The Outstanding Sports Award 

‘Minnie's Mates’ 
Uplands Manor Primary School, Smethwick 
Nominated by: Debbie Climpson 
Canine learning at Uplands Manor chomps up awards competition! 
The ‘Minnie’ in question is an adorable Border Collie dog who arrives into school every day to enrich learning within the school. 
The win follows the exceptional application of Minnie in encouraging students to become active through dog walking and play with Minnie. 
Bringing Minnie into the school was the brainchild of PE Manager Debbie Climpson, to whom Minnie belongs. “Studies have shown that using dogs in schools motivates thinking & learning, promotes a high level of natural interest and encourages the enthusiasm and enjoyment of animals. We wanted to channel this into learning; we called it ‘paws for thought’ Explained Deb when asked about making the choice to bring Minnie into school. 
Minnie went through a vigorous job application, as you can expect for any potential school staff member. 
She had to pass dog school and a vet test, as well as a 1 on 1 with the head teacher to prove she was the right pooch for the position. 
The first task was to begin helping children who struggled with reading. When they completed a book their reward would be to play with Minnie or take her for a walk, which encouraged children to become active. Due to the success of this Minnie was used to promote physical activity across the board. 
Owen Parry, from the Community Education Awards expanded on Minnies win: “The real shining light of the Minnies Mates project is the introduction of Minnie to children with disabilities and those who struggled with confidence in sport. Using Minnie to build trust and encourage the children to get involved and stay active is just fantastic. I was so lucky to be able to travel to the school and see the love and affection not only that students give to Minnie, but that Minnie puts right back. It’s really heart-warming, and absolutely deserving of this award. “ 
The ceremony was held in front of the entire school and was presented to a very proud Debbie and to Minnie, who gleefully barked throughout the presentation. 
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