BBC Tumble judge and double gold medallist Craig Heap has been coaching youngsters at Bede Academy

Gymnast Craig Heap (2)The sporting ability of students has been stretched by a former Olympic and Commonwealth gymnast.

Double gold medallist Craig Heap, who is also a judge on BBC One programme Tumble, put students at Bede Academy, in Blyth, through their paces in the classroom and the sports hall.

Craig, who captained England to team gold at the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur in 1998 and Manchester in 2002 and also competed in the Sydney Olympics in 2000, is now an athlete mentor in the Sky Sports Living for Sport programme and many other initiatives aimed at motivating young people through sport.

“It’s all about building the students’ confidence by making changes based on the ‘six keys to success’. I used them to get to the Olympics and I still use them in my day to day life, to be successful in my own business and if I’m commentating on gymnastics for BBC Sport or appearing on television in Tumble on a Saturday night,” he said.

Gymnast Craig Heap (3)Fifteen students at Bede, who are either studying BTEC Sport or are in the academy’s fitness initiative, heard Craig’s story and about the six keys to success before taking part in activities, drawing on what they had learned.

A farmer’s son from Burnley, in Lancashire, Craig was destined for a life on the farm before he was “dragged along” to watch his sister doing gymnastics.

“I went to a boys’ school and I struggled with sports like football and rugby. It was tough and I nearly quit. But later I learned it’s OK to be different and that cool things happen to people who are different,” added Craig, who retired from competitions in 2002.

“There’s nothing wrong with being a farmer if that’s what you want, but I learned there’s a massive world out there full of amazing opportunities and to grab them whenever they come along.”

Student Lewis Faircloth, 12, of Blyth, said:

“It’s been fun. I can use the skills Craig taught us in my PE lessons.”

Laila Rogerson, 13, of Blyth, added:

“Craig was really funny and I’ve learned some new people skills.”

The visit took place during the academy’s Healthy Living Week, when students, staff and parents are encouraged to get active.


Sport for parents helps county initiative

Lads and Dads Evening (2)PARENTS and students have been getting active in a pioneering initiative that is about to be rolled across a county.

Bede Academy, Blyth, introduced dads and lads and mums and daughters’ sessions to promote healthy living and being active.

The evening sessions, held during the academy’s annual Healthy Living Week, allow students and their families to use the state of the art facilities including the sports hall, gym and dance studio.

Mums and Daughters Evening (1)The most recent event attracted 55 people, who took part in badminton matches and Zumba sessions with the help of professional coaches.

The Bede initiative, one of many community events staged at the academy, was spotted last year by Northumberland County Council, which is interested in rolling out a similar programme across the region.

Active Northumberland’s Lee Paris said the academy had helped the council formulate a successful bid for £240,000 from Sport England’s Community Sport Activities Fund.

He said:

“We were really impressed with Bede Academy’s initiative, which removes instantly a major barrier to activity – child care.

“We will now be focusing on the 14 to 25-year-olds, an age group where activity tends to drop off. We will also address the over 50s.”

Director of sport at Bede Academy Simon MacAree added:

“Inactivity is a major health worry in modern society and if we can encourage young people to remain active into adulthood, and also encourage their parents, it can help stave off all manner of health problems.

“The academy lies at the heart of the community in Blyth and we are delighted to open our doors so people can make the most of our fantastic facilities.”

Year 7 student Joseph Miller brought his dad Jason to the event.

“I love being at Bede Academy,” the 11-year-old said, “and it’s great to be able to play badminton with my dad.”

Mr Miller added:

“The session has been really good and I have enjoyed some quality time with Joseph. I used to play rugby when I was younger and this has reminded me how much fun sport can be.”


Students share £1000 after winning entrepreneurial challenge

ESF Business Game Runners-up EC (2)Christmas has come early for young entrepreneurs whose enterprising ideas have won them £1,000 in an annual schools competition.

Team Tempest from Bede Academy, in Blyth, walked away with the top prize in the Emmanuel Schools Foundation (ESF) Business Game after a week developing their company around a tracker device product for children.

The team – Anna Bower, Bethany Appleby, Taylor Glover, Terence Bell, Joe Fell, Liam Watson and Jay Cook – each had a role in the company and carried out market research, forecasted financials, honed the product and worked on sales, marketing and branding during Global Entrepreneurship Week.

The Business Game is held each year by ESF for students in Year 9 at each of the four schools in the Foundation.

The eight themes students could choose from included wearable technology, a new brand of chocolate or breakfast cereal, a new app, or a product or service to benefit pets, to use on the beach or to help parents of children aged under three.

After working on their ideas three teams from each school – Bede Academy, Emmanuel College, in Gateshead, The King’s Academy, Middlesbrough, and Trinity Academy, Doncaster – presented to a Dragons’ Den-style panel of judges.

After questioning each team, the judges selected a shortlist of five before announcing the eventual winner, Tempest, and runners-up Just Pink, from Emmanuel College, who received £500. All three teams from Bede Academy made the finalists’ shortlist.

Tempest’s tracker device is aimed at children aged two-ten who might go missing in a shopping centre or crowded place, and also to help the careers of older people suffering from dementia.

Managing director of Tempest Anna Bower explained: “Madeleine McCann had been in the news again and we all have older relatives and have heard stories of people with dementia going missing, so that was the starting point. We all worked well together and we’re really pleased to win a share of £1,000 each.”

Judge Jennifer Welford, of London-based accountancy practice Accounts and Legal, said:

“Tempest’s presentation really stood out. We really liked the product because they didn’t just go down the children route; they thought about it and expanded their market to the elderly as well.”

Chairman of judges Malcolm Williams added:

“All the teams came up with some great ideas and had obviously put a lot of hard work into their businesses. It was very difficult to choose a winner and runner-up because the ideas were so diverse. They should all be very proud of what they achieved in just a week.”

Business studies teacher at Bede Academy Jennifer Bell said:

“Team Tempest’s idea was brilliant and they completely sold it to the judges with a persuasive presentation. All in all, it was a great day for Bede Academy.”

King’s Academy maths and business teacher Amy Williams, who runs the competition each year, said:

“Whether it was clever clothing, an app to defrost your car or an earpiece to make emergency calls, all the teams went down the technology route and came up with products to make our lives easier, safer or more comfortable.”

The other judges were businessman Rob Carson, retired primary head teacher Sue Fox and Diane Ritchie, project manager for Network Rail.