The football season may have come to a conclusion earlier this month, but Oxford United were involved in another big match last week as two of their community coaches helped LVS Oxford stage a memorable football match to mark the end of term.
Ross Layton and Kevin James visited LVS Oxford on Friday 22nd May to coach teams preparing for the big match as learners took on a combined parents and staff team. Kevin put the parents and staff through their paces with dribbling and shooting drills, whilst Ross concentrated on fostering teamwork amongst the learners.
Once the coaches were happy that their teams were fully prepared, they lined up on the extensive school playing field ready for the big game to begin. It looked like a rout was on the cards when the parents and staff stormed into a 3-0 half-time lead, but it was clear at the break that the learners were not going to take defeat lying down and following a rousing team talk from their Oxford United Community Coach Ross came back to take a 4-3 lead with minutes left including a genuine goal of the season contender from Hugh Parks who found the top corner with a rasping drive. However, parent Sean Elliott saved the staff from weeks of teasing from the learners as he grabbed a last-gasp equaliser to force a draw. Sean praised the school’s initiative, saying: “That was absolutely brilliant. The game was played in the right spirit and it was good to see so much joy on the children’s faces. LVS Oxford has created a really special event that has been a sociable day out, good exercise and a great way to get the learners interacting with each other and adults”.
A penalty shoot-out ensued and the learners even called up LVS Oxford Head of Centre Jane Straw to try to win the game for them from the spot against teacher Tom Heydon. But after a number of goals and some near misses, the two teams could still not be separated and shook hands, agreeing a draw was a fair result.
Mrs Dancer, one of the parents who played and goalscorer in the penalty shootout, said: “It was so great to see so many happy, smiling children – they really enjoyed the day and it was good to see the teamwork and encouragement they gave each other – especially when things were going against them they worked even harder to put it right”.
Oxford United Community Coach Ross Layton said: “We have had a great day. It is good to come out into the local community and help put on an event that everyone seemed to have so much fun with. It is just the beginning of what we can do with LVS Oxford as so many of the learners seemed to connect with us and enjoy using sport to communicate with each other and work as a team. We are hoping to continue to develop a really positive relationship”.
LVS Oxford Head of Centre Jane Straw was keen to thank Oxford United for their visit, saying: “Developing the social and emotional wellbeing of our learners is one of our key goals, and to have a visit from Oxford United and be able to learn from them has created a real buzz around the school and inspired more of our learners than ever to get more involved in outdoor activity. I would like to thank Oxford United, Ross and Kevin for their help and look forward to working with the club again in the future”.
Parents and carers speak positively about the ways in which staff promote positive behaviour. One said "staff are very caring, they talk to students positively and handle things fairly"