28 Jun Young Essex athletes put school in running for first time
An elite group of young athletes are turning heads as they put their school in the running for the first time.
Chase High School, in Westcliff, launched its Elite Sports Academy in September to inspire its talented sporting stars.
Ten boys and ten girls from Year 8 to 10 devote time each week to complete strength and conditioning training, anatomy and physiology lessons, as well as officiating sports.
The athletes form their own tutor group, attend Elite Sports Academy training sessions and are given opportunities to attend major sporting events, such as Nuclear Races, to inspire their passion.
As a result, the school is proving competitive in local competitions.
For the first time, nine of the Elite students were selected to represent Southend in the County Schools Athletics Championships this month – in the past, the school would not even attend the selection meetings where the top sporting students in the borough are put forward.
Sam Deal, head of girls PE, said: “Our Elite Sports Academy is about raising the profile of sport.
“Southend is a very tough competition ground for sport, especially with so many grammar schools here.
“When I joined Chase seven years ago, we did not enter any competitions as we simply could not compete. There was a culture of feeling like we were not good enough. As the years have gone by, sport has taken off here.
“Other schools are noticing and complimenting us, saying they now get good competition from us.
“This is something for our students to be proud of. We have students coming to us now asking how they can become a part of the Academy. It has given them something to strive for and to be a part of.
“There has been a massive change. Chase students are used to winning now. It is so nice to see.”
The school works closely with Southend Sapphires netball club, Southend United Football Club, Southend Athletics Club and Westcliff Rugby Club to give students opportunities beyond school.