Tollgate Primary School gets OnBoard with the RYA

13 Dec 20

OnBoard is the national grassroots programme making it easier for youngsters to try sailing and windsurfing.

This video features a group of year five pupils sailing at the Royal Docks Sea Cadet Boat Station and reflections from their teachers on the impact that the programme has had on the school.

Emma O’Connor, Head Teacher at Tollgate, says: “When they start they are nervous, some don’t want to go, they’re not sure how to react, but at the end it’s a different story, they love it, they’re more confident, more ready to learn and they want to go again.

"It builds problem solving and resilience, so it’s definitely worked.

“We need to provide opportunities to get the children out again because they’re very used to being indoors for a long period of time. It has an impact on their confidence, health and well-being. I’d highly recommend it. It has an impact not only on their schoolwork but on all areas of their lives.”

Comments from the children included:

“I really enjoyed it and I liked to try something new.”

“It made me more confident about doing new stuff that you’re scared about in the beginning.”

“Doing something where you have to do teamwork helps you concentrate and communicate.”

Asher Robinson, RYA Sailing Development Officer, is working with the Boleyn Trust to provide pupils, teachers, and parents with the opportunities to go sailing locally. 

Asher said: “I’m loving doing this because there seems to be a lot of diversity in this Trust. As a black man I would love to see that more, so it's exciting to see hopefully where this will all end up in five years or so!”

RYA Regional Development Officer Steve Mitchell adds: “After presenting the scheme to The Boleyn Trust we hope to introduce it one school at a time, teaching the kids, teachers and parents to sail and embedding the programme within the Trust.”

Earlier in the year, a landmark study published by UCL’s Institute of Education evidenced that being part of OnBoard doesn’t just benefit young people’s physical well-being but also develops character attributes including communication, independence and determination.

“Our standardised scores went up in maths and English. We noticed not only a difference with the academic side of things but also an improvement in their behaviour, self-confidence, team building skills and their cooperation. It was measurable in all areas.” concluded Emma O’Connor. 

Run by the RYA, OnBoard is a grass roots programme which introduces sailing and windsurfing to young people aged 8 to 18, through schools, youth groups and training centres. The low cost sessions are designed to promote equal access to sailing for young people from all social and economic backgrounds, whilst encouraging their character development.

Find out more about:

RYA OnBoard

The Boleyn Trust

Tollgate Primary School