CHILDREN from 11 of the district’s schools started the new academic year with a bit of skipping to keep fit and active.

They attended a skipping festival at Hexham’s Wentworth Leisure Centre. The fun event challenged the youngsters to learn a wide range of skipping techniques.

It was the first in a series of School Games events which will take place during the academic year, organised and delivered by the Active Northumberland School Sport Partnership.

The 263 children in attendance were from Prudhoe’s Adderlane Academy, Otterburn Primary, West Woodburn First School, Prudhoe Castle First School, Slaley First School, Hexham First School, Ovingham First School, Haltwhistle Primary School, Chollerton First School, and Beaufront First School and St Mary’s RC First School, both of Hexham.

Chris Corcoran and his team from specialist organisation Skipping Schools led the children from basic solo skipping to pairs skipping, and on to and large rope skipping.

School Games organiser Helen Robson said the event was well received and the children were challenged whilst having fun and participating in physical activity.

She added: “The School Games programme is not just about competitive fixtures in the traditional sports. It is also about getting as many children as possible to engage in physical and healthy activity.

“Skipping is a wonderful way to do this, and we hope that the children will take the skills learned at the festival and develop them in the playgrounds and beyond.”

The district’s schools are celebrating a fantastic year of sport in 2018/19, with 31 schools receiving a School Games mark at the end of last term.

The award comes in four categories, bronze, silver, gold and platinum, and schools are judged on hours of PE in the curriculum and in the extra hours curriculum, physical activity within the curriculum, and not just in PE.

Participation figures in clubs, festivals and competitions are also measured and schools have to show evidence that they can make a difference to the activity levels of their least active pupils. Schools have to take part in a minimum of two School Games competitions, and run regular intra-school competitions throughout the year.

In addition, they also have to provide opportunities to engage pupils in leadership opportunities and provide training for such roles.

‘Getting one of the awards really is a mark of good and excellent PE, sport and physical activity in a school. Our schools should be very proud of their achievements,” said Helen.