Dodgeball and Zumba? That’s a good PE lesson...

Forest School Leaders Dawn White and Sue Evans with their pupils outside the school

Picture: Habibur Rahman (180146-338)

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YOU may not associate Zumba and yoga with PE lessons.

But they are becoming regular features at a school which is motivating its pupils by giving them unusual sports and activities to try out.

Harbour School in Tipner, Portsmouth offers students Zumba, yoga and dodgeball alongside traditional team games.

Boxer Darran Langley, a silver medalist for Great Britain at the Commonwealth Games in 2002 and 2006, has also become the school’s mentor for 2012.

It’s all part of the Youth Sport Trust and Sky Sports Living for Sport scheme which aims to make young people enthusiastic about physical education.

Over the years, they have had motivational talks from hockey star Alex Danson, rugby players Chris Horsman and Jo Yapp, and Paralympian Tim Prendergast as part of the scheme.

Andy Broadhurst, pupil support worker at the school, which helps young people with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties, said: ‘Our aim is to get the kids to spend time with us and back into mainstream education.

‘We’ve registered with programmes in the past and we teamed up with Portsmouth Football Club in its Respect programme.

‘We put 10 children on it and seven of them ended up going to mainstream schools.

‘Darran came to us just before Christmas and had a big assembly session with the children, which they really enjoyed.

‘He’s someone to look up to and he loved coming to spend time with them.

‘Most of the children have been in trouble at school and turned themselves around.

‘I recommend any school to take part in the initiative as you design the programme to meet the needs of the pupils.

‘When the athletes come in they get to see things they wouldn’t see in everyday life.

‘You can see the kids have a spring in their step and it does make a difference.’

Lisa Taylor, assistant head at the Harbour School, said: ‘It has been a tremendous success in social and emotional learning. To have sports people come in and share their journey to the top of their sport is inspiring.

‘It has been incredibly beneficial to our school and sport is a good way to engage young people.’