By Jemima Waltho
26 June, 2019
What do you do when life gives you lemons? What if they are waterlogged, last minute lemons? On a very wet Tuesday, slap bang in the middle of National Schools Sports Week, we were due to launch the inaugural national OAT Sports Cup 2019 at UEA Sports Park. Although this wasn’t to be, we were delighted to still celebrate sporting success at Ormiston Academies Trust (OAT) with a very special mini OAT games.
Over the past few years, with support from Zurich Municipal and Ormiston Academies Trust, we have been growing the OAT Sports Cup. Initially focused on supporting eight schools from our North and West Regions to compete against each other on track and field, we now offer the opportunity to sixteen of our schools, representing all four regions (North, South, East and West). These schools compete not only on track and field, but also through dance/performance, photography, student leadership, art and creative school spirit.
On 25 June, eight OAT schools, made up of over 600 pupils, were all signed up and ready to attend the first East and South regional sports championship at UEA Sports Park. However, torrential overnight rain resulted in us making the decision to cancel the event. Fortunately, Ashley Tyne, who coordinated the event, and the staff at Ormiston Victory Academy were able to reach most of the schools to stop them travelling. Unfortunately, Ormiston Sudbury Academy had already made the epic two-hour journey, to get to the event early and were all sitting in the coach, ready to compete.
Thanks to Ashley’s quick thinking and a massive staff and team effort, a last-minute, mini OAT games was arranged, held at Ormiston Victory Academy and giving Ormiston Sudbury Academy students the opportunity to play. The tournament began with engaging dance performances from both schools and then moved onto multiple games of very noisy dodgeball, handball and rounders. Both schools demonstrated excellent school and sporting spirit; turning what could have been a damp squib of a day into something far more exciting and memorable.
Earlier this year, Education Secretary Damian Hinds launched his five foundations for character development and resilience, within which sport features. We were determined to create a national offer for our schools that combined sports with other key areas highlighted in the five foundations, namely: performance, creativity and volunteering. We couldn’t have predicted the events of 25 June, and whilst initially disappointing, there were so many other rewards – particularly in how our schools came together. The day also demonstrated how teamwork, combined effort, resilience and grit (all areas promoted in the five foundations) changed the outcome of the day for the better; and we couldn’t have been prouder of our schools and students.
OAT is dedicated to providing our pupils with opportunities which broaden their horizons, both within and outside of the classroom. To do this, we will continue to create, lead on and deliver similar programmes; supporting the development of their social, emotional and life skills, helping them to learn from setbacks and celebrate success.
On 4 July, eight OAT academies from the North and West regions will come together to compete in their regional sports championship ‘OAT Sports Cup’ in a large contest taking place at Northwood Stadium in Stoke. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for blue skies and we hope to have a thrilling and varied programme; but if it is a wash-out we know that our academies and students will turn those lemons into something fantastic.