This summer, pupils from Gosforth Central Middle School (GCMS) were treated to a once in a lifetime opportunity as they took part in the national anthem ceremony for an ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup match in Leicester.
GCMS were selected as one of 27 schools and colleges from across the country to act as the national anthem flag bearers thanks to TeamUp, an initiative developed by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), England Hockey and England Netball, to encourage 7-13 year-old girls to experience the benefits of sport.
26 pupils from the school based in Newcastle upon Tyne took centre stage for the group game contest between South Africa and India, as they walked onto the field displaying the nations’ flags. The pupils, of which 12 were girls, were also given the opportunity to play a game of cricket on the outfield during the half-time interval.
Despite a 4am start to travel from Newcastle to Leicester, the pupils – many of whom were lucky enough to have bats signed by several members of the Indian cricket team – ended the day in high spirits. Ashleigh McQuoid, a former teacher at GCMS who attended the World Cup match with the school children, said: “The experience was incredible. The pupils, especially the young girls, came away from the day very inspired by what they’d seen. Many said that they now wanted to join cricket clubs both in and outside of school.”
GCMS has been involved with TeamUp since its inception in October 2016, and as a result now delivers cricket, hockey and netball to its female pupils.
Ashleigh comments: “TeamUp has certainly had an impact on both our school activities and our pupils. The resources available on the website have been extremely useful to me personally in running my local hockey club. It has also given our school a sense of pride and accomplishment, and has been a great way to share our clubs and activities with parents on social media.
“Our students love being part of something that is national, sporty and so inclusive. They enjoy being challenged and encouraged to share their thoughts. We made two videos this year for TeamUp, one explaining why they like being part of the initiative – the girls said that they felt more confident and liked to show that girls can do sport as well – and the other was a ‘TeamUp Challenge’ attempt, to score a netball goal, dribble with a hockey stick and ball and bowl a cricket ball to knock over a set of stumps.”
GCMS delivers cricket, netball and hockey to its female pupils, and the TeamUp initiative has had a significant impact on the school’s sporting activities. Ashleigh introduced the school’s first hockey club in October half term of last year, with seven girls signed up. As the club continued and the TeamUp buzz grew, this number grew to 35 pupils over the course of the year. As the profile and visibility of women’s sport continues grow, the number of young girls wanting to get involved will only increase.
For access to money-can’t-buy prizes and experiences, resources for teacher delivery and information about training opportunities, sign your school up to TeamUp now: www.teamupengland.com