FORMER badminton world champion and Olympic silver medallist Gail Emms MBE was at Sutton Academy to host a specialist training session for PE teachers.

The session saw 25 teachers from across the north west learn new skills and improve their badminton techniques as part of a Sport England programme to inspire students and help foster a more positive attitude towards Physical Education.

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The activity was organised by Altrincham’s The Alliance for Learning Teaching School which has been commissioned by Sport England to encourage PE as part of a £13.5m teacher training programme.

As part of this initiative, Gail Emms, an Independent Coach Education elite coach, is working with PE staff to ensure they receive up-to-date coaching practices and techniques now being coached within modern badminton.

Gail, now 42, was an Olympic mixed doubles silver medallist in 2004 and a World Championship mixed doubles gold medallist in 2006.

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Gail Emms in her playing days Pic: PA

According to the Youth Sport Trust, 40 per cent of girls and only 54 per cent of boys aged 11 to 18 enjoy physical activity and enjoyment levels decrease with age.

NHS guidelines recommend young people aged five to 18 are physically active for an average of at least 60 minutes of moderate intensity activity a day across the week, with additional, more strenuous activity to develop movement skills, bones and muscle strength.2

The Alliance for Learning has been working with more than 50 schools across the region to offer specialist training and events that will help educational providers improve physical health among young people, focussing on some of the least active demographics.

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The training session at Sutton Academy

Recent research from Sport England has found that children and young people aged 13 to 16 are the least likely to be active.

The survey also shows that active children are happier, more resilient and more trusting of others. It also demonstrates a positive association between being active and higher levels of mental wellbeing, individual development and community development.3

Robert Hodgson, faculty leader for PE and Sport at The Sutton Academy, said: “It was an extremely motivating session and Gail’s passion for the sport really got us thinking about how we can introduce new ways to get students working together and pass that enthusiasm on.”

Director of teaching school and partnerships, Lisa Fathers, at Alliance for Learning, part of Bright Futures Educational Trust, added: “We are thrilled to be a Sports Hub, leading this programme in the Greater Manchester region as we want to help children and young people improve their understanding of mental and physical health so they can lead more active and healthier lives. Sessions like these are important to ensure our teachers have access to the best training to help achieve this goal.”

Sport England is investing £13.5million into its Secondary Teacher Training programme, with funding available for every eligible secondary school.

Any secondary schools that want to benefit from this major National Lottery investment can visit the Sport England website for more information and details on how to sign up.