Sportitude Blog

Dear All,

As we rapidly approach the end of the school year, this will be the final Sportitude Heron Park blog of 2016-2017. And what a year it has been.

Last week, after a huge effort from all staff and children, Heron Park received its accreditation as a School Games Gold Award winner. The award acknowledges that we meet all criteria set out by the government to offer competitive sports and PE, offering opportunities to all.

The award does not consider success at area sports events and interschool matches, it is not about “medal and trophy hunting”. Instead schools/academies are judged on things like how many children are attending sports clubs, how many area events we entered, whether we train our older pupils to be “young leaders”, work with outside agencies and how we promote sporting opportunities within the community. These are merely a few examples of the criteria we had to meet.

Despite interschool success not being a consideration for the award, it is something that we all want to achieve. When Heron Park began entering local area events, we were the school finishing 12th of 15, 9th of 10 etc. This year we have seen a tremendous improvement in results. We have secured several top 3 finishes and we have finished in the top half in all competitions that we entered. No other local school or academy has sent more teams to events than Heron Park this year.

Amongst the highlights of are interschool efforts this year were the boys Y6 Football team being narrowly beaten in the Cup semi-final, our Y3/4 Hockey team finishing runners-up at the tournament we hosted and the Girls Y6 Cricket team travelling all the way to Hastings and finishing a very close second in a very competitive event.

The standard at this area events is extremely high and it is important that the children realise how much they have to improve. Most of the time, being the best player on the playground or being in the winning team in a PE lesson, does not mean you’ll be good enough to be competitive at area sports. The few Y5 children that represented Heron Park at Area events this year, now know how hard they will need to work next year to get up to the required standard.

The problem is that it’s easier to get from 10th to 3rd than it is to get from 3rd to 1st. We will be looking to get the team training clubs up and running again in September. I implore all enthusiastic and promising sporting pupils to attend these clubs in order that we make the leap from good to great. We will be continuing our policy of selecting our teams from those children who attend the training club for that sport.

Finally, I would like to wish our Y6 pupils the best of luck at their secondary schools. I look forward to hearing that most of you have joined sports clubs and teams, and about the success you will, no doubt, enjoy as a result of the solid foundations Sportitude and Heron Park have provided for you.

Best Wishes



17th May

It’s a busy sporting week for Heron Park. Just a few days back a group of Y3 and Y4 pupils joined me and Mrs. Moss on a trip to Willingdon Secondary School to take part in the Eastbourne area Tri-Golf event. This was a series of stations with challenges designed to replicate real Golf skills. All the children had a wonderful time and Heron Park finished 7th overall. Not bad considering it was the first time many of the children had ever held a golf club.

In the next few days we have a further 2 events to attend. On Thursday the Y5/6 boys Football team are playing away to Tollgate in the Eastbourne area cup quarter final- with the winners due to meet Langney in the semi-final. On Friday a group of Y4 children will be attending a Tennis skills event at Gildredge Park.

We continue to strive for our Gold School Games Award and are growing ever more confident that we will achieve this wonderful accolade before the end of the school year.

2nd May

Year 4 have been very lucky to have Jack Hyde, from Sussex Cricket, coaching them for the last few weeks. Mr. Hyde has been teaching the pupils (and staff) some techniques and drills to help them improve their batting, bowling and fielding. I know that Miss. Russell and Mrs. Walker are keen to continue practising these training methods and hopefully we will have some real superstars emerge over the next 2 years. Those children who have enjoyed the training, should consider attending the Friday Cricket Club. The club is free to attend for all budding Cricketers and ends at 4.

Y2 continue to enjoy their Tennis coaching with Jenny Hughes at Hampden Park Tennis Centre. Miss. Bailey, Mr. Simmonds and all the Y2 staff will have a very tough job deciding which pupils have shown the most aptitude towards Tennis skills- the chosen children will be continuing receiving more advanced coaching over the coming weeks.

There have been no area sports events over the last few weeks because of Easter and the SATs preparations, but there are 3 or 4 events upcoming and they will feature in the next update mid-


31st March

 The big news I would like to share with you all, is the fantastic success of the inaugural Y3/4 Unihoc Tournament last week. Heron Park hosted school teams from all over the Eastbourne area and the event was enjoyed by all. We have had some wonderful feedback from the other teams and we look forward to hosting the event again next year. Heron Park played every other team in the “league” phase of the tournament, remaining undefeated and only conceding one goal. Unfortunately we ran out of luck, and perhaps energy, in the final- losing 3-0 to Langney (who we had beaten earlier in the day). Congratulations to Langney, but we could fairly claim to have been the best team overall!!

Heron Park’s sports program continues to thrive and grow. Our latest drive has been to engage more with community providers and organisations. We have strengthened our ties with Brighton University by continuing to offer their sport students exciting placement schemes and are, in turn, looking forward the University offering us more opportunities in the future. Meanwhile the Y5 pupils are enjoying playing American Football with Mr. Boorer from Hellingly Hound Dogs and Y2 are spending some of every Tuesday receiving pro Tennis coaching with Jenny Hughes at Hampden Park Tennis Club.

A big thanks goes out to all the Heron Park staff for their flexibility and teamwork in regards to providing all of these opportunities for the pupils. Believe me, it is not easy to have so many clubs, events and community links -and without the support of all the staff, it would not be possible at all.

Please note that there will not be a mid- April update as this falls after the Easter Holidays. So, other than how many eggs I got, there won’t be anything to share with you all!


15th March 2017 

It’ been another fantastic sporting fortnight for Heron Park Primary Academy. Apologies that this week’s blog is a couple of days late, but I wanted to be able to include yesterday’s Netball tournament in the update. The children have been involved in FOUR sporting events over the last couple of weeks:

 Firstly, we entered 3 teams in the South Downs area Hockey tournament at the Saffrons. In line with the academy policy of only selecting children who attend the free after school team training sessions, we chose a mixture of Y4,5 and 6 children. A couple of the Y4 boys really shone and that bodes well for the next 2 years. The standard at the event was extremely tough and our teams were on the wrong end of a couple of one-sided matches but battled on bravely. All 3 teams qualified for the quarter finals of the plate competition, with Heron Park 1 losing in the semi-finals to eventual winners Polegate

Later that week, we welcomed Stone Cross to Heron Park for our first ever girl’s Football match. It was a baptism of fire for the team- our first ever match, having only recently started training, was against the Sussex School Cup runners up! Our lack of experience was evident, despite the girls’ unwavering effort and enthusiasm. The final score was 7-0 to Stones Cross but all the spectators agreed that the team improved throughout the match. With a couple more training sessions under our belts, we are sure to put up a better showing against Polegate and Langney in the mini 3 team tournament at Heron Park next Thursday.

 Yesterday (14th) might have been the single greatest sporting morning in the history of Heron Park Primary Academy. A massive thank you to all of the staff involved in taking Miss Bailey’s class to the Hampden Park Tennis centre for a special training session with local Tennis coach Jenny Hughes. At the same time Miss Hause (Brighton Uni student) and I took a squad of 8 Y5/6 girls to the South Downs area Netball tournament. Once again, the standard was exceptional and our team ended with a record of 3 wins, 4 draws and 2 losses. My highly biased opinion is that we were very unlucky. The girls dominated at least 2 of the matches that ended in draws and one of our losses was in a match where we could have won by double figures if our shooting was a little better!! Congratulations to Stone Cross who won the event.

 I would like to remind all parents/carers, as referenced above, that we offer a FREE team training sessions after school EVERY day of the week for KS2 pupils.

Mondays- Hockey, Tuesdays- Rugby, Wednesdays- Girls Football, Thursdays- Netball, Friday-Cricket.

ONLY children who attend these clubs will be considered for team selection. I am very happy to report that numbers at these clubs have soared in the last week and I hope that will continue. The more children who attend these clubs all year round, the more successful we will be at inter-school competitions in the years to come.

 Finally, there are 3 upcoming events that I would like you to all be aware of in the next couple of weeks. Heron Park will be hosting the Eastbourne area Y3/4 Hockey tournament on Thursday 23rd March. We have 6 other schools entering. Unfortunately this will be a closed event, but we will be sure to take plenty of photos and get them on the website the day after. Later that same day our Girls’ Football team will be playing in the 3 team mini tournament. This is also at Heron Park and parents/carers, friends and family are welcome to support the team on the playing field. Kick off will be at approximately 1545. We have also been invited to send a small team to Shinewater Community Centre on 30th March to take part in a “new aged Kurling(sic) “ competition. This event is for children with physical challenges and I will be working closely with Mrs Coppard to select the team.

 Next Update 31st March.

 Best Wishes

 Mark Griffiths


Feb 2017

Dear Heron Park Community, 

Welcome to the first of the brand new, two-weekly Sportitude@Heron Park blog. I assure you all that not every update will be as long as this one- but we have so much positive news to share! 

Did you know that Heron Park is now considered amongst the sporting elite in the South Downs area? That is not to say that we are winning matches and tournaments every week (hopefully that will be the case in time), but that we have been recognised by Sport England as a provider of an inclusive and wide ranging program that encourages participation and promotes a positive relationship to health and fitness amongst the pupils. This year we fully expect to upgrade our current Silver School Games status into Gold. 

No other school or Academy has entered more area sports competitions and matches than Heron Park this year. We have already taken part in the Eastbourne area boys football league competition, are about to start training the girls’ team for their competition and both the boys’ and girls’ teams are entered in their respective cup competitions. We have taken part in Boccia, Indoor Cricket, Swimming, Orienteering and the KS1 Football festival. Amongst the upcoming events we have committed to are Netball, Athletics, Rugby, Summer Cricket and this Thursday we will be sending 3 teams to the South Downs area Hockey tournament at the Saffrons. Heron Park will be the only school/academy sending 3 teams- which is further proof of our commitment to sporting provisions that aim for depth and inclusion rather than simply concentrating on the more naturally able children. 

In order that we become more competitive at area sports events, it is crucial that we have as many pupils as possible regularly attending sports clubs. It is not enough for the children to just practise in PE lessons or to have 2-3 weeks of training leading up to an event. This is something that we have been falling short in for a long while. With that in mind, we have created a new timetable of sports clubs for Y4,5 and 6 that will run all year, every year from now on. This timetable will be made available in the “Sports Hub” section of the academy website and we will send this home with the pupils this week. All of these sports specific clubs will be FREE and at the academy to ensure they are accessible to all. The new program will concentrate on the “BIG 5” sports: Football, Hockey, Rugby, Cricket and Netball. 

We will also be continuing with the “novelty/fun” clubs of Climb and Jump and Pick and Play Football, and these clubs are charged at £4 per session. We are looking to reinstate the Multi Sports clubs for KS1 asap. This will be a paid club and is likely to be on a Thursday or Friday afternoon. 

We are currently working on a “community opportunities” link for the Sports Hub section. We have spend weeks and weeks contacting, and establishing relationships with local, out of school, sports providers. Our aim is to provide information and contact details for clubs and activities available outside of school time. These will range from the obvious such as Football and Cricket, but will also promote some more specialist activities such as Sailing and Golf. We will let you all know when this project is complete. 

Best Wishes 

Next Update 13th March. 

Mark Griffiths

July 2016

We now have a team of officially qualified Playmakers. Those Y5 children who were selected after a thorough application and interview process, have received their training and now instruct groups of infants (under supervision), on a rota basis, at playtimes.

The final two terms of the year have seen Heron Park enter 8, yes 8!!!, area sports activities. This took our total area sports entries for the year to 11, easily surpassing our targets. On successive days, the Y2 and Y5 pupils walked to the Sports Park to take part in the Sussex Downs College Sports Festival. Several local schools sent teams and we all took part in different sports games, on rotation, led by Brighton University Sports students. The festival was non-competitive so no winners were announced, but everyone received a certificate to remember a fabulous day.

Next, we sent a team of Y3&4 pupils to the area Tri-Golf competition. The children took part in various skill based challenges as team trying to score points. The challenges ranged from speed-putting to hitting the ball far and straight with a driver. Out of 14 schools, The Herons finished 6th.

We finished with the year with 3 Cricket tournaments over 3 consecutive Fridays. Each time we took the train and made the short walk through town up to the Saffrons. We have not focused much on Cricket at Heron Park over recent years, so we knew it would be a difficult challenge and any success would be down to talent rather than experience. In all 3 events we finished towards the lower end of the middle of the league table- a remarkable achievement. Heron Park will be adding more Cricket to the curriculum and play activities next year.

The absolute highlight of the year has to be the Tag-Rugby team. The Herons were one of the top performing teams at the South Downs area competition, and as a result were invited to the Sussex finals in Lewes. We genuinely thought we were in with a chance of winning the whole thing after we had won our first three matches reasonably comfortably. Unfortunately, we lost a couple of matches after that and missed out on qualifying for the semi-finals on point’s difference. The team qualified for the semi-finals of the ‘plate’ competition, but they were so dejected after their gut-wrenching elimination from the main competition that they didn’t perform their best after that. The Herons eventually finished 8th out of the 200+ schools that entered the preliminary rounds.

A wonderful year of sports at HPPA came to a crescendo with Sports Day/School Games Day. The whole academy took part in competitive and exciting athletic events with hundreds of family members in attendance. We celebrated achievement, effort and being good teammates. A special mention and big thank you goes to Mr Cook’s Y5 ‘Sports Day Team’ who helped to set-up the event, then supported and instructed the infants.

What a year it has been for the Heron Park sports program. We have made ourselves a fixture on the area-sports scene, and enjoyed remarkable success at times. We have recently had a visit from our area School Games organiser. The fantastic news is that we are now on course to earn our Silver award as a result of our efforts and improvements. Happy summer holidays to all.



March 2016

Welcome to the second edition of the Heron Park School Games blog. The first and possibly most exciting news to share is the success of the first 3 teams we have entered in area competitions this year. A massive congratulations to the Y1&2 football team who won 9 out of 10 matches at Eastbourne area Football festival. Winners are not usually announced at infant sports tournaments or festivals, as was the case at the Football. However, when you win 9 matches and narrowly lose the 10th, it is safe to say that ‘The Herons’ would have been 1st or 2nd in any non-official league table.

Our Y5/6 Netball team travelled to Pevensey and West Ham School to compete against 11 other teams in the ‘High-5 Netball’ competition. After beating our Aurora cousins Oakwood in the first match, the team had mixed results for rest of the day- some wins, a draw and couple of narrow losses. Although only the 1st and 2nd place teams were officially announced (as they now qualify for the Sussex finals), we think we finished 3rd or 4th.

The Herons then went to the Saffrons to take part in the area Quicksticks Hockey competition. This event was of a particularly high standard and featured teams from further afield than usual. The competition was a Champions League style format with teams drawn in groups of 4. The Herons qualified in second place from their group, before losing narrowly in the quarter finals to a team who went on to make the final. The whole academy is now looking forward to the final two terms of the year with 4 more area sports activities to come.

In other news, the Academy attained its Sports Leaders UK Accredited Training Centre status and some of the staff have begun their Community Sports Leaders Awards. The accreditation also allows the academy to run ‘Playmaker’ training and awards for the Year 5 and 6 pupils. We have conducted an interview process with Mrs Phillips, Miss Brook, Mrs Smith and Mr Griffiths on the panel.

Over the past two terms all of the pupils have been taking part in Gymnastics and Net & Wall Games. The Gymnastics program came to an enjoyable end when the older pupils took part in ‘The Showcase’. The Showcase is an opportunity for the pupils to work in teams to produce a Gym sequence, including as many of the techniques learned over previous weeks as possible. The sequences are performed in front of their class and a panel of adult judges. In the style of many television talent shows, the performances were marked out of 10 using scorecards.

Our Net and Wall games have concentrated on balloon Volleyball and Tennis this year. Net & Wall game skills are difficult to learn because the objects involved (tennis ball, volleyball etc) travel so fast. The ‘trick’ here is to use balloon instead of balls. The slow moving balloon allows learners plenty of time to think about things like tracking the flight, body positioning and shot selection. We can then introduce using rackets and balls at a point where the children are already comfortable with the basics. By the end of the term, pupils as young as 5 and 6 were taking part in some rather epic balloon tennis rallies!



December 2015

Welcome to the first Heron Park School Games blog. We have made a tremendous start to our mission of achieving recognition for our sports program through a School Games Mark. One of the criteria for the awards is to offer ‘Level 1’ activities for the pupils. Level 1 activities are competitive sporting opportunities that are offered within school-rather than against other schools. Thanks to all staff involved with providing games, matches and competitions at playtimes and lunchtimes.

During the first 2 terms all of the pupils have been taking part in the CORE SKILLS and INVASION GAMES sections of the Sportitude curriculum, whilst taking part in alternative sporting activities with their class teachers. The core skills program is designed to concentrate on the sporting skills that are relevant to all sports and PE activities. The idea is that by focusing on the fundamentals early in the academic year, the pupils will be able to enjoy accelerated progress when learning and practising specific sporting disciplines and games as the year continues. Invasion games are those where a team has to ‘invade’ the other team’s territory to score at the other end of the pitch or court. Our invasion games of choice have been Netball, Basketball & Hockey.

Part of the decision making process when choosing which invasion games to concentrate on was which local inter-school competitions are available throughout the year. Hockey, Netball and Basketball tournaments are all available to South Downs area schools in the coming months. The Academy is making a commitment to enter as many local area sports competitions as possible this year. We hope that by July, we will able to share news of our enjoyment and success at as many as 7 or 8 sports tournaments and competitions. We may even get the opportunity to host an event on our playing fields in the summer. It would be great to have schools and academies from all over Sussex come to visit us at Heron Park.