In 2001 Ashington High School was successful in applying for Specialist Sports College status. This meant that at that time we received additional funding to raise standards in Physical Education and sport within our own school, in a local family of schools and in the wider community.
However, after nine very successful years, in 2010 the Education Secretary announced that the schools’ specialism programme was to be abolished and any additional funding received to be re-directed centrally to school budgets. However, we decided our work in this area was so strong and so important to us that we should maintain our Sports College identity. No longer specifically funded for PE and sport development and not as target-driven by Government initiatives, we remain as passionate as ever about the power of sport and have chosen to continue to operate as a Sports College and centre of excellence for PE and school sport.
Ashington High School is, therefore, a school which offers tremendous opportunities for participation and development in sport and other extra-curricular activity. We have established a strong Sports College ethos and continue to use this in an attempt to inspire and motivate our students to do well. However, students at Ashington High do not have to be gifted in sports to benefit from Sports College status. We are ambitious for all of our students in every aspect of their learning and development in this school. Sports College status was a reflection of our commitment to excellence and students at Ashington High continue to have many opportunities to develop in sport, the classroom and in all aspects of their school lives.
Many of our students do enjoy PE and sport, which helps raise levels of motivation and performance. It also helps youngsters gain confidence, self-esteem, qualifications and develop a positive attitude to a healthy lifestyle.
Our ongoing commitment to Sports College work means that we have the resources to encourage effective learning at all levels of ability. We are a school which is committed to working with other schools locally and nationally, and with local groups and agencies for the benefit of our students and the wider community.
We are a central point for a number of sports initiatives and as a former School Sports Partnership hub site now host a School Games Organiser position. We have recently successfully supported some of our local first schools in creating an exciting shared post, utilising their Primary Sports Funding to secure a peripatetic PE teacher across four schools. We are also the lead for the newly created Ashington and Amble School Sport Partnership; a project which means that we are involved in supporting the organisation and delivery of high quality PE and sport in our partnership first and middle schools in South-East Northumberland.
We work very closely with key sporting and education bodies such as the Youth Sport Trust and Northumbria University to provide excellent opportunities for our youngsters. Our Principal, Mr Douglas, is a Headteacher Ambassador for the Youth Sports Trust and uses this role to advocate the importance and power of sport and PE as a driver for school improvement and student development and wellbeing. We are particularly well-equipped to help students with the potential to reach the highest level of sport and we use a number of programmes to support our most talented youngsters.
Students and staff at Ashington High have the advantage of vast experience of working within the framework of the specialist school organisation. We regularly share information and development with other centres of excellence and were recognised as a High Performing Sports College for our work on Leadership. We have published a number of articles and have led local and national training around high quality PE and what makes an outstanding PE department and school sport provision. All of this directly benefits our students, as does the ongoing investment in raising standards across all areas of our daily school life.
Using its history as a Sports College, Ashington High School places a strong emphasis on achievement, both in sport and in all other aspects of learning. We strive to give our students the best possible learning opportunities whilst stressing that participation, commitment and personal enthusiasm from them is the key to their future success.