Pupils shine as they win silver medals at Olympic swimming venue
PUBLISHED: 14:31 02 February 2018 | UPDATED: 14:31 02 February 2018
Staff and pupils at a Lowestoft special school are celebrating once more.
Last month Ashley School Academy Trust was recognised with an “outstanding” double – as they maintained the top rating of outstanding for its school and residential provision following its latest assessment by the education watchdog Ofsted.
And now there has been further recognition for the Ashley School in Lowestoft – after they shone in a national contest.
Competing at the London Aquatic Centre in the national U14 swimming final, Ashley School pupils won silver medals at the iconic Olympic venue on February 1.
The school had battled through county and regional qualifying events to reach what was the first ever nationwide pan-disability final staged by Panathlon – the charity that gives more than 13,000 young people with disabilities and special needs every year the chance to take part in competitive sport.
After a series of swimming races at the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic venue, Ashley School finished with 72 points, just 12 behind gold medal winners Great Arley School from Lancashire.
Eight teams took part in the national contest having qualified through their regional finals as they travelled from all corners of England to compete in the inaugural event – with schools from Middlesbrough, Gloucester, Birmingham, Blackpool and Kent all involved.
Ashley pupil Emma Louise, 12, said: “When my mum and dad see this medal they will probably start crying!”
Mia Allbright, 13, added: “Today was fun! It has been a long day but it has totally been worth it.”
Ashley School teacher Neil Godbold said just taking part was a “massive honour” for his students. He added: “Competing in Panathlon’s competitions just gets better and better every year.
“The kids get a lot of fulfilment and enjoyment out of it. We will be doing an assembly about Panathlon next week with these guys on the stage, which will boost their confidence even further.”
Panathlon chief operating officer Tony Waymouth said: “All the pupils who took part have trained very hard in the lead-up to this event and I want to congratulate them all on their efforts in what was our first ever national final for children with mixed disabilities.”