Newly crowned WBU World and Commonwealth Champion boxer Nathan ‘The Nightmare’ Decastro was recruited last week to inspire pupils at a little village primary school and highlight its benefits to prospective parents.
Like many rural schools, Nocton Community Primary School was hit hard by the “per pupil” funding formula introduced by the Government in 2013.
Tucked away just beyond the village green, few people outside the village are aware Nocton Primary exists. Those that do know, rarely apply to have their children enrolled because they cannot believe there would be spaces.
At present there are 43 pupils in the entire school. Approximately twenty more are needed to attract the much-needed Government funds. So, parents and pupils are engaging in a campaign to share the secret.
Joining the villagers in their efforts is Bardney’s World Champion boxer Nathan Decastro, who happens to be a friend of a parent and agreed to talk to the children at a celebration assembly on Friday.
He talked about his daily regime of runs, gym, sparring and pad work which involves early starts before doing a day’s work with the building firm he runs. He said a healthy diet was also important.
Nathan, 28, told the pupils he had been boxing since he was nine: “Sometimes you will feel tired but it is what you have to do for your long term goals. Listen to parents and teachers, education is important, otherwise the likelihood of being successful in life lessens.”
He also reminded children that violence outside the ring is a big ‘no-no’ and frowned upon by his local club.
He said it was important to keep small village schools open but admitted he had been more nervous talking to the children than before getting in the ring with the African champion to win his world super middleweight crown.
Emma Negus-Hill was recently appointed executive headteacher of the Spires Federation of Nocton, Dunston and Digby primary schools. She said numbers were good at Dunston, but Nocton and Digby needed more promotion for parents to see the “amazing qualities” they have to offer, including before and after school clubs for busy working parents, along with full-time teachers and teaching assistants for each of its classes.
They have scope to expand and want to offer parent and toddler sessions, ultimately becoming a pre-school, she said.
The school is also working with the parish council and church to hold more events with the community including a summer fete on June 29, from 1.30-4pm, for which nine-year-old school councillor Paddy O’Mahoney has contacted lots of businesses and clubs to donate prizes including a signed photo from Everton FC, tickets to family attractions and a signed football from Lincoln City.