18 June 2019
Jonathan Morris is Principal of the Silverdale Primary Academy, one of 15 Sussex based schools that are part of the University of Brighton Academies Trust. Here he reflects on a special week for the school:
It’s not often that you can invite a national award-winning Ninja warrior – of TV series fame – into your school. Our pupils were excited and delighted to spend two days last week [Thu 6 and Fri 7 June] in workshops with Jonny Urszuly, the ‘Last Man Standing’ winner of Ninja Warrior UK 2017.
Jonny visited the school with another former Ninja Warrior competitor Wendy Jagger as part of our ‘Ultimate Ninja Week’. Wendy said:
“Our workshops aim to inspire and motivate children of all ages to participate in sport and to work hard to achieve their dreams.”
As Ninja thinking is at the heart of our school values Jonny and Wendy were perfect to host a number of Ninja themed obstacle courses. Jonny also presented to assembly and reminded us all:
“It’s good to try and fine to fail, but never fail to try.”
He then asked of all the pupils: “Who is brave and wants to show courage?”
Most hands shot up. Two children were chosen and, cheered on by the school, took the challenge to walk the beam like Ninja champions. Jonny then followed them by crossing the beam too, but on his hands!
For this and all else we were pleased to present Jonny and Wendy with our highest school accolade: the Ultimate Ninja sticker.
Behind all the fun was the inspiring central message that we should all have a go and aspire to be the best we can be. Across a week of ‘Ultimate Ninja’ activities children have been identifying the qualities of people they admire. These have included mums and dads, celebrities, sporting stars, scientists and creatives. For example one group of pupils, inspired by designer Coco Chanel, made fashion outfits out of newspaper.
We also found time to celebrate JK Rowling and Harry Potter by staging our own game of Quidditch (without the flying). This proved so successful we are setting up an after school Quidditch club.
I asked Jonny about his time with us: “It’s so good to see the children learning that being fit is fun. Our workshops are important as this is encouraging the next generation to make the most of opportunities. It boosts confidence and it has been great seeing the children trying things new and really going for it!”
And the positive impact has been felt by all our pupils. Chrissie, one of our independent needs assistants, noted of an autistic pupil:
“He has had a whale of a day, so many smiles, and he has kept trying when at other times he would have just given up. It’s the first time I’ve seen him stick at it and stay happy and coordinated and confident right the way through.”
Pupil Robin, 10, summed up the experience: “It has been great fun to try everything and it encouraged me to be my best.”
And it wasn’t just the children who went for it. Well done Mr Pridden for taking on the Ninja Warrior obstacle course like a pro!