The Good Parents’ Guide to Results Day

With results due this week and next, we are now getting to the business end of the Summer holidays for anyone who sat A Levels and GCSEs this year – even more of an undertaking as this year’s cohort were subject to the most COVID-related disruption and seemingly endless rounds of interim assessments. I thought now would be an opportune moment to share what wisdom I have gleaned as a veteran teacher and the parent of three students, one of whom is waiting for Thursday, seemingly with the sword of Damocles over her head. So here is my guide to negotiating the potentially choppy waters of the next two weeks, if you are a parent of students.

  1. Don’t post your pride online: If all goes to plan, the results are fabulous and the pathway to the next stage is straight and clear, be rightly proud. Relax! Enjoy! You have done a great job as a parent and your child is secure in the knowledge that they have smashed it. I don’t know a parent who isn’t proud of their child and who wants to broadcast that to the world and believe me, there are endless opportunities to do it in the world of social media. My advice is don’t. These are their results not yours. Tell them you’re proud of them; phone up Great Aunt Ethel or your boss or the football coach; buy balloons and fill the house with them but have a heart and look out for your friends, neighbours and strangers whose children may be disappointed. Frankly you’ll be doing little more than rubbing their noses in it by clicking share. Why do you need to post it online anyway? Switch off the echo chamber of social media and bond with your child instead. They are the ones who need to know how proud you are of them and how much you love them. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.Trust me on this one.
  2. Don’t catastrophize but recognise it matters: If things don’t quite go to plan, you haven’t failed as a parent. It is not the end of civilisation as we know it. However, the chances are your child may not recognise this….yet. It matters to them and you should respect that. Your job is to validate their feelings but ever so gently to help them see that results are just one piece and not the whole jigsaw puzzle. Sure the pieces don’t quite fit in the way they were expecting but with patience and imagination a different and potentially even more beautiful picture will emerge eventually. They may be in catastrophe mode for a while. You should not be.
  3. Coach, don’t manage: Face it. For most of your child’s life you have been the manager, making the decisions, solving the problems, picking up the pieces. If you haven’t yet let go of that control, now is certainly the time to start. Stand alongside them, offer advice, ask if you can do anything to help but let them manage things. If you’ve spent the last few years gradually taking your hand off the tiller this will be easier but it’s never too late to start. I have seen plenty of university careers crash to ground because mum or dad decided on the course or the place. No university admissions tutor or course administrator wants to talk to you. Accept that gracefully.
  4. Preparation, preparation, preparation: This is a tricky one. If you have the conversation about a Plan B, be prepared for an angry accusation that you have no faith in your child. Nevertheless, a plan B is a good idea. Just don’t share it with them until they ask. There is plenty of advice online, on university websites and on the UCAS platform. Having the phone numbers of key institutions to hand would be a good idea. Knowing how you as parents feel about an unplanned gap year means that, if you need to have the conversation, you are prepared.
  5. Put the kettle on: give them space and keep them fed and watered whilst they come to terms with what has happened. One of my sons negotiated clearing a few years ago. He didn’t want a gap year. He spent the whole day on his own in the study through choice with laptop and phone. It broke my heart. The mother in me just wanted to hug him and make it better. But I bit my tongue and provided cups of coffee, snacks and sandwiches. He emerged at supper time with a few options and asked our advice. We did more listening and reflecting back what he said than talking. We were supportive, recognised his disappointment and advised that he needed to embrace the new opportunities fully rather than living on what-iffs. All was well.
  6. Be pleased (or disappointed) for them not with them: Results which are awesome or lower than expected are not reflections on you as a parent or your child as a worthwhile member of society. If you and they recognise that they could have worked harder, you know what? Now is not the time to air your views. Be reassuring that you do not feel let down by them but recognise that they feel disappointed. Your job is to encourage them to look forward rather than back. And NEVER say ‘I told you so’!
  7. Park the helicopter but keep the harbour lights on: You know what I’m saying here. Let them steer their own ship through calm and stormy seas knowing that there is a safe harbour with you, whenever they need it.

Like you I’ll be trying to live by these maxims on Thursday and possibly enjoying coffee and cake at one of our fave watering holes, Mes Amis in Beckington.

Good luck, everyone.

Plants in the classroom

Plants affect your mood. They lower anxiety and blood pressure, decrease stress levels and increase concentration. Perfect in a classroom, then. All of us have an innate tendency to seek connections with nature. Biophillia has been big news for many years. Some GPs have started to prescribed time in nature as a cure for stress; gardening is a well-recognized therapy for PTSD and depression; just putting your hands in the soil stirs up microbes in the soil and inhaling these microbes can produce serotonin which makes you feel relaxed and happier.

I am so lucky that my current classroom overlooks a city park. In my last school, it overlooked the science technician’s greenhouse and the approach to the playing fields. The seasons change in front of my eyes through the window from one term to the next. But I do love filling my classroom with plenty of indoor plants too.

At this time of year, when daylight hours are limited, it’s good to remind yourself that Spring is on the way. A few pots of bulbs are an effective aide memoire. If you’re uber-organised, you’ll have ordered bulbs in the summer, had them delivered in the Autumn, potted them up at weekly intervals and stored them in a cool, dark until the shoots appeared, brought them out into a bright spot and watched them grow. Less efficient individuals can pick them up for a few pounds ready – planted at a supermarket or garden centre.

Whichever option you choose, once they’ve bloomed, leave them in a corner somewhere to die back and you can pop them in the ground to enjoy again for many years to come. I like the idea that pupils at all the schools I have ever taught at have been able to enjoy bulbs I’ve planted, long after I’ve moved on.

Brighten the January days with some hyacinths, daffs or crocuses, perk up your mood and, if you’re a teacher, you’ll be helping your students to concentrate too.

Thunder Moon

It’s been a full-on school year, exhilarating and exhausting in equal measure, culminating in a mini-heatwave and a thunder moon. It’s called the thunder moon because of the thunder storms brought on through the hot and humid air. And right on cue, they appeared

Change or be changed is the message of this Full Moon. Those who know me well are aware of how much store I set by the moon and its cycles. Since the Summer Solstice in June I have felt a sense of something shifting both within myself and with the outside world. The first half of the year is over. It’s a good time to look back over the last six months and consider what I have learned, what’s been lost and gained, to take stock and move forward to the second half of the year and do things better. In professional terms it’s a good time to plan for next academic year, revamp lessons, develop new ones and ditch the ones that didn’t quite work. I’m trusting my inner teacher voice and doing a fair bit of educational reading and research. It’s a time of year when after the initial exhaustion (How tired can an end of COVID-year tired be?) my enthusiasm, idealism and creativity is at a high. It’s a bit like a thunderstorm in my teacher head.

It can feel strange ditching perfectly good lesson plans but if they are no longer fit for purpose and you’ve found better ways to teach a topic, why hold on to them? It’s time-consuming to rewrite a scheme of work in the short-term but it will bring long-term gains – for my pupils and for me. it’s time to let go of the past and welcome in the future. Harvest is just around the corner – a time to start reaping what is sown, when your hard work starts to pay off. For anyone waiting for GCSE and A level results then the hard work put in last year will bear fruit. And for amateur gardeners like me there are trees full of fruit to pick and preserve. No cut flowers or veg for the first time in years. Something had to give in all the COVID school madness. I’m not getting too hung about it. There’s always next year.

A crisis, getting rid of the clutter and a bit of creative thinking

Pembrokeshire beach

I’ve been caught between the Scylla and Charybdis of too much schoolwork and all the home chores I wanted to catch up with in the first weeks of the summer holiday – achieving not very much in either sphere. No surprises there! When you’ve been working from home since late March, the lines become somewhat blurred. It’s hard to know where to focus the limited energy you have left after spending hours on Zoom. A few days away beside the sea in Pembrokeshire, walking, reading and spending time with those I love did me the world of good. Yes, the very ones I’ve been holed up at home with for three months.

I never fail to return from a holiday with some ideas for lessons, a determination to maintain a healthy work-life balance and renewed vigour with which to tackle the pile of work which is waiting for me. Usually I have an idea for a novel too – but that’ll have to wait until I’m retired.  A break allowed me to recalibrate my relationship with social media and curate my Twitter feed – an excellent idea on a regular basis. It turns out this was the start of a general declutter which there simply hadn’t been time for during the height of lockdown remote teaching. I’m already feeling more energised and creative. I hope my students are taking time out and will be able to return to school refreshed and determined to be equally creative in their approach to their studies when they return to school.

Here are my top tips.

  1. Establish some rituals. If you get up at the same time every day, check your emails or instagram feed at certain times, exercise on the same evenings every week, this will become second nature and you’ll free up time to be creative.
  2. Have fun, connect with others, especially those who have different ideas to you. Be open-minded and kind.
  3. When thinking about solutions to problems believe that there are no bad ideas. Don’t self-filter. Jot everything down as viable. Then think through the options.
  4. Watch films and read books – especially the read books bit.
  5. Exercise and do it alone, without music and your phone at least some of the time. Silence and exercise = creative energy.
  6. Practice devotion not discipline. The former has more of a positive vibe.
  7. Learn to love lists. Unloading your cluttered mind onto paper is another beneficial way to shift a creative blockage.
  8. Know when your peak work moments are. These are the times when you are at you most creative. Leave the mundane jobs for when you’re more tired.
  9. Create something every day. Practice makes perfect. Sowing a seed which will become a beautiful plant, making the best scrambled eggs on toast you can, knitting -yes, I know. Me recommending knitting – anything you’ve made is beneficial to your mental health and your creative confidence. If you can do something small then the next step is much easier.
  10. Do it now. This is about having the confidence and an open-minded approach to allow you to take risks, have a go, avoid the shackles of perfectionism.

I’m following my own advice.

 

 

Out with the old….

Change is in the air on New Year’s Eve. It’s always been a time to reflect over the past year – what’s been good and not so good – and to get to grips with how you want to move forward into the new year, or in this case the next decade. Deep winter is a good time to look closely at the structures in the garden, prune away the dead, overgrown and ugly and open up areas for new growth in the spring. With that in mind we’ve been doing a spot of pruning of the hazel at the bottom of the garden. The same is true of life in general. A spot of pruning does you good.

Twenty years ago today, on our wedding anniversary we took a trip into the Cotswolds for lunch and returned home to discover that we two would become three, some months into the new decade. Eleven years of being a couple were over and it was time to let go of old ways of being and embrace a different kind of life. In fact we became five within a couple of years. As we face the next decade we’re contemplating changes as gradually the children fly the nest and make their own way in the world.

Change is in the air.

In my classroom too it’s time for reflection about how to better inspire and support my students. The best teachers are always looking for ways to make the classroom experience better for themselves and their students. I’m focussing a lot on supporting independent learning strategies in the students I teach, letting go of resources and ways of working that have served their purpose, learning a few new tricks myself and making an impact beyond my own classroom.

Change is in the air.

Summer 2019: The joy of netball

 

The netball World Cup is over and, for our family,the netball season is over too for a few weeks. What a delight it was to head over to the village courts last Tuesday for the end of season jamboree – fun and games, parents and coaches v players challenge match and presentations. You know you’re getting old when a coach hands over the shooter’s bib and reassures you that “there’s not much running around in that role” – but the husband showed a nifty turn of speed and some ‘moves’ which warmed his daughter’s heart.

I can’t recommend highly enough the benefits of getting involved in netball for women and girls. Fresh air, exercise, and camaraderie in training and games builds confidence, strong friendships and teamwork.

The ladies who started netball in the village should be proud of what they have achieved – dozens of women and girls turning out to train and play every week on the village courts and in the local league, come rain or shine, with a smile on their faces. And it’s so great to see how the girls encourage one another to be their best selves and support each other through the tough times.

Low cost, feel – good, golden times.

 

Positivity, problem-solving and permaculture.

If you want to change the world, it starts with your next thought.

Several years ago, when I was developing an outdoor education programme for primary schools, I signed up for a permaculture design course. I endured the inevitable jokes from family and friends about knitting my own sandals out of lentils but it didn’t take me (or them) long to realise that what had started as a way of making school growing spaces sustainable and productive, in fact, was going to change my approach to more than just gardening. Permaculture design has the power to reframe how we see the world. It is truly transformational. Holistic, solutions-focused, creative and with a firm belief in the power of making connections and working cooperatively, it has much to offer the classroom teacher, school manager and student.

As a teacher I try to employ permaculture principles in everything from classroom management to curriculum design. Nevertheless in the cut and thrust of daily life in the classroom with its focus on an increasingly heavy knowledge-based curriculum, assessment objectives and target grades, it’s sometimes difficult to get beyond a ‘design’ and ‘do’ approach to solving problems. The school holidays provide the time and space for the reflection, thinking, researching and redesigning necessary to do the best job possible in the classroom.

This afternoon, while my daughter spent a few hours running around a rugby pitch training for the next Dorset and Wilts game I read Looby Macnamara’s accessible book on creative thinking, permaculture-style. Much of the advice I already knew but a gentle reminder about what’s important is vital when you’re reflecting back over the last six weeks and deciding upon your approach to the second half of term, especially with GCSE and A level classes. It’s a good read.

I have highlighted below my top ten pieces of advice from Looby, which any teacher or student might find useful. They are in no particular order but all are part of my approach to teaching and learning.

  1. Celebrate what you have done, rather than focusing on what you have left to achieve. Glass half full, in other words. A positive attitude can keep you afloat even when your workload seeks to drown you.
  2. Talk and respond to each other in nurturing, kind ways. Kindness is monumentally underestimated. Try it. You’ll be surprised not only how good it makes you feel but how much more productive it makes you and those around you.
  3. Think in terms of ‘responsibility’ not ‘blame’ and ‘contribution’ not ‘gain’.  We live in a fractured society where who is to blame and what we can gain seems king. A classroom where everyone is encouraged to take responsibility for their actions and make a contribution, where blame is not the culture and competition is second to cooperation is a happy and productive place. A microcosm for society I hope.
  4. Identify the outcomes you hope for; then actively seek ways to bring them about. Every journey starts with a single step. It’s not rocket science. Working backwards from the end point allows students to plot a course through the most demanding times in their school careers  – public examinations. Often they will visualise a worst case scenario and how they got there so that behaviours can change before it is too late.
  5. Foster beneficial working relationships; build a sense of community; align yourself with like-minded people. Think beehive or ants and what they manage to achieve together. It’s powerful.
  6. Harness the natural ebbs and flows of energy of yourself and others. There are times in the day and times in the week when I feel more or less energetic. It’s a waste of time marking at midnight, for instance. Saturday morning lessons with my students are not the times to introduce new concepts. Experience has taught me to schedule work according to energy levels. There is no point fighting this. I work with it.
  7. Take time to be still and reflective. All the better if this also involves a walk in the fresh air. Creativity can only happen when you have time to do nothing. And I mean nothing. No phones or tablets. We would all be wise to heed this mantra.
  8. Live in the present but think for the future. Does what it says on the tin. Live every day as if it is your last, but bear in mind it probably won’t be and act accordingly.
  9. Seek ways of moving from your comfort zone into your stretch zone. Solutions come through movement. If water doesn’t move, it becomes stagnant. And so do we. Be prepared to take some risks. Students and certainly parents in general seem more risk-averse than they did when I started my teaching career in the 1990s. This is not a good thing.
  10. A diversity of interests, skills and opinions brings about the best solutions. This is true for individuals and groups. Harness the power of teams of individuals with different skills. Encourage students to use skills developed in other subject areas in your own classroom. My love of gardening and cooking has taught me much about being a good parent; directing large-scale theatrical productions has improved my ability to lead whole-school initiatives and deliver them on time and under-budget.

Judging by the amount of tweets from teachers over the weekend, I’m not the only one taking time to review my classroom practice and think creatively in the down time of Half Term. It’s what school holidays are for – along with cooking, sowing a few seeds, reading and spending time chilling with my own children.

Get me out of here – learning in the open air

Explorers – then and now

My children have been outdoor explorers for years.

Teenagers now, one of them is halfway up a small mountain in the Lake District with a small band of Explorer Scouts on a quest to secure a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. His mobile phone has been unused, but I’m sure we’d have been contacted if he wasn’t safe.

The other two have occupied the first few days of the summer holiday alternating between sorting out their wardrobes, recycling an accumulation of bits of paper and string, pre-season rugby training, playing badminton in the garden and emailing their friends about swimming dates, shopping trips and holiday plans. It’s hard to stay away from screens entirely but my three are not completely bereft without laptop or phone. (We don’t have tablets or games consoles)

It seems parents who want their children to spend time having outdoor adventures in the school holidays have a champion in Chief Scout Bear Grylls. Recently he launched a summer manifesto of suggestions to get young people out and about enjoying the great outdoors. For those of us who work with children in this context it is nothing new, but Bear Grylls gets noticed so why should I complain that he’s taken up the flag that others have been waving for years? 

Not so many weeks ago,  school children were stuck in classrooms for days on end tackling examinations – SATs, GCSEs, A levels,school’s own. For weeks beforehand many pupils were undergoing booster sessions or completing practice papers on a daily basis in an effort to improve their chances of obtaining a higher level and the school’s chances of creeping up a few places in the performance league tables. PE was on the back burner for some. Yet in enlightened schools, headteachers prescribed time spent outdoors as relaxation for stressed out pupils.

Being outdoors is good for children. There have been numerous studies citing the positive mental and physical benefits of being outside looking at nature. Nature has a rejuvenating effect on the brain, boosting levels of attention and improving performance in cognitive tests. As well as outdoor PE, some schools run Forest School sessions and horticultural programmes as an alternative to traditional classroom based lessons.

Children are genetically predisposed to move, to explore the space around them, and to discover its contents. All green spaces offer physical activity and free-range learning. The richer the  environment, the richer the learning will be. Schools with extensive grounds have an advantage but for those who don’,t local parks are a great alternative.

For some time now I have been working with Eco Kids in Northampton on a lottery funded project to explore Abington Park,an urban green space with a rich history, as an outdoor classroom.

aplogo

Many outdoor learning programmes already exist which cater for children’s emotional and social needs and provide practical, problem solving opportunities in an outdoor environment and an antidote to the sedentary, screen-based activities which fill the days of a number of youngsters.

Heritage sites provide rich hands on activities for studying history and the natural environment is well catered for in environmental education centres up and down the country.

Many children do not learn effectively, exclusively within a classroom. They need alternative, hands-on learning environments to match their varied learning styles.

The packs I’ve written for Eco Kids, in addition to learning about the flora, fauna and history of Abington Park itself provide teachers, parents and youth leaders with the tools to encourage them to take learning outside and reap the rewards of this approach.

Learning in the open air builds resilience, encourages creativity, develops resourcefulness, sparks discussion, fosters team building and inventiveness.

What’s not to love?

Abington Park in its heyday
Abington Park in its heyday

 

Why a bit of drama is good for you.

Ophelia brilliantly played by teenager Astrid Bishop Picture by Ellen Day

Years of research show that involvement with the creative arts is closely linked to almost everything that parents say they want for their children: academic achievement, social and emotional development, life skills and equality of opportunity among other things. As creative arts subjects in schools are squeezed further by the demands of the National Curriculum and the current regime of being in thrall to league tables and continuous testing, one of the few places where valuable life skills can be fostered in teenagers is by involvement in a local drama group. You know the skills I mean? All together now.

  • Communication
  • Self-confidence
  • Self-evaluation
  • Teamwork
  • Creative thinking
  • Marketing
  • Working to a budget
  • Meeting deadlines

 These are the skills everybody needs beyond school. Testing does not prepare a student for the real world. Life skills are what students need and what employers want.

Last week my local drama group put on a production of Hamlet in a fourteenth century Tithe Barn in the heart of town. It played to an audience of 900, over four nights and involved a team of over 60 diverse members of the local community, some of whom were under 18. The team has been working on the project for three months. Some of the youngsters appeared on stage, but there were more in the backstage crew and I am so proud of them all and what we achieved.

So exactly which skills did we foster in the last three months. Let’s explore my observations from last week.

Project Management.  A stage production is basically a business project involving multiple teams of people working together to bring in a project on time and on budget. If you do it well, you’ll make a profit and entertain a lot of people. Choosing people with the right mix of skills to get the job done, empowering them to make things happen and supporting them whilst they do it is part and parcel of the production manager’s job. Then there’s monitoring progress, filling in any gaps, trouble shooting and ensuring deadlines are met. It’s all in a day’s work for a production manager. Having youngsters assist or shadow a production manager is one of the most valuable opportunities you can offer young people.

Learning to improvise. The great thing about being on stage is that almost anything can happen when you’re in front of an audience. Forgotten lines, missed entrances, or malfunctioning props require you to improvise while maintaining your cool. You learn to focus, think quickly and find solutions. The same is true off stage if a prop goes missing, an actor is not where they ought to be or the lighting fails.

Working hard Entire weekends can disappear in the building of a stage set. Members of a production team can be set painting at midnight and sewing into the wee small hours. They may have banged more nails into their fingers accidentally than they care to remember and have to turn up early after a production to clear away the set and tidy up the performance space rather than basking in the glory of a job well done.  In life there will be periods of time with unbelievable workloads in which there are sleepless nights, endless days and tireless work on projects that will be presented and then will be over. Sometimes the critics and the audience don’t like what you’ve presented, irrespective of how hard you’ve worked. This will happen in life too.

Working with limited budgets.This is one of the most valuable skills you can learn. Most amateur shows are produced on a shoestring budget, which forces you to be creative, imaginative and thrifty. Sounds to me like a sound recipe for life.

Dealing with people/customer service and getting along with colleagues. Working with people of all types is essential in life and in am dram. Everyone has a part to play. Some people may be difficult but it’s important to try to understand, appreciate and effectively communicate with them all. The fact that sometimes the pressure is on and people feel stressed adds extra sizzle to the melting pot.

Doing whatever needs to be done. Any amateur theatrical company cannot afford the luxury of too much specialism. Therefore, even if you act, the chances are you’ll also be called upon to do any number of other jobs. You have to learn to do it all. Lighting, engineering sound, directing, production management, PR, marketing, set design, set construction, ticket sales, budgeting, customer service, Front of House duties, make-up, costume. I can’t begin to tell you how valuable it is for youngsters to be involved in developing skills in real contexts, be that woodworking, using their IT skills to work on sound, lighting or graphic design, baking, buying supplies, sewing, selling…. This fosters a  can-do attitude in young people and that is a valuable skill to take forward into the world of work.

Making difficult choices and dealing with disappointment In the world of work difficult decisions must sometimes be made. Putting yourself up for audition and not being cast is the start of learning that sometimes things don’t go your way,however much you feel you deserve it or however hard you’ve worked. Being on a casting panel and letting people down gently is a valuable skill to learn too.

Presentation Skills. Whether you’re acting, serving interval coffee and cake or selling programmes the ability to connect with people is essential. Practice makes perfect and youngsters who belong to theatre groups get plenty of that. Taking things a stage further, the abillity to stand up confidently in front of a group of people and effectively communicate a message while  being motivating and a little entertaining is rare. To develop this, try acting for a local group.

Doing the best you can with what you’ve got. Am dram teaches you that you can sometimes create magic with no need for the latest technology or gimmicks. A passion for what you do and a sincere commitment to making it work is enough. One of the most memorable moments from Hamlet involved two men totally believing in the moment, a wooden box and a prop dagger.

The power of thankyou Everyone likes to be appreciated. Make everyone with whom you’ve worked feel appreciated and they’ll work twice as hard for you next time. Fact. The actors get the plaudits but the backstage crew are working just as hard. Recognise this and learn to be appreciative of everyone’s contribution in drama and in life.

Sporty girls are healthy girls

tackle
Girls can play rugby

picture R Martindale

 

Sport has been in the news a lot this week – for all the wrong reasons. It’s time to look at the positive.

It’s Women in Sport Week and, in the light of Sepp Blatter’s resignation announcement, I was rather amused to hear some of his more cringeworthy comments. Notably the eye rolling one about increasing the popularity of women’s football by making them wear tighter shorts and low cut tops.

Time to celebrate the postives of women’s sport, I think. Taking part in sport can promote health, wellbeing, teamwork, camaraderie and confidence among girls that can last a lifetime. Something which is much needed if today’s published research on the massive increase in people being treated for eating disorders is to be believed.

School sport has moved on from circuit training in a smelly gym on ancient equipment. Truly there is something to suit everyone on offer in most schools although the demands of the National Curriculum has sometimes forced it into the domain of extra curricular activity, rather than being integral to the curriculum across all age groups. Local swimming pools regularly run free sessions for young people in school holidays and there are hundreds of sports clubs supporting girls up and down the country field  including Bradford on Avon rugby above where girls play on a level playing field with boys (excuse the pun) until they join the girls only Bobcats team at age 13. I know girls who do everything from competitive salsa dancing and badminton to triathlon and rugby and everything in between. And the element of competition is as valid for girls as it is for boys.Being able to face victory and defeat with equal grace is a vital life skill.

Celebrate Women in Sport Week by encouraging the females in your life to get active, get competitive and set themselves up for a healthy life, in the fullest sense of the word. There are plenty of sports to choose from.

...or girls can ride horses.
…or girls can ride horses.

picture T Fussell

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