Emrys ap Iwan has become the first school in North Wales to offer classes in archery.
Learners are on target to gain Duke of Edinburgh awards with their bow and arrow skills. The after-school classes were started by two teachers after they went on an official instructors’ course - and they are hoping to eventually offer it as part of a GCSE in physical education.
Headteacher Lee Cummins said: “This class has proved popular with the Year 11 students who are completing their Duke of Edinburgh courses and we are looking at extending it as an after-school activity to learners of other ages. “It’s important that we continue to offer a wide range of sports that encourage young people to be active and to aim to achieve their best.”
Teachers Jon Blackford and Danni Whittingham run the classes in their own time for around 20 learners aged 15 and 16 in the leisure centre alongside the school. “I’ve always been interested in archery and we got the chance to go on an archery leadership course,” explained Mr Blackford. “We were successful in bidding for cash from the school budget to buy the equipment we needed. “Initially it is to provide one of the strands for the Duke of Edinburgh award, but I would like to one day make it part of the GCSE course in PE.”
Emily already does modern dance and ballet but wanted to add to her sports skills while completing her Duke of Edinburgh Bronze level. “Archery is something that’s completely different to anything I’ve tried before, but you get a real thrill when you manage to hit the target where you want,” said Emily, who is aiming for a career in dance. “I have already helped out with a multi-sport summer school for children from nearby primary schools for my DofE award volunteering section, plus we went on an expedition in the Clwydian Range, which was hard work. “The archery will enable me to complete the skills section, while my dance covers the physical strand.”
Another regular at the archery after-school class is Ryan, a keen footballer and Llandudno Academy striker. “You need totally different skills to do this, it’s not easy,” said Ryan who also runs five-a-side clubs for younger learners on the schools astro-turf pitch at lunch-times.