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Manchester High School for Girls

Year 10 pupils handed award for handball initiative

Three of Manchester High's Year 10 pupils, Ella Hampson, Hawa Dar and Olivia Hall, scooped the prize for 'Best Sporting Initiative 2019' at the UKFast Community and Education Awards on 16th July.

Year 10 pupils, Ella Hampson and Hawa Dar, with the certificate for Best Sporting Initiative

The award recognised the pivotal role the girls had played in encouraging pupils who may avoid participation in sport to get active by bringing handball to Manchester High.

Earlier this year, Ella, Hawa and Olivia represented the School on the Local Organising Committee for the Greater Manchester School Games. The games aim to keep competitive sport at the heart of schools and to provide more young people with the opportunity to compete and achieve their personal best.

Following their involvement with the School Games, the three pupils began to discuss drop-off rates in girls' participation in PE and sport across the UK. They organised a school-wide survey about activities that might tempt girls to get their sports kit on more often.

As a direct result of their engagement, during term-time, MHSG now operates a badminton and table tennis club  every Thursday morning at 8am, however,  the introduction of a handball club has been a runaway success.

Every week over 40 girls, of different sporting abilities and from different year groups, come together to learn handball skills and play matches. From just a lunchtime club, Manchester High has put together an official Handball Team that competes in the Handball League. In order to cater for demand, the School has employed a dedicated Handball coach and is working closely with Trafford Handball Club.

Mrs Newman, Director of Sport, commented: "Ella, Hawa and Olivia certainly identified a gap in the market. They are encouraging girls throughout the School to embrace the physical, mental, social and emotional benefits of sport. It doesn't matter how skilled you are, their key message is to just get your kit on and get involved.  

"Handball combines throwing skills with team play and is excellent for developing coordination. It's now part of the GCSE syllabus and as a school we're seeing girls who would previously never have considered taking PE at this level viewing it as a real option."

When asked about the future of the handball initiative Ella commented: "It's an incredibly popular sport across Europe so our next goal is to persuade the PE staff that we should get on a plane and play some matches in other countries!"