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Impact27th July 2023

Sporting excellence: Ark Globe

In July 2023, Ark Globe’s Junior Boys Athletics Team came second in the country in the English Schools National Athletics finals.

The total number of points that Globe achieved makes the school’s performance the best by an inner London school in the competition’s 42-year history. The success of the team is the result of three years of dedication to drive excellence in PE.

I always knew there was talent in our school. We achieved this outcome despite our school site not having a single blade of natural grass. Every student in our winning team practised using the school’s equipment and free coaching, with not one attending an out of school club.

Matt Jones OBE Executive Principal, Ark Globe Academy

Globe is based in inner-city London, with no playing fields. Executive Principal Matt Jones OBE knew what sports could achieve for young people when he joined the school in 2012. He recruited PE staff from a successful, high-performing state school, aiming to replicate their approach and standards at Globe. The Director of Sport, James Gardner, brought a relentless can-do attitude.  

It would be very easy here to not do a lot because there’s not a blade of grass. The playground is one of the main teaching spaces and we have one indoor space, that we lose for 10 weeks a year to exams. 

James Gardner Director of Sport, Ark Globe Academy

Using a combination of philanthropic donations and in-kind gifts, the school is now equipped with team kits and spikes, equipment and facilities for athletics like a sand pit and indoor hammers, paddle tennis sets and nearly 30 table tennis tables. All of the Junior Boys Athletics Team practiced using this equipment, with not one attending an out of school club.

We have a 200m track in the playground, but the track is normally 400m so everything we do in a day we double it!

With the javelin, we have rubbers at the end so they can land on the concrete. I think the school has developed our facilities a lot considering how it was before.

Bvunzai, 1500m runner and javelin thrower Ark Globe Academy

Sports clubs in basketball, athletics, table tennis and football are now available before, during and after school. Around 40 students arrive at 7.30 in the morning to practice and on some evenings there are more than 100 students in the playground taking part in clubs.

Staying on at school to play sports is a safe space for students to build relationships, stay fit and prepare to compete. The clubs have also helped James discover students’ talent.

In our first year, our boys won the Junior NBA London basketball, so we were the best Year 7 boys in London. But if we hadn’t offered the basketball club no one would have known.

James Gardner Director of Sport, Ark Globe Academy

The Ark Championships launched in 2022, bringing Ark’s 39 schools together to compete in a range of sports. It’s led by the Network Lead for PE, Sport and Play, Tom Morrish, also a Sports Lead at Globe – who now drives standards across Ark’s network.

Since September, more than 2,500 students have competed in 15 network-wide events.

The impact of the competitions for schools has been so much more than winning. I want to create memories for our students. I guarantee our Junior Boys Team will remember their win at the Stone X Stadium (and the incredible thunderstorm!) when they’re 70. But our duty is not just to extract elite performance, it’s to show everyone that there is some sort of physical activity that they can do that will improve their health – physically, socially and mentally.

Tom Morrish Network Lead for PE, Sport and Play

Globe is showing what our schools can achieve in a short space of time and, by scaling up its approach across Ark’s network, is paving the way for more students to realise their talent.