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Faye Strikes Gold at Olympic Park
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Faye Strikes Gold at Olympic Park

Sheffield Park Academy student named ‘Leader of the Year’ at national X-Elle Awards

Sheffield Park Academy’s Faye Smith was named ‘Leader of the Year’ at an event at London’s Olympic Park celebrating girls in sport.


Faye was one of a group of students from Sheffield Park Academy who travelled to the capital last week to celebrate their graduation from United Learning’s X-Elle Programme at a special awards ceremony.


Held at the Copper Box, the awards were a celebration of the girls’ achievements over the academic year as part of X-Elle - an initiative which aims to encourage girls into sport and to become leaders within their own schools.


During the event, the girls were joined by students from eight other schools which are also part of United Learning – a national group of academies and independent schools.


As part of the X-Elle programme, the Sheffield students last year took part in a workshop led by four-time Olympic skier and United Learning Sport Ambassador Chemmy Alcott, which included sessions on acting and body confidence, healthy eating and activity classes – all designed to raise the girls’ confidence and give them skills necessary for success in sport and life. The students have since been working through their action plans and using the experience to become positive role models.


At the event, the Sheffield Park students also helped United Learning launch its national Spirit of Rio festival – a four-week cultural and sporting celebration of South America and the Olympic and Paralympic values, taking place across all of United Learning’s schools and academies.


Some of the celebrations planned over the course of the festival include a virtual torch relay, Carnival-style community events across the country and themed learning based on the Games’ values and South American history and culture. As part of the festival, schools are also fundraising for the ABC Trust, a charity which supports disadvantaged children in Brazil.


Commenting on taking part in the festival, Faye said: “The biggest difference which the X-Elle Programme has made in my school is that we’ve helped over 100 other girls take part in our dance lessons.”


Shaun Dowling, Head of Sport at United Learning, said:


“We know that huge international occasions such as the Olympic and Paralympic Games can be the catalyst and inspiration to provide incredible experiences for young people in schools.  It is at times such as these that areas of school life such as music, art, dance and sport, which already contribute so much to the soul of a school, can really come into their own.”

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