Where does your love of sport come from?
I have been interested in sport since I was about 4 years old – my father loved cricket, football and rugby and he encouraged my passion for sport. I was inspired by Arsenal, my favourite football team and I used to go and watch them play. Watching such skillful play and seeing the way the team members all supported one another made me want to become a professional player.
I remember how excited I was when we would play competitive football matches at primary school; being selected for teams felt like an honour and I only wished they were more frequent. My goal is for children at the Lyceum to have similar sporting memories, so more competitive school fixtures have been introduced.
At School, I realised that my skill set was best suited to the rugby pitch. I was scouted for Maidstone Rugby and played Winger during the unbeaten 08/09 season, becoming Top Try Scorer in the Junior European Championships held in Lille.
Reaching university, I was selected for the Rugby Firsts (winning the BUCS league on 2 occasions). I played for five years on the wing and I now play for an East London club.
How do you hope to encourage pupils who do not like sport to become more involved?
I encourage pupils who are more hesitant to sport by telling them that they will have a sporting talent but we just need to discover what it is. I believe every child has something that they are good at, whether it is on the track, in the pool, on the tennis court or on the Judo mat. In many sports such as Rugby, there are many positions with varying roles which benefit from different physical and tactical attributes. I am dyspraxic and so I understand what it feels like to initially struggle to get to grips with sport but because of that, I also know that hard work and determination can reap great rewards and that nothing is impossible.
What sports are available at the Lyceum?
We offer a huge range of sports at the Lyceum, so that we can harness the talents of all our pupils. This term we are playing rugby and tennis, and we have gymnastics for Years 3 and 4. Next term we will have cricket, athletics, tennis, and rounders. During the Winter Term, we will have football, hockey and basketball. Every Friday children from Year 2-6 have swimming lessons and in the Winter/Spring Terms we enter local swimming Galas.
Although we do not have our own pitches, we are fortunate to have a plethora of sporting grounds closeby. Currently, we use Golden Lane Sports Centre, Finsbury Park pitches and the Artillery Ground, which has fantastic football, rugby and cricket pitches. Sports Day will be held at the Mile End Stadium where we will compete at track and field events.
Why is sport important for children?
We believe that, for our children to be confident, happy and healthy, we need to ensure that they are fit and have plenty of opportunities for sport. We think that healthy competition is important for personal development and that the inter-House Sporting opportunities help to develop the family atmosphere of the school. The competitive fixtures develop pride in the school and, in a time where children spend much of their leisure time looking at screens, teaching them to appreciate sport is ever more important.
Being active and fit develops wellbeing and our children are better able to concentrate because they have had plenty of exercise. The self -discipline you have to develop whilst being part of a team is also very important.
What do you hope to achieve at Lyceum in the sports department?
To provide an outstanding sporting curriculum and to build the reputation of the department so that it is as well-renowned as our music department.