Olympians Glenn Kirkham and Helen Richardson-Walsh join Perse sport staff
Not one, but two Olympians have joined the sport staff at The Perse School.
Glenn Kirkham, who represented Team GB in men’s hockey in Beijing in 2008 and at London 2012, has returned to the Upper School as Director of Sport after three years away, having previously been assistant director of sport and head of hockey.
Meanwhile, Helen Richardson-Walsh, who was part of GB’s gold medal-winning women’s hockey team in Rio in 2016, has been appointed as a games coach.
Glenn, who won the European title with England in 2009 and earned 223 international caps, is delighted to be back at The Perse in his new role.
He said: “I had nine fantastic years here doing a range of different roles and then the opportunity came up to apply for the director of sport role and it was quite an easy decision given my knowledge of the school and how I’ve seen the school grow its sport.
“The volume of staff we have and the expertise helps limit the group size so the pupils get far better teaching and coaching time. There are outstanding facilities such as the artificial pitch and the fields at Abington that all show signs that sport is growing at the school and hopefully will further still.
“As a school, there has been a real push to ensure sport is for all and we want to pursue excellence no matter what that sport is or the ability level of the students.
“In certain sports we’ve got a real national standing and as a school, we’re ranked in the top 10 in School Sports magazine, so there are only things to push on further with.
“Hopefully it does attract more students to the school to see what a well-rounded education you can get at The Perse.
“It’s brilliant to have Helen joining the school and not only for the hockey side of things. She’s a keen cricketer as well so girls’ and boys’ cricket will reap the rewards of that.
“To have somebody with that profile who has been on the international stage, having come fresh from Rio and that huge success, it can only help to inspire students and also raise their standards further.”
Helen, who made almost 300 international appearances and competed in four Olympic Games, is relishing the opportunity to pass on her vast experience and knowledge to students.
She said: “I felt it was a school that really encompassed a lot of the values that I hold and have learned over my hockey career and clearly it does well academically, but it also values the pupils as a whole.
“I’m also looking forward to learning from the great staff that are here and clearly in the sport department we’ve got some very good experts.
“I know a lot of people in our (GB) squad if you asked them why they started playing hockey or why they carried on with it, a lot of people would say it was because of a PE teacher, a hockey coach or someone who was really key to them at an early stage of their life.
“I achieved great things in hockey, so hopefully I can add that little bit of inspiration in that sense, but I think all teachers are role models and there are already a lot of incredible role models at The Perse.”