Tamworth Pupils Dance Their Way To a Healthier Future
The Tamworth School Sports Partnership in Staffordshire is encouraging pupils to take part in more physical activity by introducing a sport they can all enjoy: dance mats. To improve the quality of PE and sport undertaken by young people, the Government launched the PE and Sport Strategy for Young People (PESSYP) which aims to create a new 'five hour offer' for 5-16 year olds - two hours of PE and sport at school and a further three hours of after-school sport each week. Tamworth School Sports Partnership is leading the way by joining forces with fitnessgaming (www.fitnessgaming.co.uk) and offering pupils an activity that will engage and excite them.
The dance mats have been introduced to the five secondary schools in Tamworth and will be lent to the feeder primary schools when they want to use them. The dance mats can be used in PE lessons, after school clubs and interschool competitions. The wireless system, called the Cobalt Flux 'Blufit Wireless' dance mat, records pupils' data as they play and uploads their performance onto an interactive website so they can compete with other schools and pupils regionally, nationally and even internationally.
Ben Bulleyment, Partnership Development Manager of Tamworth School Sport Partnership, commented: "We are introducing the Cobalt Flux Just for Schools dance mats in our schools to engage those pupils who do not currently enjoy PE. Feedback from pupils has often been that they don't like the activities in PE, or that they don't like being directed by a teacher, so we needed an activity where they could feel more in control and something which is more in line with their out-of-school interests. They This provision for disengaged students, particularly adolescent girls, will also help us to achieve the PE and Sport Strategy target of more pupils doing more sport.
"The dance systems are ideal because they enabled me to provide a system for each secondary school within my budget and they keep the pupils active while they have fun - for them it's just a game and they are getting fit by default. We'll be using the wireless system to host inter-school competitions across Tamworth which the pupils are all really excited about."
Duncan Black, Director at fitnessgaming, comments: "A key part of involving all young people in sport and PE is engaging with those who do not currently want to take part in traditional physical activities, such as cross-country, hockey or netball. Sport needs to move with the times and embrace activities that are more suited to today's youth, making sport and fitness something they enjoy and not something to be avoided.
"Although advances in technology and computer games are often blamed for children staying indoors and avoiding exercise, there are new and innovative ways of using this technology to engage children in sporting activities. This type of activity is perfect for School Sports Partnerships because it crosses all ages and genders, there is no discrimination so all pupils can play against each other regardless of their abilities."
The Cobalt Flux 'Just for Schools' dance mats can be used with the Playstation 2 and Nintendo Wii, which makes them easy to set up and a more affordable alternative for schools compared to other expensive proprietary systems. A three-sided frame and a hand-controlled mat are available for pupils with special needs so the whole class can get involved.