SCHOOL SPORT: Catherine Wayte's golden year
THE PHRASE ‘Golden Generation’ is overused in sports, usually it describes a talented group of players of which much is expected.
While it may also be a stretch to describe the recent leavers of Catherine Wayte Primary School as a generation, they most certainly are golden.
This year their boys football team have beaten all-comers in Swindon and Wiltshire and almost the South West, while the girls lost only once in their series of friendlies.
The tag rugby team were joint winners in the Wiltshire schools tournament which meant they qualified for the regional Tag2Twickenham tournament, where performed strongly and the netball side was also victorious in the North Swindon Schools League.
The school also boasts individual success stories, with one of their pupils in the South West ice hockey academy and one in the Swindon Town youth set-up.
Catherine Wayte was awarded a Sainsbury’s School Games Silver Mark, the best it could have achieved due to its size, because of its success at getting pupils into its competitive sports teams and sports clubs outside school.
Jim Brimely, a part-time teacher and coach of the tag rugby team, says the competitive achievements Catherine Wayte has attained in the last school year are unprecedented.
“The staff at the school are really committed to promoting the children in all different aspects, and sport is one of them,” he said.
“It has been the best year ever at Catherine Wayte for sports, all of the years I have been teaching I have never known such success over several sports.
“Though the reward is not always seeing them win but seeing their faces as they’re enjoying their sport and reaching their potential.
“Obviously to achieve the success they’ve had is fantastic but they need to know it’s not all about winning, the teamwork and ethic and being part of a team is just as important.
“From this year’s perspective we’ll never come anywhere close to equalling it, but as long the children enjoy doing what they’re doing then that’s fine.”
Though the school has been victorious in most sports in the last year the achievements of Catherine Wayte’s year six footballers has been remarkable.
They won the Swindon league and cup, progressing to the Wiltshire tournament, which they also won.
They then travelled to Bristol to play in the South West tournament where only a penalty defeat stopped them progressing to the final.
Kevin Shammas, who has been running the football team, brought the players together in year five due to their individual talents and has seen them blossom this year.
“Obviously the boys worked very hard this year,” Shammas said. “Last year we had them playing as a year five team, so they had a year of playing together.
“Across the two years they’ve got to know each other, there’s a core of eight or nine of them who work on instinct.
“Because the boys were easy to select as year fives we didn’t necessarily have a conscious plan to bring them together.
“We might look at continuing doing that, we’ve done that with some of the year fives this year, to get them working as a team. The experience those players got will really help.
“I’m very proud, it’s incredible, it’s easily the best we’ve done, we’ve been runners-up twice before in our 12-year history.
“To win every game apart from one is amazing, there were plenty of close games, even when they were behind.
“I’m really proud of their attitude and how they represented the school.
“There’s a couple of them that could go on to have big futures, one has signed with Town, while that doesn’t guarantee anything I’m sure they’ll be good players in the area in the future.”
Catherine Wayte was graded as outstanding by Ofsted this year and Brimely thinks the success in sports at the school is undoubtedly a factor in that.
While he doubts whether future teams will be able to attain the same levels in competition at the same time he does not think the school’s winning year was a fluke.
“The parents and governors are really committed, basically we try and get as many of them helping as possible.
“We have connections with local clubs, like with Royal Wootton Bassett. Lots of the children Catherine Wayte play in their mini rugby teams,” Brimely added.
“We have girls playing for Swindon Spitfires and lots of the lads playing in the local youth football teams.
“I see no reason why it can’t or it won’t continue.
“Lots of factors need to remain the same, primarily the level of commitment from the children and adults needs to remain the same but there’s no reason why it can’t.
“Mrs Willett, Abby Willett deserves a huge amount of credit. She coordinates all the sports and it’s down to her that a lot happens.”
Like Brimely, Shammas also believes the school has the potential to continue to produce excellent sports teams.
“I think we have enough of the right people in now, we should be able benefit from a focus on individual sports in their own right, we have enough support from adults to keep that going in the future,” Shammas said.
It appears after a year of triumph Catherine Wayte is not ready to wave goodbye to sporting success.