Tim Henman OBE, retired tennis champion, joined Raynes Park High School in south west London, as it became the first state school to be an accredited Tim Henman Foundation BECSLink Community on Friday 16th March. He was joined by Crista Cullen, MBE, Olympic gold medal field hockey player and the Mayor of Merton, Councillor Marsie Skeete.
As an accredited Tim Henman Foundation BECSLink Community, the school works alongside national and local businesses, education charities, and sports and arts organisations to provide resources and learning opportunities for young people. This offers students and teachers not only from the school, but also other local schools the opportunity to develop new skills.
On Friday 16th March, the school hosted 400 schoolchildren from other local schools who participated in a range of activities. These included music workshops with Tenors Unlimited, the international operatic trio, Pi-Top computer workshop and a catering challenge. Sporting activities were led by Wimbledon Hockey, Fulham Football and Performance Plus.
Kirsten Heard, head teacher, Raynes Park High School, said “We are proud to become the first state school accredited as a BECSLink community. This has all been made possible through the vision of BECSLink and the Tim Henman Foundation and my team at our school. BECSLink’s role as the social mobility network, together with their partners from national and local businesses, education charities, and sports and arts organisations are helping us supply outstanding resources and learning opportunities for students and teachers not only from our school, but also from other local schools.”
Tim Henman, OBE, retired tennis champion, said “This day was all about the children – it was wonderful to see their enthusiasm in such a range of activities. I like to think they can achieve great things in the future. It’s important for youngsters to seize every opportunity and I’m pleased through my Foundation to give back in such a wonderful way in association with not only the scholarships but also in supporting further enrichment programmes with Raynes Park High School in the areas of science, technology, engineering and maths, computer coding, through sport and helping the growth of a community tennis programme.”
Crista Cullen, MBE, Olympic gold medal field hockey player: “It’s great to see the children engaging in a realm of different things from singing to tennis. It’s all part of creating well rounded individuals and giving opportunities to children who wouldn’t otherwise have them.”
BECSLink encourages collaboration at a local and national level to create exciting learning opportunities for young people.
Richard Garrett, CEO of BECSLink says: ““Raynes Park High School will be the leading model for us in the state sector. Any other schools which want to become BECSLink Community hosts should get in touch with us. There are compelling reasons to do so. Accredited BECSLink Communities have improved reputation and school rolls and greater access to external funding. The model unlocks talent and fulfils the potential for all involved in the associated schools and most particularly for students who face adversity. Accredited BECSLink Communities become the heartbeat of an integrated community of business, education, charity and sports and arts organisations that want to address social mobility issues through creating opportunities for young people.”
As part of this initiative, the school was given Tim Henman Scholarships, in association with the Tim Henman Foundation, for talented youngsters prevented from pursuing their talents due to a lack of financial means. Mr Henman presented these students with their scholarships on the same day. The school has been awarded a grant over three years by the Foundation to be awarded as scholarships to students.