Pioneering Bradford Academy Appoints First Secondary School Health Mentor

Dixons Allerton Academy in Bradford, West Yorkshire, has taken a national lead by signing up to Project HERO and appointing the first Health Mentor to work in a secondary school in the UK.

Brian Padden is the Evolve Health Mentor who will work at the school to deliver a range of activities that utilise physical engagement and active learning to inspire pupils to adopt a more active and healthy lifestyle.  Although HERO was initially aimed at primary schools it has become clear that secondary schools feel the Health Mentor role is equally valuable with older pupils.
Luke Sparkes, former Deputy Head at the Dixons Allerton Academy (now Head of the new Dixons Trinity Free school in Bradford) was the man who initiated this ground breaking move to bring HERO into secondary schools:
“When I saw the HERO presentation I saw at once that although HERO is aimed quite rightly at primary schools, I knew it could make a significant difference in secondary schools as well. I worked with Evolve director Graham Morgan and my colleague Neil Miley and we have devised a really innovative programme for the school. I hope to see HERO taken up by many other secondary schools in the future.”
The package of support for Dixons Allerton Academy includes working with disengaged pupils on being more active, mentoring individual pupils, working alongside teachers to improve English language skills and operating specific PE and sports activities.
Evolve director Graham Morgan says:
“If Luke had not been so persuasive of the need for secondary school Health Mentors we would have remained a purely primary school intervention. Luke explained that the same problems facing primary pupils carry over into secondary schools and so we have created a new secondary role. We are very keen to see the impact that Brian will make at Dixons.”
Brian Padden is one of the most experienced Health Mentors working in Yorkshire and will deliver a full range of Activity Leadership, PE and mentoring activities to Year 7 and 8 pupils. Brian said “I am looking forward to this exciting challenge. Although I have been delivering HERO into primary schools so far I have a lot of experience working with the secondary age group in various sporting situations.”
It is anticipated that Brian and other Health Mentors will be involved in the school’s Transition holiday course activities in the summer holidays with support from Evolve.