The GORSE Academies Trust ‘BIG 3’ programme.

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On 25 May 2000 Nelson Mandela said: “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does.”

Sir John Townsley and the professionals within The GORSE Academies Trust believe that sport plays an integral role in the development of all young people. It leads to improved fitness, health and well-being, concentration span, attitude and academic achievement. Most importantly, however, we believe sport can give our young people experiences they would not otherwise have.

In order to enable our young people to experience the most wide-ranging opportunities possible, we run the “BIG 3” programme. These are three sports – Rowing, Volleyball and Karate – which we believe contribute to this trust wide focus on improving the lives of the students in our care. These sports offer students with different skills and natural abilities, the opportunity to try something completely different and to rise to the very top of their sport as young athletes. Please find information below on each of the exciting BIG 3 programmes.

GORSE Rowing

Founded in 2016, The GORSE Boat Club (TGBC) is a thriving, successful rowing programme with members from all GORSE secondary academies. Rowing indoors shows students what the sport is all about on dry land before they progress to rowing on the water.

Across the whole Trust, squads train once a week. Students go through a varied programme at first in order to start building all-round fitness. From learning technique on the indoor rowing machine to gymnastics for flexibility and CrossFit workouts to improve fitness, students will never get bored of the wide-ranging offer in the first few terms.

In rowing, it’s not just about helping students become good athletes. Just as important is that they have a real sense of belonging to the Boat Club. Buddy systems give students an opportunity to get to know rowers in other year groups. Whether it is a quick chat in the corridor or help with perfecting a new bit of technique, older students take pride in their club helping everyone to settle in and feel part of the ‘rowing family’.

First and foremost, we are looking for students who are determined and committed. Students do not need to have had experience in rowing or even be any good at other sports. The great thing about rowing is that everyone starts at the same level. Initially, our aim is simply to have fun whilst we gradually get stronger and fitter. More importantly, we seek to support students to improve their confidence, resilience, and tenacity. Students will be able to earn rewards for developing these traits and upholding TGBC values. These rewards range from earning the coveted Boat Club t-shirt to a trip to the Leeds Boathouse to see where athletes from all across the city train on the water. For the most dedicated and driven, there is a trip to Henley Royal Regatta in July.

Like Wembley for football, Lords for cricket, or Wimbledon for tennis, Henley Royal Regatta is the international home of rowing. Competitors come from across the world each year and will range from top level school-age athletes to national and Olympic champions. Year 7 students selected for this trip will see rowers at the very top of their game. Ultimately, it is the aim of The GORSE Boat Club to win at the top level of junior rowing in this country – and that means Henley Royal Regatta. Some older GORSE rowers are currently on this path. These more experienced students are important role models, inspiring those new to the sport and demonstrating what it takes to become a GORSE rower.

As an example, if you did all the right things through Year 7 and got yourself a seat on the Henley trip, you’ll hopefully come back home inspired by what you see. Part of being selected to go to Henley in Year 7 is an automatic invitation to the GORSE Training Camp where you will get in a boat for the first time. We run the camp in the first weeks of the summer holidays when hopefully the sun will be shining. It’s the best time to be down at the club with your friends, all learning the basics in readiness for coming back in September and becoming a part of the TGBC Year 8 squad.

We know this is a unique opportunity that no other state schools in the North of England offer. We hope that a combination of the range of activities, competitions, trips and rewards sounds different and exciting.

GORSE Karate

GORSE Karate was founded in 2018. Our goal is to give our students confidence, discipline, integrity and most importantly a sport they can passionately follow throughout their life. We aim for our students to leave their secondary academy as a knowledgeable and competent 1st Dan black belt in Wado Ryu Karate, this will enable them to continue their learning or in fact begin teaching and passing on their knowledge to others.

Karate is an ever-growing sport with multiple paths to choose from. Year 7 Karate is all about seeing what the sport can offer and how much fun it can be. As students’ progress through the school they can continue to grade and eventually assist with teaching other students, they can also compete in many competitions including multiple British championships.

Karate training sessions will be held in each academy every week. In these sessions, students will develop their skills in a wide variety of activities including grade training, sparring practice, footwork & agility drills, fitness and self-defence. Students who are consistent in their training will be given opportunities to grade and compete throughout the year.

In our style of Karate, we have eight coloured belts before black belt. If you train once a week consistently, you should achieve your black belt within five years. If you train more than once a week, you can receive your black belt in as little as three years. In your first year of Karate you can grade three times and receive your orange belt. Following this, the grades become more difficult and you will likely miss a grading in between; this all fits into our five-year plan. We are looking for students who are determined and strong minded to join our team. There is no requirement for previous experience in any martial arts.

We want students to compete at the highest level. To help students progress to the very top there will be many opportunities for sparring practice in your academy, along with multiple inter- trust fixtures across the year where students will represent their academy. Students who excel in the fixtures will be asked to compete in the GORSE Games and will be given several other opportunities throughout the year. As you begin sparring, you will practice semi contact points fighting. As you progress, you will begin to learn the rules for more advanced competitions and rules.

GORSE Volleyball

Whether students are beginners, experienced or even just interested in sport, there is a place for everyone at The GORSE Volleyball Club.

In memory of Ruth Gorse, a former PE teacher and player for Leeds Volleyball Club who was sadly lost to breast cancer, the club and Trust formed a partnership resulting in an exciting new programme, The GORSE Volleyball Club (TGVC).

All primary and secondary students are taught a six-week block of volleyball within curriculum time and are supported by extra-curricular volleyball clubs for further development and play. In primary, students learn the basics of the sport through sitting volleyball in Years 3-4 and move on to 4v4 mini volleyball in Years 5-6. Years 7-9 form teams to compete in matches against respective academies as well as the annual Gorse Games, and if selected, students aged 11-18 are invited to train and compete through the Leeds Gorse Volleyball Club (LGVC). These players take part in competitions, locally, regionally, and nationally, and even have the opportunity to meet and train with the England National Volleyball teams throughout the year.

Additionally, the LGVC also offers a social session on Friday evenings at The Ruth Gorse Academy, this is open to beginners, intermediates and even parents. Coaching, scoring and referee courses are available, so supporters have opportunities to get involved too.

The fun does not stop in the summer as LGVC also hosts the biggest beach volleyball tournament in England at Bridlington Beach (open to all levels of play), followed by a junior beach training camp. As volleyball is a team sport, we look for students with positive attitudes, open minds, and a strong work ethic. Our aim is to host a safe space for sport and provide students with a sense of team unity and belonging.

We hope you are inspired and motivated by the above and are excited about school in September!