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Merseyside - Everyone's on board for a workout

Skateboarding could be introduced into all St Helens schools in a bid to boost interest in PE and to fight increasing obesity.

Pupils at every primary and secondary in the area will have access to Vigor Boards, which have two plates connected by a bar, which enables them to twist. The boards teach children balance and give them a cardiovascular workout.

St Helens is one of the first councils to adopt the Vigor Board programme in its schools. It was first introduced at Sutton High, where it proved so popular - and even helped to cut truancy - that it is now on the curriculum.

Paul Lane, a PE teacher at Sutton, said: "We have pupils who have been persistent non-attenders who are now regularly in school as they don't want to miss the Vigor Board sessions.

"Many of the pupils involved had never been to an after-school club before, and the feedback from them has been so positive that the PE staff have produced a scheme of work to incorporate the Vigor Boards into curriculum PE.

"It has been great to find an activity which appeals to all children and that requires a great deal of skill and fitness."

Since the introduction of the boards to after-school clubs at St Aidan's Primary, 80 per cent of pupils aged nine to 11 are reported to have increased their physical activity by 40 minutes a week. km.

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