A question of sport

Head Teacher , Diane McKinley Forge Valley School
Head Teacher , Diane McKinley Forge Valley School

Diane McKinlay came to Sheffield as a student at Sheffield University and, like so many others, has never left. She lives in Wharncliffe Side with her husband and son, who is currently studying politics in Manchester.

As headteacher of Forge Valley Community School in Stannington, Diane welcomed the first students to the new school last September. Forge Valley celebrates its official opening on Friday this week.

Diane is also Chair of the Local Organising Committee for the South Yorkshire School Games which take place next Monday and Tuesday at Abbeydale Sports centre.

South Yorkshire School Games

I’m really proud to be chair of the South Yorkshire School Games. The first event was held in March this year at the English Institute of Sport Sheffield (EISS) and was a fantastic showcase for school sport. It was brilliant to see so many young people from across Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster enjoying competing in a variety of sports and performing to a really high standard. Next week’s games at Abbeydale will include students from primary, secondary and special schools who have qualified in intra- and inter-school competitions to be part of this great event. I am very much looking forward to seeing them excel in their sports and enjoy the music and dance performances which make up the cultural aspect of the Games. It should be a great couple of days. As we are all gearing up for London 2012, the Games will be a lasting legacy for school sport in our region hopefully for years to come.

My office

I am so lucky to have a beautiful office right in the heart of my school with a view to die for out across the Loxley Valley and up onto the moors. I spent three years planning for the opening of Forge Valley last September. It was a massive professional challenge to work with architects and building contractors to design a brand new school and at the same time involve staff, students and parents in making sure that the transition into the new school was as smooth as possible. I am immensely proud of our fabulous building and our students who have been so positive and mature in taking the move into Forge Valley in their stride, forging friendships, enjoying their new environment and working hard to achieve the best they can.

The view from Edgemount

Edgemount is at the top of the hill between High Bradfield and Wharncliffe Side. The views in all directions are spectacular - the dams in Bradfield Dale leading up to the moors, across Wharncliffe Chase to East Yorkshire and Humberside, a panorama right across Sheffield and south towards the power stations on the Trent. I never fail to reflect on how fortunate I am to live in such a beautiful area when I walk or drive on this road.

Carolling in north Sheffield pubs!

Come mid-November some of the pubs in north Sheffield villages are packed with carollers who come together every year to sing the traditional carols which have been part of the culture of this area for hundreds of years. I love the feeling of community and shared joy of blasting out the old favourites. My favourite ‘sings’ are in The Blue Ball in Worrall, the Travellers and Hare and Hounds in Oughtibridge and The Blue Ball in Wharncliffe Side where generations of local families sing together to keep the tradition going.

Glen Howe Park and the Ewden Valley

Every morning I walk my dog in Glen Howe Park. It’s a really lovely spot and is a great way to get myself ready for the day ahead. As a headteacher every day is different. You have to be able to work at a really fast pace and be flexible to the demands of a busy school environment so it is good to have some quiet thinking time first thing. At weekends I love walking around Morehall and Broomhead reservoirs in the Ewden Valley and getting out onto the moors around Stockbridge and Bolsterstone. So much unspoilt, quiet countryside, right on the doorstep is definitely one of the best things about Sheffield.

Kelham Island and Industrial Heritage

Sheffield has played such an important role globally as an industrial city and this is brilliantly represented at Kelham Island Museum – always a favourite place to take visitors before sampling a pint of excellent real ale in The Fat Cat or Kelham Island Tavern! I also find it fascinating to look at some of the old industrial buildings that survive in this area of the city which say so much about the pride that Sheffield’s industrialists took in their contribution to the world economy. I used to live in Walkley and was always struck by how the street names - Industry, Freedom, Providence - represented the strong values and aspirations of Sheffield people. The city has a social and political history to be proud of and celebrated.

Sheffield – city of sport

I feel that sport makes a massive contribution to the vibrancy of our city. I have frequently been to the EISS for school events and it is truly inspirational for our young people to be sharing the building and the facilities with top class sportsmen and women like Jessica Ennis. When we hold our sports day there next week, we could be in the company of Olympians training for their big events at London 2012 – it doesn’t come much better than that!