AN ORGANISATION allowing primary school children to enjoy competitive sports ranging from football to indoor curling is having a re-brand as it goes from strength to strength.
The Atherton Primary Sports Association (APSA) has changed its name and will now be known at the Atherton and Tyldesley Sports Association (ATSA) to better represent the extent of its reach and competitions.
Since being founded in 2011 to ensure youngsters still had the chance to take part in sports contests following the closure of Hesketh Fletcher secondary school, ATSA has invited pupils from all 17 primary schools in Atherton, Tyldesley and Astley to compete in everything from netball to cross-country running and football to kurling, a version of the Winter Olympic sport where players have to roll stones as close to a central target as possible.
The name change is one of a number of alterations to enable the organisation to expand, with ATSA intending to set up separate Atherton and Tyldesley leagues for popular sports culminating in an end-of-season play-off and also planning competitions outside the borough.
ATSA has a programme of 18 events this academic year, with schools in Atherton and Tyldesley splitting up the hosting duties between them.
ATSA lead teacher Mark Grogan, who is also head teacher at St George’s Central Primary School, said: “Since September I have been exploring ways in which the sports group could be expanded so that more schools on the Tyldesley side have the opportunity to take part in these competitions in local venues.
“There have had to be some compromises from both sets of schools. For example, the rules for football and netball for both the Tyldesley section and the Atherton section had to be amended so that they are the same.
“I am in talks with three local sports clubs about holding competitions we have never had before, and I am also in talks to include a sports competition weekend in the Lake District. We have even been offered the services of a sports psychologist who is interested in doing some sessions with some of the older gifted and talented children.”
The final APSA event was a hockey festival while the first competition organised by ATSA will be the football league, beginning on Thursday for Atherton schools and next Monday for the Tyldesley section.