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Schools Case Studies

Willow Brook Primary School

Date Added: Wed, 19 Aug 2009

Related tags: Success Story

Willow Brook Primary School

In September 2004 Concept 2 staff approached Willow Brook at Keyworth, to run the first ever pilot indoor rowing scheme in a primary school. So how has it worked with the younger children? Well, here's another Nottingham success story - and that includes staff and parents.

It started as soon as the Concept 2 team showed the teachers how to train the Year 6 youngsters in October 2004. The Indoor Rowers are now available for half an hour before school, 8.15-8.45, and then from 8.50-9.30 parents are free to have a go. The Indoor Rowers are again used at lunchtime by the pupils and after school by staff and parents!

Over a week all thirty-three, Year 6 children use the Indoor Rower, with the girls having the edge on style but the boys have the strength. There have been many benefits but the main one is that children who are generally not interested in sport are very enthusiastic about indoor rowing. So they are occupied with an exercise involving every major muscle group, which is excellent for the youngsters.

Earlier in January, Keith Atkinson - who has done considerable work training the staff - did some measuring and assessments with the children: one was an anaerobic test, testing how far they could row in 20 seconds, and the other was an aerobic test, testing how far they could row in 2 minutes. Then, in a few months time he will return to record improvements. To coincide with one of his visits, the children were delighted when Keith went through the 15,000,000 metres barrier on one of their Indoor Rowers. He rows every day and keeps a record of the accumulating total. Well done, Keith!

And it's not just the children who are busy. Last November at the British Rowing Indoor Championships at the NIA, Birmingham, eight teachers including the Head raced in the men's and women's corporate team events. Not only did they perform well, they had a great day out and met double Olympic champion James Cracknell. A great motivational boost to the scheme.

Have they any plans for later this term? Besides training for a fun race day event, they are planning to help make the link for the children when they move from primary to secondary education. Staff who teach Year 7 students from the local secondary school will see what has been achieved so far. Both schools are involved in a School Sports Co-ordinator Partnership and it is hoped that rowing will be a strong feature of this collaboration which is aimed at encouraging to 'take part'.

Ian Jenkinson, Head Teacher comments enthusiastically:

"Indoor rowing at Willow Brook Primary - it's a personal challenge for the children (and staff) every single day and it's hard to keep pace with it - but what a great problem to have!"

Update; The British Indoor Rowing Championships is now the British Rowing Indoor Championships. It is run by British Rowing and held at the 2012 Olympic Cycling Velodrome in London.

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