chance to experience two hours of enrichment (mainly sporting activities). I take a group of students down to our local rowing club as they are completing a learn to row course with the support of the coaches there. The time flies by and before I know it I am driving the minibus back to the academy to meet the Kitemark verifier and Matt Peleszok, our SSP manager. Despite all my worries, I am overjoyed to hear that we easily meet the criteria for the gold award. I leave school with a smile on my face and, after playing an hour of Futsal for my local team Corby Ladies, I head home for food and bed.
With the summer cup out the way, the main thing I have to organise today (aside from teaching four lessons) with the help of my sportmaker (a type of sports enrichment officer) Adam we start organizing our teams for the Sainsburys Summer School Games. We have two teams - rounders and hockey - and a group of 20 leaders attending the day but, with talk of a strike next week, working out the logistics of getting the students there is difficult. In the evening, the year 10 girls’ cricket team have their qualifying game for the county Chance to Compete competition. The girls win through a golden over which sends them through to the regional finals. This is a fantastic result for a group of girls who, before this year, had never played cricket. As soon as the last student is picked up, I grab my football kit and dash to football training at Kettering Town. I have already missed one session this week because of the summer cup so I need to keep up.
I started with my GCSE PE group who are completing their first piece of coursework. This is followed by a meeting with my head of department Ben, HLTA Ryan and sportmaker Adam. Every Friday we look to the week ahead and make sure everything is organized. Despite us heading towards the end of term there is still lots going on. I have two lessons in the sunshine with my year 9s and 7s and an hour of induction with the students attending the academy in September. It is really exciting meeting the students and they all have a chance to take part in our focus sports netball, football and rugby. It is really pleasing to see some real sporting talent coming up to the academies and we select our squads for our enrichment teams.
Making the most of a day away from sport, I head to Nottingham to meet up with one of my friends. We spend the day shopping and seeing the sights of Nottingham before watching DVDs before bed (I have an early start tomorrow).
I am up bright and early for the first of many football tournaments we have entered over the summer. I only joined Kettering Town part way through the season and have recently taken on the role of player manager for their reserve team and today is my first managerial test. I am a level 2 football coach and have coached for Peterborough United and Northampton Town but have never worked with a women’s teams and managing your friends is different. As a club, we have entered three teams into the tournament. I find myself starting in goal and am pleased to finish the game with a clean sheet and a 1-0 win. We go on to win our next game and drew the next three. We make it through to the next round but miss out on the semi-finals by one goal. Our other two teams end up playing each other in the quarter finals with the winning team getting knocked out in the semis. Some of my team mates come back to mine for burger and chips. I have a final look over my lesson plans for the next day and then go to sleep, ready for another busy week.
A LIFE IN THE WEEK OF