Goals being reached

The Stevenage school sports partnership is reaching its goals. It has proved itself to be a Pathfinder Partnership following the government s latest round of collection of data involving school sports. The partnership has shown that 86 per cent of childre

The Stevenage school sports partnership is reaching its goals.

It has proved itself to be a Pathfinder Partnership following the government's latest round of collection of data involving school sports.

The partnership has shown that 86 per cent of children in Stevenage schools aged five to 16 are taking part in at least two hours of high quality PE and school sports a week compared to 73 per cent last year.

Jill Eaton, partnership development manager, said: "This shows that our schools and community are realising the benefits of an active lifestyle for our youngsters.

"There is still a long way to go to reach all our youngsters with this message and the partnership faces new challenges as it has expanded to cover all the Stevenage schools."

Partnerships throughout the country have been applauded by Tony Blair. The prime minister thanked them for their "pioneering work in reversing the decline in competitive sports" and he offered the heartfelt thanks of himself and the government for all the partnerships have achieved.

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P In the first ever primary school event of its kind in Stevenage, 300 youngsters from Years Five and Six took to the lakes at Fairlands for the inaugural Stevenage primary schools' cross-country event.

Despite the awful weather conditions, spirits remained high and youngsters made history as they completed the course.

Event organiser Jo Mackin, head of PE at The John Henry Newman School, was delighted by the character shown by all the eager participants.

She also praised the efforts of the young leaders from John Henry Newman and Nobel who acted as marshals for the event and supported the youngsters.

There were outstanding individual performances with the winners being Giles Junior, with Codicote in second and Bedwell in third position.

Boys' Year Five (top three): 1 - Oliver Thomas (Codicote), 2 - Tom Wheeler (Lodge Farm), 3 - Martin Tuck (St Vincent de Paul).

Girls' Year Five (top three): 1 - Sophie Keeble (Giles), 2 - Danielle Murphy (Lodge Farm), 3 - Alice Nottingham (Lodge Farm).

Boys' Year Six (top three): 1 - Adam Eaton (Codicote), 2 - Evan Gibson (Almond Hill), 3 - Liam Angus (St Vincent de Paul).

Girls' Year Six (top three): 1 - Georgia Hazell (Almond Hill), 2 - Emily Gasston (St Vincent de Paul), 3 - Tagatha Payne (Codicote).

Town mayor Simon Speller was present in his mayoral tracksuit and awarded the medals to the first to third place individuals for the primary schools.

Jill Eaton added: "It's great to see the youngsters taking part in an event that for so long our secondary schools have been participating in.

"Next year, working with the North Herts partnership, we hope to have a district primary schools' cross-country competition."

The secondary schools took their places on the start line in the afternoon for the district cross-country and yet again the youngsters proved a credit to themselves and their schools.

Fearnhill were the overall winners, with Knights Templar second and Heathcote and John Henry Newman in joint third.

P Hundreds of youngsters were given the chance to sample the wide range of sports available in Stevenage this month with the first Mini Olympics of the school year.

More than 700 Year One and Two students from 18 schools in and around Stevenage were involved in the two-day event at the Stevenage Arts and Leisure Centre (all shown right). It was the seventh Mini Olympics held since November 2003.

Stevenage Borough Council organise and run the Mini Olympics alongside the school sport co-ordinator partnership.

It is the largest event of its kind in Hertfordshire and has proved so popular over the last three years, that it is now offered on a first come, first served basis.

Since the first Mini Olympics, more than 5000 youngsters have been given the chance to have a go at sports like badminton, basketball, cricket, football, golf, athletics, gymnastics, netball, lacrosse, tennis, rugby, sailing and kayaking.

Students from local special schools were also invited as part of a plan to fully involve them in the Mini Olympics scheme in the near future.

The Mini Olympics would not be possible without support from Stevenage Leisure Limited and coaches from local sports clubs, who offer two days of free coaching.

Councillor Sue Myson said: "The Mini Olympics is a brilliant introduction to some of the sports and activities available in Stevenage.

"This town is lucky enough to have a wealth of sports clubs and societies giving young people the chance to get active, learn new skills, make friends and have fun."

The next Mini Olympics is planned for March next year and will involve Year Four and Five students.