Shenfield High School


Inspire a generation was the cry from Lord Coe on the eve of the London Olympics, creating a legacy for our future Athletes was the goal. Here at Shenfield High School we work hard to fulfil these values and our motto of ‘be the best you can be’ is evident throughout the school, especially within our hugely successful PE department.

On Tuesday 29th January, Great British Long Jump Champion JJ Jegede came in for what was a memorable day for our year 7 cohort. A carefully selected group of seventeen year 7 boys were chosen by their PE teacher Mr Bennett to be the focus group of this once in a lifetime opportunity.

The main aims of the project set out before the visit were to; Improve attitudes  to whole school learning and commit to becoming an all-round sporting individual at Shenfield High School.

The day started with an individual seminar for the selected group, here JJ opened up to his childhood, recounting what sacrifices he made to get where he is now. His quite unbelievable story captured the hearts and minds of the boys and his attitude to not just sport, but studying and life in general was quickly rubbing off.

JJ then took to a wider audience and gave a brilliant assembly to an expectant year 7 year group. Whereas previously he had 17 boys hanging off his every word, now there were well over a 100 and it was truly an inspirational 40 minutes. After his speech, hands would appear from across the room, with everyone wanting to ask their own question. The questions weren’t just superficial; they were in depth and showed how exceptionally close they were listening throughout. JJ finished the assembly with a year photo and a brief autograph signing session for those not involved in the group.

The day finished with a practical session for the group of 17 led by JJ, he focussed around his previously stated elements to success;

  1. Mental Toughness
  2. People Skills
  3. Sports/Life Knowledge
  4. Hunger to Achieve
  5. Breaking Barriers
  6. Planning for Success

The boys thoroughly enjoyed this session and their day in general. After JJ left, the group wrote an evaluation of their day. The summary was asked to focus on what they have learnt from JJ and his background and how this will inspire them throughout their long future at Shenfield High School.

These quotes below are taken from the boys unprompted work and really highlights the impact the day has had on them and in particular how positive a role model JJ is to everyone.

“JJ has told me to learn and listen, then you will achieve”

“JJ was amazing, so kind and humble; he has inspired me to do what I am good at”

“I am going to use all of the elements in all of my classes to achieve better and targets to prove I can do better”

Mr Abson-Bennett who organised the entire day remarked, “This was a hugely successful day and we are very grateful to JJ and the Sky Sports Living for Sport Project. I would recommend this to any teacher and any school as it truly does inspire a generation. I hope that this will stay with the boys and the year group throughout their time at Shenfield and lead them on to bigger and better things. It is safe to say the Olympic legacy is at the forefront of minds here at Shenfield High School and we as a PE department are doing everything we can to inspire our kids and make them the best they can be, not only in sport but in life as well.”

Mr Abson-Bennett