A PROGRAMME that aims to increase participation in sport across school, especially for girls, has been launched by The Bourne Academy.

The Bournemouth school launched their first Girls Active group in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust earlier this year.

Year 8 students were selected for the GALS (Girls Active Leaders Squad) group, as this is the age range where physical activity tends to decrease in girls.

The programme has received a great response from students, with the 'GALS' creating an afterschool club, where they can partake in the sports they enjoy, and as a result are more motivated to get involved.

Principal of The Bourne Academy, Mark Avoth, said: "We are so proud of the Girls Active Leaders Squad and the initiative, they have shown great enthusiasm for this Youth Sport Trust project, particularly when promoting Physical Activity across the Academy.

"They have established a successful afterschool ACE sports club within their current Year group bubble and the GALS have proven to be a real inspiration to all our students."

As the programme was launched during lockdown, it started out online with a healthy selfies drive, where staff and students shared photos of themselves taking part in sport activities.

These were displayed on a wall in the sports department when students were allowed back on site.

Members of the group have also directed their efforts towards creating their own brand and logo as well as establishing the after-school sports club, with the students proving to be "excellent" role models for school sport.

The initiative aims to empower girls to take part in and enjoy sport, and this has been demonstrated by the enthusiasm shown by members of the GAL group at the school.

The GALS will be preparing a presentation to recruit year 7 students to the group with a view to the GALS increasing year on year, upholding the aims to increase participation in physical activity in girls.