250 excited guests descended upon Gateshead’s Dryden Centre to celebrate the excellent work and achievements of the borough’s pupils and schools within the areas of sport, physical education and physical activity.
 
The evening, organised by Gateshead School Partnership and supported by The Education Network, is part of an ongoing local legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, adopting an award structure and format based on the seven Olympic & Paralympic values, including Inspiration, Excellence, Friendship, Respect, Determination, Courage and Equality.
 
The evening, hosted by Capital FM’s Matt Bailey, welcomed guest sporting star Craig Heap, Commonwealth Games Gold medal winning gymnast, and English and British champion, who entertained the audience as he unveiled the highs and lows of his sporting career, and encouraged the youngsters in the audience.
 
“Sport is by far the most important thing you can do to prepare you for life” Craig began, “it’s unrealistic to think that we are going to win everything, but we can still have goals and achieve our personal best.” He went on to say: “If you can look in the mirror and say to yourself – I’m not quite good enough yet – you will get there! Successful people are the ones who do their best day in, day out. You need to follow your passion as far as you can, just keep going with the sport and dare to be different!”
 
The awards delivered some exciting award categories linked to the London 2012 Legacy Programme; ‘Blazing The Trail’ (BTT) guaranteeing a lively and varied evening as pupils and schools were recognised for their work across a range of high quality cross-curricular projects with Physical Education and School Sport as their drivers, and pupils delighted the audience with showcases of their award winning work in the areas of dance, music, art, media and more.
 
Awards such as Young Sport Achiever of the Year were hotly contested alongside the Team of the Year Award.  Whilst both of the former celebrated excellence and success, alternative awards such as the ‘Unsung Hero Award’ and ‘Sporting Spirit Award’ acknowledged individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to school sport on a local level and those who have demonstrated great courage to overcome adversity and achieve success in their chosen sport or volunteer role.
 
A series of ‘School Sport Innovation Awards’ ensured that schools themselves were recognised for much of theexcellent and innovative work that is undertaken week in and week out.  In particular, they acknowledged schools who are working collaboratively with other organisations, or within their own school, using Physical Education and school sport to make a real difference to their pupils.
Michelle Olsen-Giles, Client & Partnership Development Manager, The Education Network, added:
The Education Network was delighted to support this fantastic celebration of sporting achievement for the 3rd year running. As a passionate supporter of sport in education, we know the lasting impact sport can have on a child’s life development, most importantly in growing resilience, confidence and leadership skills.  As specialists in education recruitment, we realise the valuable contribution that teachers can have in supporting this growth. We have some amazing young achievers in Gateshead who are blazing a trail to future success!”
Alex Perkins of the Gateshead School Sport Partnership (GSSP), said:
 
“The Gateshead School Sport Awards is now firmly established in the Gateshead School Sport Partnership’s Calendar of Events.  We’re delighted to have this opportunity to acknowledge all of the excellent work which takes place across the borough and ensure that pupils, staff and volunteers receive the recognition they deserve.
 
“This evening represents the culmination of more than 200 events, competitions and festivals organised by the GSSP throughout the year.  To have so many schools and young people involved demonstrates the importance Gateshead Schools attach to high quality physical education and school sport provision”.
 
For more information on the Gateshead School Sport Partnership, please visit http://www.gatesheadssp.org.uk/