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TES Schools Awards 2009 - Outstanding sporting initiative

Winner - Wright Robinson Sports College, Manchester

Sport improves academic achievement. A 10-year partnership between this college and Manchester Metropolitan University shows that physically active pupils get higher grades at GCSE than those who are less active. A longitudinal research project found that 62 per cent of physically active pupils achieved five or more top-grade GCSE grades, including maths and English, compared with 38 per cent of those who were less active. The research also showed that activity increased pupils' confidence.

The research has enabled staff to target pupils. One project focused on girls who lacked confidence. It built up to a weekend where they were encouraged to take part in outdoor activities. Another aimed to engage low-achieving boys.

The school shares its experience with other schools. It has pioneered a PE curriculum to bridge the gap between primary and secondary schools.

Around 10,000 children have been involved in the project, which began in 1998. A dinner at Manchester City's stadium celebrated its success last year.

Pupils are enthusiastic about it. Marjan Ghiassi-Farhani, in Year 10, said: "The Girls Active trip to Ghyll Head (outdoor education centre) was brilliant. We did activities like kayaking, gill (gorge) scrambling and abseiling. I felt really comfortable doing the activities as all the girls on the trip were like me."

Judges' verdict: The good partnership between the school and the university was noted. They said: "The university acts as an excellent prefect." They said the research provided long-term, serious evidence and praised the involvement of disaffected pupils.

TES Schools Awards 2009:

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