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Hackney teacher named first Active School Hero

Innogen Fryer won Nike and ukactive Kids' competition to find the primary school staff member best inspiring London kids to get active

Posted by Julian Owen | July 31, 2019 | Sports & leisure

Nike and ukactive Kids have revealed the name of London’s first Active School Hero, an award recognising primary school staff across the capital “making an outstanding contribution to getting kids moving”.

Innogen Fryer, a Year 1 teacher at Hackney’s Holmleigh Primary, beat 32 other finalists to the title, thanks to “her dedication and commitment to getting kids of all abilities active”. 

The awards ceremony took place earlier this month at the Müller Anniversary Games at London Stadium, where a crowd of 40,000 had gathered to watch world class track and field athletes. 

The winner and her students enjoyed a special moment on the track as she received her award from 11-time Paralympic gold medallist and chair of ukactive, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson. Pupils were also offered a glimpse of life as a professional athlete with a session on the stadium’s warm up track. 

Fryer’s win means that, in addition to professional development training from Nike and the Youth Sport Trust, the school will also receive a visit from elite Nike athletes to further inspire the students. 

In a big city, it’s vital to engage children early and help them channel their energy into something positive in their community

“I’m proud to be London’s first Active School Hero,” said Fryer, who organises events and school clubs to keep children active before, during and after school. “I believe physical activity is hugely important in helping children of all abilities to achieve their potential. Through Active School Hero, I realised how much my hard work was appreciated by the rest of my school and how much I had encouraged others to get active. This has been an inspirational experience for the whole school, and I look forward to providing the kids at Holmleigh with more opportunities to be active.” 

Women’s marathon record holder, Paula Radcliffe, was also in attendance at London Stadium: “We need to champion those who are inspiring positive change in our communities by encouraging the next generation to become more active,” she said. “Beyond making children healthier, there’s clear evidence that physical activity positively impacts kids’ happiness, confidence and success at school.” 

Research shows that active children are healthier, happier, perform better at school and have improved social skills. Yet more than a third of children and young people across London are active for fewer than 30 minutes a day, less than half the minimum amount of daily activity recommended by the World Health Organisation. 

“In a big city, it’s vital to engage children early and help them channel their energy into something positive in their community,” added Radcliffe. “Great coaches play a key role in achieving this. I applaud Innogen’s dedication and hard work, inspiring our youngest to get moving and make sport a daily habit.” 

“At a time when kids are moving less than ever, it’s never been more important that we have coaches who can tap into the potential of activity,” said Dan Burrows, senior director, social and community impact EMEA at Nike. “With Innogen and the other borough winners, we have found inspirational heroes in schools across London, helping kids fall in love with physical activity. Whether it’s promoting active travel to school, organising dance clubs and yoga sessions, or getting girls into sports like football, these heroes work hard to ensure our kids have brighter futures.” 

For more information on the Active School Hero awards, please visit:




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