Skolars’ community staff at Blanche Neville School

6th May 2014

London Skolars Community Officer Matt Cuss and First Team player Smokie Junor payed a visit to Blanche Nevile School in Muswell Hill. Joining Matt and Smokie was Emine Garip who is currently on work experience with the Skolars from Haringey Sixth Form Centre, here she writes up her morning.

Blanche Nevile is a specialist school for deaf children and it was the first time any of the pupils had experienced any sort of rugby. Through Skolars partnership with Access Sport, we were able to work with a small group of Key Stage 4 pupils, who were certainly very keen to take part and experience something new. Alongside the children, Matt and Smokie were helped out by some very enthusiastic support staff, whose signing ability and knowledge of the children was invaluable.

The morning started out with Smokie warming the pupils up in the indoor facility at the school, under the watchful eye of Matt, the youngsters were put through their paces through lots of various movement exercises, games and general activity. Then introducing the rugby ball into the pupils added a real rugby feel to the session, using the ball as a tool in such games as Tag, and Stuck in the Mud.

The session then moved onto more game related activity, with Matt and Smokie introducing the pupils to the fundamental skills used in Rugby League. The pupils took part in some drills to help their catching and passing, they were taught how to carry the ball correctly and completed lots of drills to help their evasion and movement.

We then moved the session onto the astro turf outside, which enabled us to expand the drills and challenge the children in different ways. The rate that the pupils developed was outstanding and the games moved on from a static offside touch game, into a full paced touch rugby contest. All the pupils were keen to learn and were fantastically enthusiastic for the full two hour session.

Sessions like these are important for the Blanche Nevile pupils as it exposes them to new sports and helps them develop not only their physical attributes but also their confidence, how to interact with new people and focus on teamwork. All pupils were extremely thankful as they left and were particularly impressed with Smokie’s scars from his recent femur break which he is recovering well from.

These sessions are bi-weekly so the pupils will be looking forward to another 2 hour session with the Skolars on 16th May. Melissa Van Gucci – Head of PE at Blanche Nevile, commented on the session  ‘it was great to see the children engaging with Matt and Smokie, the level of coaching from the guys was great and it was fantastic to watch the pupils learn new skills and experience a different sport.’ Miss Van Gucci was so impressed that she now wants the Skolars Community team to deliver to the younger age group on a weekly basis.

London Skolars disability sessions in partnership with Access Sport, run every Saturday at 12pm at Haringey Sixth Form Centre for more information then please email or phone the office on 020 8888 8488.

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