Sports Personality of the Year: Plymouth College proud of sporting stars

The Herald, 27.01.16, Plymouth College is delighted once again to sponsor The Herald Sports Personality Of The Year Awards as they embrace the spectrum of sport in the city – from community teams, to individuals giving up time for others, and from young people just starting out, to trail-blazers putting Plymouth on the world map. HMC member Jonathan Standen, headmaster of leading independent Plymouth College is quoted.

Headmaster Jonathan Standen is proud of the college's sporting success. He said: "Current and former students such as Ruta Meilutyte, Tom Fannon, Georgina Mitchell, Ben Proud and Henry Slade are fantastic role models and proof that dreams, even ones as big as Olympic medals and World Cups, are achievable."

While the school is rightly proud of its remarkable sporting achievements, it recognises success comes in many different forms which is why Plymouth College has created an inclusive environment in which every student is encouraged to thrive.

Mr Standen said: "If you start singing in assembly and nobody joins in, it is very difficult to keep the momentum going and it would be easy to give up. "However, if everyone joins in it feels more comfortable, acceptable and you gain confidence. This is how success works at Plymouth College, everyone wants to be part of it.

"Our ethos is to embrace individual talents, whatever they might be, and to encourage success and instil confidence across a broad front, whether it's business students presenting to top industry leaders on their way to winning a national competition, or a pupil in kindergarten standing up in front of an audience for the first time and delivering a line in the infant show.

"Everything we do is focussed on giving our pupils a head start in life to fly further and faster than their peers, from a broad and flexible curriculum to an enriching activities programme of more than 70 clubs and activities each year. We encourage participation from those wanting to test the water with something new through to nurturing those at the top of their game.

With athletes training between 16 and 27 hours a week, coaches, academic and pastoral staff work together to build bespoke, flexible academic timetables that work around competition schedules. Mentoring, nutrition, work-life balance, injury prevention and other health and wellbeing issues are all part of a comprehensive mix that never forgets that first and foremost these young athletes are still students at school.

Tom Fannon, 17, who is shortlisted for the Young Sports Personality of the Year Award, is a double British swimming champion, British record breaker and won a medal for Great Britain in the inaugural European Games last year. Tom lives in Plymouth College's specialist boarding house for performance swimmers.

"To be shortlisted for such a prestigious award is awesome and I am truly honoured," said Tom. "Since I've been part of the swimming programme my performance has improved massively. The highlight has to be representing Great Britain and winning a medal in the European Games.

"The dedication and guidance from Jon Rudd and the coaching team has obviously played a big part in what I have achieved, but it is also down to how things work at Plymouth College, which makes fitting in both studying and training so much easier.

"f I need extra help with my school work because I've been away at a competition, the teachers are always ready to help; the boarding staff make sure you are up in the mornings so you don't miss training and there is always someone to talk to. One of the best things is having all your meals cooked for you, which are always prepared with us athletes in mind to make sure we have enough fuel to get through training and school!

"It is a great environment to be in and I am surrounded by like-minded people to keep me motivated. The advice from fellow swimmers such as Ben Proud, who does the same stroke as me, has given me the confidence to go out and do the best that I can. I know I won't always win but that won't stop me from giving it my best shot every time."

Read more © The Herald