Active School Hero Award: Nominations open

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:
Inspiring: PE Teacher Joe Danquah, from Byker Primary School, who won the 2021 Active School Hero Award (image: ukActive Kids)

A nationwide campaign has been launched to recognise unsung primary school staff who have inspired pupils to take on physical activity during the pandemic.

The Active School Hero Award is being support by Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, one of Britain’s greatest Paralympians, and is open for nominations until April 11.

A Department for Education report published in January revealed that many schools cut PE time as part of their response to the pandemic last academic year. In fact, 56% of primary schools said they had reduced hours for certain subjects, “particularly music and PE” (Achtaridou et al, 2022).

The Active School Hero Award is now in its fourth year and is run by ukactive Kids and Nike. Its aim is to shine a spotlight on the work of primary school PE teachers and others – whether they teacher PE or not.

Last year’s winner was Joe Danquah, a PE Teacher from Byker Primary in Newcastle who "inspires all children to get active, no matter their background or ability and shows them they are made to play."

During the nomination process, applicants will be encouraged to demonstrate how their hero has encouraged an inclusive school environment by positively engaging under-served groups of young people to become more active. In addition, nominees will be asked to share how they have been creatively tackling inactivity during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Once nominations close, a shortlist of 20 people will be chosen for each of the four UK nations. Two winners from each nation will then be invited to an awards ceremony in Birmingham on June 30 when the winner will be unveiled.

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, chair of ukactive, said: “Primary school children and staff have faced another tough year as we recover from the pandemic and try to establish a stable environment for growth and learning. Unfortunately, the catching up of children’s education has come at the cost of a reduced number of hours of PE in many schools.

“The Active School Hero Award is our way to recognise the primary school staff making sure that children and young people can enjoy being active every day, particularly at such a critical time in reducing our health inequalities and recovering from the pandemic.”


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