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RYA OnBoard: Life lessons on the water

by Susie Nation-Grainger 9 Dec 2020 15:50 GMT
OnBoard Tollgate Primary © RYA

Tollgate Primary school in Newham, East London, is on course to inspire the next generation of sailors through RYA OnBoard, the national grassroots programme making it more accessible for youngsters to try sailing and windsurfing.

This video features a group of year five pupils sailing at the Royal Docks Sea Cadet Boat Station and reflections from their teachers on the impact that the programme has had on the school.

Emma O'Connor, Headteacher at Tollgate, says: "Some of the kids have never been on a boat even though they live near the docks. When they start they are nervous, some don't want to go and they're not sure how to react but in the end it's a different story. They love it, they are more confident, more ready to learn and they want to go again."

Tollgate Primary School is one of seven schools within the Boleyn Trust. Asher Robinson, RYA Sailing Development Officer, is working with the Trust to provide pupils, teachers, and parents with the opportunities to go sailing locally.

Asher said: "I'm loving doing this because there seems to be a lot of diversity in this Trust. As a black man I would love to see that more, so it's exciting to see hopefully where this will all end up in five years or so!"

Earlier in the year, a landmark study published by UCL's Institute of Education evidenced that being part of OnBoard doesn't just benefit young people's physical well-being, but it also develops character attributes including communication, independence, and determination.

"Our standardised scores went up in maths and English. We noticed not only a difference with the academic side of things but also an improvement in their behaviour, self-confidence, team building skills and their cooperation. It was measurable in all areas." concluded Emma O'Connor.

Read the full story in the Winter edition of the RYA Magazine.

Back in September, the Department for Education (DfE) published revised activity lists for GCSE, AS and A-level PE. The new activities, including sailing and windsurfing, are now able to be taught and will be assessed in 2021 for AS-level and 2022 for GCSE and A-level.

Run by the RYA, OnBoard is a grass roots programme which introduces sailing and windsurfing to young people aged 8 to 18, through schools, youth groups and training centres.

The low cost sessions are designed to promote equal access to sailing for young people from all social and economic backgrounds, whilst encouraging their character development.

Since 2005, OnBoard has introduced more than 900,000 children to sailing and windsurfing in the UK, converting some 70,000 of them into regular participants.

For more information about how to get involved in sailing visit rya.org.uk/go/onboard.

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