Teaching and support staff from across six Dorset schools came together for a special conference at AFC Bournemouth to learn from sport how ‘together, anything is possible’.
Kicking off the event was the Cherries manager Eddie Howe, who told them of the inspirational story which saw Bournemouth climb from lower divisions to now being a top 10 Premier League side.
Then it was the turn of the main guest speaker – Paralympian and GB wheelchair rugby star Aaron Phipps.
Aaron was just 15 when he contracted Meningitis, which saw most of his fingers and both legs amputated to save his life.
He did not let his disabilities get in the way of his love of sport and competed in the London Marathon and took up wheelchair rugby.
As part of the Wheelchair Rugby team for Great Britain in the London 2012 Paralympic games, Aaron scored more than half of the overall points for the team.
And in 2016 Aaron set himself the ultimate challenge of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro – the highest mountain in Africa – to raise money for Meningitis Research Foundation. It was the first time a disabled British person had climbed Kilimanjaro without assistance.
Justine Horn, CEO of Heath Academy Trust, said: “We were honoured to hold our conference at AFC Bournemouth and hear truly inspirational stories from the world of sport.
“We are committed to developing outstanding teaching and learning opportunities for all within high quality learning experiences for staff and, of course, our pupils.
“Our guest speakers and the venue inspired everyone who was at the conference to believe that together, anything is possible.”
Aaron Phipps added: “It was a privilege to speak to a room full of teachers and school staff, all of whom work so hard to support young people.
“If through my story I have helped to inspire them even further then that’s an honour indeed.”
Heath Academy Trust has six primary and first schools in east Dorset – St Ives Primary, St James First in Alderholt, Sixpenny Handley First, Oakhurst First and St Mary’s First in West Moors and Three Legged Cross First.
It is also home to the Holt Teaching Alliance, which provides in-house teacher training and courses for schools and teachers throughout the area.
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