Amanda Kelly reports on how a Bristol primary school has developed a new playground sport using microscooters.
COMBINE youngsters' favourite sport with their favourite toy and you get the hottest new game in the playground - Scootball.
Pupils at Weston Park primary school in Bristol believe their new lunchtime pastime of playing football on their microscooters could soon catch on all over the country.
A game of considerable skill, participants in the 10-a-side teams must demonstrate perfect balance as they zip around the playground on two wheels, along with all the techniques and tactics of a good soccer player.
The rules of the game are in an embryonic stage, but players must have one foot on their scooters when they kick the ball and only certain kinds of tackling are allowed - toppling opponents off their scooters, for example, is not tolerated.
Headteacher Clive Felton said Scootball had captured the interest of all his 320 pupils, even those who had previously demostrated little aptitude for sport.
Mr Felton, who admits he prefers to umpire rather than to play, said: "A lot of kids got scooters for Christmas, but we are in an area where there are not many safe places for them to play. And if they couldn't bring them to school, they would soon end up at the back of the cupboard unused.
"We provide elbow and knee pads in accordance with health and safety guidelines and, as well as keeping them fit, Scootball and our other organised lunchtime activities mean that we rarely get any behavioural problems."
Bringing a scooter to Hackness primary school, however, is solely a head's privilege. While pupils' scooters are banned from the Scarborough school's premises, headteacher Helen Leng has found that her wheels, a present from her husband, provide the perfect means for patrolling the playground during lunch break.
"With maximum speeds of up to 20mph, if any of my 64 pupils misbehave, I can be on top of them in a flash," she said.