On Saturday, Nike and ukactive Kids revealed London’s first Active School Hero, Innogen Fryer, Year 1 Teacher at Holmleigh Primary School in Hackney. The awards ceremony took place at the Müller Anniversary Games at London Stadium, a professional athletics event attracting the biggest and best track and field stars. Active School Hero recognises primary school staff across Greater London making an outstanding contribution to getting kids moving.
Fryer, one of 33 finalists, won the award due to her dedication and commitment to getting kids of all abilities active. Working closely with her students, sporting organisations and parents, Fryer promotes physical activity across the whole school community. To get children moving before, during and after school, she organises events and school clubs to get them active throughout the day. In her role as School Travel Plan Champion, Fryer also helped Holmleigh achieve Gold Member status as part of TFL’s STARS accreditation scheme.
London’s Active School Hero Innogen Fryer said, “I’m proud to be London’s first Active School Hero. I believe physical activity is hugely important in helping children of all abilities to achieve their potential. Through Active School Hero, I realised how much my hard work was appreciated by the rest of my school and how much I had encouraged others to get active. This has been an inspirational experience for the whole school and I look forward to providing the kids at Holmleigh with more opportunities to be active.”
To celebrate the first Active School Hero, Nike and ukactive created a short film about Fryer and her work, which was screened during the awards ceremony. Fryer and students from Holmleigh also enjoyed a special moment on the track as she received her award from British Paralympic champion Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson. Ahead of this moment, Fryer’s pupils were given a glimpse of life as a professional athlete with a session on the stadium’s warm up track. In addition to professional development training from Nike and Youth Sport Trust, Fryer and the school will also receive a visit from elite Nike athletes to further inspire the students to be active.
Paula Radcliffe, who attended the ceremony, congratulated Fryer on her success: “We need to champion those who are inspiring positive change in our communities by encouraging the next generation to become more active. Beyond making children healthier, there’s clear evidence that physical activity positively impacts kids’ happiness, confidence and success at school.”
“In a big city, it’s vital to engage children early and help them channel their energy into something positive in their community. Great coaches play a key role in achieving this. I applaud Innogen’s dedication and hard work, inspiring our youngest to get moving and make sport a daily habit.”
Active School Hero celebrates and supports inspirational primary school staff working hard to improve activity levels in London. Research shows that active children are healthier, happier and more successful. They perform better at school and have improved social skills. But more than a third of children and young people across London are active for fewer than 30 minutes a day – that’s less than half the minimum amount of daily activity recommended by the World Health Organisation.
Active School Hero is part of Nike’s wider commitment to getting more young Londoners moving. Nike currently works with a range of partners across the city to inspire young people to be more active. In addition to the Active School Hero award, Nike has committed to a multi-year partnership with London Youth Games, the largest youth sporting event in Europe. Through the partnership, Nike will help to power up the capabilities of the London Youth Games with a goal to increase long-term participation in the city. By 2022, the goal is to serve more than 200,000 young people through the programme each year.
Dan Burrows, Senior Director, Social and Community Impact EMEA at Nike, said: “Kids aren’t meant to sit still, they’re made to play. At a time when kids are moving less than ever, it’s never been more important that we have coaches who can tap into the potential of activity: not only the joy of play, but also the proven benefits such as better attention, behaviour and academic performance that come with being active. With Innogen and the other borough winners, we have found inspirational heroes in schools across London, helping kids fall in love with physical activity. Whether it’s promoting active travel to school, organising dance clubs and yoga sessions, or getting girls into sports like football, these heroes work hard to ensure our kids have brighter futures.”
Jack Shakespeare, Director of Children, Young People and Families at ukactive, said: “The role of all primary school staff in getting kids active is largely undervalued. Innogen and our other local heroes are working day-in, day-out to introduce physical activity and play into the school day. They not only teach, they motivate, empower and inspire kids to move in the right direction and achieve great things. Active School Hero shines a spotlight on the amazing work these individuals do and shares their stories to inspire others.”