Why GORSE Academy schools have eschewed traditional sports at its Leeds schools

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Elaine Brown has worked with the Gorse Academy Trust since 2016 as a volunteer, and since last year as a permanent staff member, to promote her ‘Big 3’ sports of volleyball, rowing and karate.

She was recently named Volleyball England Coach of the Year and is also up for the Sunday Times Vitality Grassroots Sportswoman of the Year award.

Now she’s hoping more coaches show up as more and more people get involved in the sport and more teams are created to meet the demand.

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Elaine Brown.

The Gorse Trust Academy teaches volleyball and karate in all of its primary and secondary schools and rowing is taught from grade 7.

When Elaine moved to Leeds after graduating from her Masters, she looked for a volleyball club to keep fit and meet new people and got involved with Leeds Volleyball Club which is now Leeds Gorse Volleyball.

She said: “This (award winning and nominated) has been great for the Academy, the school and for volleyball in general. It has been quite exciting to see the volleyball community in England sharing their support as it helps to make it happen. knowing the sport., especially for juniors – there is more to get involved. “

Ms. Brown was encouraged to start playing volleyball at home in America because her mother was an avid player. She played throughout school and also at a competitive level in Texas. The sport is extremely popular in the United States and is the second most played sport in the world.

Elaine Brown, Volleyball Coach at Gorse Academy Trust and Director of Youth Development, Leeds Gorse Volleyball Club.

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However, there are around 50,000 people who play volleyball in the UK, compared to around 2 million who play football and around 1.4 million who regularly play netball.

These are also the most common sports in school curricula and so Gorse made the decision to offer different ones as the main sports to give students the opportunity to try something they would not normally have access to.

Ms Brown said: “It appeals to students who haven’t found their sport yet. It’s a fast-paced game but involves skill, ability and quick thinking. The good thing is that it there are so many edits you can do, it gives everyone a chance to play /

Elaine Brown with the trophy awarded to her after being named England’s 2020 Volleyball Coach of the Year.

“The age limit for sports is 15 or 16, so the time we can keep them out is so important. We had two girls in particular who had no interest in after-school activities, but their parents came over to say “thank you for donating. They have something to do.” Since they started coming they have never missed a session and now they are the backbone of the junior club of women’s volleyball. “

There are now after-school volleyball clubs in all Gorse academies and before the coronavirus pandemic there were plans for a competitive after-school league that will be resumed when regulations allow.

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Elaine Brown on the Ruth Gorse Academy volleyball courts.
Two of the Leeds Gorse Volleyball Club juniors (with players from the Ruth Gorse Academy).


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