School focus: Phillimore Community Primary School
Phillimore Community Primary School is a centre of excellence for physical education with a long list of successful sporting achievements already underneath its belt.
With awards such as the Silver Modeshift Stars accreditation in recognition of their work to support sustainable and active forms of travel and having achieved gold in the School Games, the school is helping raise the next generation of Olympic athletes.
Based in Darnall, it is also one of only 45 schools in the UK to have been awarded Get Set beacon status by the British Olympic and Paralympic Association for its work in inspiring young people and their community to get active.
Despite this, Phillimore Community Primary still does not have the use of a playing field even though it is just a stone’s throw away from one.
For over four years it has been in talks with Sheffield Council to take over the field, which borders the school’s rear gates, in hopes of using the area to benefit the children and help them excel even further in sport and physical education.
In recent years the space has been hotspot for anti-social behaviour and is regularly used by dog walkers.
The aim is to install permanent fence in order to safeguard the children and provide an area for community sports, however as the land is owned by a charitable trust this has caused
Gillian Briggs, headteacher of Phillimore Community Primary School, said: “The school is surrounded by green however we do not have a blade of grass to our name.
“In previous years we have spent a lot of money hiring out the English Institute of Sport, which is only down the road, for our sports day.
“I’ve been here for four years and even before I started the school has been working with the council to try and take over the field.
“Even if we just rent it, we want to invest in making it better and safe. We would even pay to have it cut and for fencing so it benefits the school and also the community.
“At the moment we just can’t use it, we would have to clear the field every morning and risk assess it but we can’t do that.”
This year, for the first time in several years, Phillimore Community Primary has been able to host a sports day in the adjacent field after gaining a one-day licence from Sheffield Council.
With the support and help of neighbouring engineering solutions company NPrime, the children were able to enjoy a range of activities, with everything from running and hopping to the traditional sack race and egg and spoon race.
Ciaran O’Shea, school governor and CEO of NPrime Ltd, said: “Every school should have a green area – everyone deserves an opportunity. All it is is giving them a little green space.
“A school which thrives in sport like Phillmore Community Primary is one we need to support in any way we can.
“We paid for the lines for the running tracks and our staff came into work an hour and a half early so they could help put the temporary fencing up and make sure the area was clean and litter free. They’ll all be staying late as well to ensure the fences are taken down.”
“We’re fortunate enough to share a boundary but I think every business should adopt a school.”
Speaking at the sports day, Mrs Briggs added: “It is a special event and we couldn’t have done it without the support of NPrime. The weather could be better, but we’re outside – not even the rain will stop us.
“We have been out on a litter pick this morning making sure the field is clear and safe so we can show the community exactly what it means to us.
“We’ve also encouraged parents to come along, follow their children round, support and cheer them on.
Former sports minister and Project Lead for Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, Richard Caborn, visited the school on their sport’s day and pledged to help them secure the area for future use.
Mr Caborn said: “Sports days like this are very important. We can see the ethusiasm but actually it brings the community together.
“I think for the area we are talking about, which is next to the Olympic Legacy Park, this is one of the most deprived areas in Sheffield so physical activity and a community approach to this is very important indeed.
“As far as this school is concerned, here we are on a piece of land that really ought to be with the school because it could use it so effectively.
“Therefore I’ve given a promise to try and make sure that this happens over the next period so that these young people can have access to this field and they can do their physical activity in a regular and systematic way.”
Councillor Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture, Parks and Leisure, said: “Phillimore Park is held on charitable trust and the Council has a responsibility to ensure that the aims of the trust are met.
“We’re looking at all options and will work with the community to find the best way forward.”