Connaught School for Girl’s Head of Physical Education, Erin Hebblewhite, has been nominated for TeamUp’s London Sports Teacher of the Year award for her outstanding contribution to girl’s sport.
Erin, Australian by birth, has played both netball and
cricket, the latter a sport she played for two years alongside her brother.
Erin has been responsible for implementing a new
curriculum structure at Connaught School for Girls, with emphasis placed on
improving pupils’ skills rather than the competitive element of sport. Students
are taught skill-based games before learning the importance of tactics and why
they are used. The new curriculum has enabled pupils to learn the rules to
sport faster as they have a greater understanding of how and why they’ve been
Erin also offers students the opportunity to become
involved in a range of lunchtime and after school activities that are available
to pupils including netball and health clubs.
Since the new curriculum has been in place, the school
has seen a dramatic improvement in the level of enjoyment in PE lessons. Erin
said: “Overall, I would estimate there has been a 40-50% increase in attendance
at extra-curricular clubs, with a 15% increase in the level of skill amongst the
kids. The most important thing for me is that the overwhelming majority of
girls are now enjoying their PE lessons.”
Erin’s teaching philosophy focuses on creating a relaxed
and fun environment in which to play sport. An example of this is in her Year 7
Friday classes, where students are encouraged to show off their best dance
moves prior to every run or exercise; a rule Erin gleefully follows as well.
Since registering with TeamUp, 20 new cricket bats have
been gifted to the school through the initiative, which Erin has used to
develop games that incorporate as many girls as possible, keeping them focused
and happy. TeamUp has also allowed Erin to bring in a specialist cricket coach,
who has been providing an additional session each week to pupils at a nearby
county cricket ground.
Shortlisted for TeamUp’s London Sport Teacher of Year
for her enthusiasm and passion for ensuring girls have the opportunity to play
sport in school, Erin reflects: “I hope that the sports and activities we
provide at school inspire the girls to play fun modified games with their
friends as well as encouraging them to stay fit outside of school.”
On what it would mean to be named London Sports Teacher
of the Year, Erin adds: “It’s nice to get recognition for the positive changes
we are seeing in our girls. To win would help put our school on the map and the
recognition would help build partnerships, giving the girls even more
opportunities that they wouldn’t otherwise have.
“TeamUp has been fundamental to our school’s growing
achievements, as the equipment, coaches and inspiration the initiative offers
is what is helping drive the change.”
TeamUp is a joint initiative launched in
2016 by the England & Wales Cricket Board, England Hockey and England
Netball. Its goal is to maximise the legacy of three consecutive home women’s
World Cups between 2017-2019 and ensure that thousands
of seven to 13-year-old girls across the country have the chance to play team
The initiative was given a significant
boost in May 2017 when Wembley National Stadium Trust (WNST) committed over
£650,000 to extend the initiative within the London
boroughs and provide local delivery support for London schools and additional
opportunities for girls to participate in sport. Schools can access this
support by registering at www.teamupengland.com and
applying for support.
Four teachers have been shortlisted for London’s
Sports Teacher of the Year Award and have been invited to
the Vitality Netball SuperLeague Grand Final on Saturday 7th July.
The winner will be announced and presented with their award during the match.
For more information about TeamUp and
how your school can apply for London support, please visit: www.teamupengland.com.