Derby pupils inspired by Olympian visit

Football and volleyball player Maria Bertelli talks to Derby High primary pupils about the keys to success

Olympic athlete Maria Bertelli recently visited Derby High School’s primary department, as part of the Sky Sports Living for Sport programme which sees athlete mentors visit schools to teach pupils about the six keys to success.

These are mental toughness, hunger to achieve, people skills, sports and life knowledge, breaking barriers and planning for success.

Maria competed for the Great Britain volleyball team at the 2012 Olympics and is also a former footballer.

Following Maria’s initial visit, eight pupils in year six took it in turns to run a club for younger pupils in the school. Maria then returned to hear the pupils present an assembly and talk to them about what they had been doing in school.

She said: “Initially I talked to the pupils about what they liked to do and what they needed to practise and when I came back in I listened to their presentation in assembly which was amazing.

“I did some more work with them around the six keys to success which can relate to school and home life and we also identified what they thought their strengths and weaknesses were.

“They have been brilliant, they’ve worked well as a team and they are really confident young people and I can see how they’ve progressed.”

Students working with Maria

Rahul Pai, 11, said: “It’s been such a great opportunity to have a positive impact on the younger children in school.”

Gabby Rudd, 11, said Maria had been a great mentor: “She helped us a lot and gave us ideas that we could use. It helped our confidence and our teamwork and we also had to do lots of planning.”

Chris Horne, year six teacher at Derby High School, said: “The year six group worked extremely hard on this project. From the moment Maria and I helped them create an overview of what they wanted to achieve, nothing stopped them from achieving their goals. “They are a real credit to themselves and the school and developed lifelong skills that will hold them in good stead for the future.”