Martial arts helping children with Special Educational Needs thanks to £20k of funding

Friday 16 November 2018

Children in Jersey with Special Educational Needs (SEN) will benefit from extra opportunities to participate in sport and get active, thanks to £20,000 of funding from the Sir James Knott Trust.

The sponsorship means Jersey Sport can provide a specific “Support for Physical Learning” coach in the island, focussing on students who require additional provision for their social, emotional and physical wellbeing.

The sessions are delivered through the principles of martial arts with relaxation techniques, breathing and behaviour management all taught. Some children will benefit from one-to-one coaching while others will take part in small groups, with the sessions taking place during and after school.

“This kind of project can have a hugely positive effect on the students,” said Jersey Sport General Manager David Kennedy. ‘’In a short space of time we have seen a significant impact on students’ confidence, self-esteem, attendance, and in some cases academic attainment. It is not only the students who have benefitted as we regularly receive amazing feedback from parents as well. We’re thankful to the Sir James Knott Trust for its generosity and for helping us to make this happen.”

Former British Kickboxing champion Mick McCue (pictured) will be taking on the role officially, having already carried out some aspects of the work delivering about 25 sessions a week as part of a wider P.E. and Community Coach role.

“Sport has the power to change lives and it’s so rewarding to see the impact of these sessions in local schools,” said Mr McCue. “Whether the child is autistic, maybe has anger issues or is simply struggling to concentrate in class, martial arts can help them express themselves, enjoy themselves and give them renewed focus on their school work when they return to the classroom.”

School teachers and agencies such as the police, children’s services and Brighter Futures will be able to recommend children for the sessions.

Nicola Eastham, head of student support at Le Rocquier School, added: “We have heard students say things such as ‘Thursday is my best day in school because I have my session with Mick’. Not only does he provide a physical activity for the students he is also becoming a role model and mentor to some of our boys.”

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