AN academy in Northwich encouraging more pupils to be active has received a prestigious award from the government.

Rudheath Senior Academy were awarded bronze in the government’s School Games Mark scheme after staff went the extra mile to introduce students to a variety of different sports.

Launched in 2012, the scheme aims to recognise schools who are committed to the development of competition, both on the premises and in the community.

And the Middlewich Road academy say they are delighted that pupils can reap the mental and physical benefits of exercise.

Richard Russell, head of PE at Rudheath Senior Academy, said: “The reason we have achieved Bronze Mark this year is due to every pupil having two hours of curriculum PE on their timetable.

“This is not the case in many secondary schools and is in addition to the extensive and inclusive extra-curricular sporting calendar that we offer.

“We believe it is important to develop the ‘whole’ child, and sport recognises the physical, mental and social benefits of being active.”

Plans are also in place to further expand sporting provision at the school, which joined North West Academies Trust (NWAT) in November.

Mr Russell added: “This year we are focused on ‘fitness comes first’, and each pupil’s fitness will be monitored to tailor a bespoke ‘Personal Challenge Target’.

“They’ve really bought into it and the results are promising.

“In addition to this, the plan is ‘more students, more active, more often’, so this means more lunchtime and afterschool clubs and more opportunities to be physically, mentally and socially active.

“This, alongside investment in new equipment and adding clubs such as boxing and boxercise, will further motivate pupils to try something new.”

Tom Freeman, PE teacher at Delamere Academy, is currently lending support to Rudheath Academy one day a week to further bolster sporting provision.

He guided Delamere to Platinum status in the School Games Mark scheme.

Former rugby union international, Phil Greening, is sports ambassador for NWAT schools and has also been working with the school.

“It is great to work with a trust that recognises the importance of being active and works hard to ensure all children get to compete some form of sport,” said Phil.

“The extra opportunities help them to grow in confidence, which improves all aspects of school life.”