School sport pilot project aims to develop young talent


More than thirty youngsters from three schools on Teesside have been chosen to take part in a new pilot project.

The ‘TASS Potential’ programme has been created by TASS with the aim to recognise and develop talent in schools.

In this new project, the Scheme is partnering with Teesside University to offer a meaningful introduction to the support services that are part of a TASS Award through bespoke workshops for students aged 11 to 16.

The local schools with pupils who will be benefiting from the collaboration are Red House School, MacMillan Academy and Northfield School. All selected athletes have been identified as showing potential in Olympic or Paralympic sports that are not traditionally supported within the schools’ sport programmes.

The first workshop took place yesterday and over the next six months the youngsters will attend a further five sessions focusing on lifestyle, nutrition, maintaining a healthy body, goal setting, mental preparation and athlete development, and strength and conditioning.

The workshops are designed to offer a taster of the Scheme’s support services, with practical exercises and activities being delivered by qualified practitioners from the University.

TASS hopes that the partnership will help to educate the school children about how to balance life as a student-athlete and prepare them for a dual career.

Matthew Wright, Sports Development Officer (Elite Sport) at Teesside University, said:

“We are really excited about this new collaboration with TASS and the opportunity to develop and pilot a scheme that has the potential to positively influence the development of the talented athletes of the future.

“It has also provided several opportunities for our students to engage in a real-life project and gain valuable supervised experience.

“We hope the scheme will help develop the young athletes’, parents’ and schools’ confidence to nurture young people with dual academic and athletic aspirations.”

Kirsty O’Connor, TASS Institutions Lead, added: “We’re delighted to have teamed up with Teesside University on this new pilot and we hope to make a real difference to the students’ development in their sporting careers.

“We also hope this project will pave the way for a school support structure to enable talented athletes to pursue a dual career pathway.”