A commonwealth boxer has been giving confidence-shy schoolgirls a boost with a series of weekly boxercise sessions.
Six pupils from Lewis Girls School in Ystrad Mynach have been taking part in the scheme, which is being taught by ten-time Welsh champion Kyran Jones, from Tir y Berth.
Jones, 21, represented Wales at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, where he narrowly lost out to three-time Commonwealth Games competitor Steven Donnelly from Northern Ireland.
The school’s education welfare officer, Bev Collins, explained that the girls, aged between 11 and 14, were chosen to participate in order to boost their confidence and develop their social skills.”
Ms Collins said: “This is a wellbeing project aimed at developing pupils’ self-esteem, build confidence and to help to deal with anger issues.
“These girls lacked confidence and were very quiet – they needed a boost.
“Their self-esteem and social skills have improved as a result of these sessions and that can help them in other lessons too.”
Ms Collins added: “Recent sporting events like the Women’s World Cup in football have proven that women and girls can take part in sport.
“But these sessions are as much about personal development as it is sport.”
The sessions, which started in March, will stop over the summer holidays. But Ms Collins said the school is hoping to pick them back up in the autumn and “build on the work that’s already been done”.
Boxer Jones, a former pupil of Lewis School Pengam, said: “It’s brilliant to give something back. Boxing is the best way to boost confidence.
“I try and get the girls to work together in pairs to encourage them to interact and boost their social skills.
“They all seem to enjoy the sessions and have come out of their shells more and more each session.”
Jones is close to finishing his studies at university and is hoping to go into coaching once he finishes.
The scheme is being overseen by Gareth Richards, head of PE at Lewis School Pengam.
Headteacher Heather Duncan said: “It’s a great alternative way to engage young people in physical activity and to boost emotional resilience.
“It helps them channel their energy in an appropriate way. We’re very thankful to Kyran for his support.”