'Active School Hero' winners announced for 2020

The winners of 'Active School Hero' for 2020 have been announced by ukactive Kids and Nike.

The competition is aimed at providing recognition for primary school staff across Birmingham and London who are making an outstanding contribution to getting students moving.

Research shows that active children are healthier, happier, perform better at school and have improved social skills. But more than one third of children and young people across the two cities are active for fewer than 30 minutes a day, which is less than half the minimum amount of daily activity recommended by the World Health Organisation.


In an online awards ceremony with Paralympic champion Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and track and field hurdler Jessie Knight, the winner of Birmingham’s inaugural Active School Hero was named as Gemma Spiers, Pastoral Manager at Paget Primary School in Erdington.

And this year’s London Active School Hero was awarded to Reon Thomas, PE Co-ordinator at Wembley Primary School (pictured above).         

The ceremony also recognised 10 area winners from Birmingham and 32 borough winners from London.

Gemma, one of 10 Birmingham finalists, won the award due to her dedication and commitment to getting children of all abilities active. In her role as Pastoral Manager, she uses physical activity as a means of motivating students with greater needs.

Her dedication to the health and wellbeing of kids at her school has never been more apparent than through the Covid-19 pandemic, during which she supported the children through social media and TikTok with daily exercise and sporting challenges.

Gemma (pictured above) said: “I am speechless, I really didn’t expect to be Birmingham’s first Active School Hero, but I am so grateful. Active School Hero has shown me how much the passion I have put into improving Paget sport and PE has been appreciated, and the impact I have been able to have on both the kids and parents at my school.


“This has been an amazing experience for the whole school, especially in the current context of Covid restrictions, and I am so happy to be able to provide the kids at Paget with more opportunities to be active.”

London winner Reon Thomas was recognised as a passionate faculty member at Wembley Primary School and for ensuring that all the children he teaches are given as many opportunities as possible to be physically active.

Reon has always been passionate about health, fitness and holistic healthy lifestyles. This passion inspired him to create his ‘boys to men’ club which helps build boys self-esteem, courage and discipline, and address any problems they may have in and around school. He has also worked tirelessly through the pandemic to ensure the kids at his school were engaged and active during lockdown.

Reon said: “I am so overwhelmed to be the Active School Hero for winner for London, it is such a great award and my school are so proud. Active School Hero has shown me that the work I do is important.

“I really try to make a positive change in every child I inspire but I have to say this win is not just down to me it has been a partnership between myself and the deputy head, and the whole school itself.”

In recognition of their dedication, the two winners will receive professional development training from Nike and the Youth Sport Trust, their schools will gain access to exclusive Nike opportunities and experiences to further inspire the students to be active.

Nike track and field hurdler Jessie said: “Having incredible role models like the Active School Heroes on the ground in schools, keeping kids active day in and day out is something to be celebrated. I am really happy to be here to help recognise their achievements.”

Visit the uk active page on the ConnectSport directory. To add your organisation for free, email hello@connectsport.co.uk.