Students and staff at The Totteridge Academy (TTA) are celebrating after one of their PE teachers was crowned the 2021 South of England Senior Women's Triple Jump Champion. Lia Stephenson, who is coming to the end of her teacher training programme at TTA, achieved this fantastic accolade at Bedford International Stadium in June.
Lia has been participating in United Learning's initial teacher training programme United Teaching since September 2020. The programme combines practical classroom experience with teacher training and seeks to fully prepare participants for flourishing teaching careers. As part of the programme, Lia has been a full time PE teacher at host school, The Totteridge Academy in north London. In addition to working full time at TTA and completing her teacher training assignments, Lia trains an impressive 18 hours a week. Whilst intense, all this training has paid off as Lia landed first place at the South of England championships - and, importantly, has been offered a permanent position in TTA's PE Department from September.
Lia, who has been triple jumping since she was 16, has represented England and Great Britain at many different championships and won a Bronze medal at the British Athletic Olympic trials in Manchester. She currently has her sights set on qualifying for the Commonwealth Games in 2022.
Commenting on her achievements, Lia said:
“Winning the South of England Championship has given me the best possible start to my season. Athletics training after a full day of teaching is physically and mentally challenging but I am so grateful for the support from TTA as well as United Learning. Everyone has been so understanding and has given me the opportunity and encouragement I have needed to succeed at school and on the athletics field. I am so excited to be staying at TTA. It is a phenomenal school and, through my athletics, I hope to inspire my students for many years to come.”
TTA Principal Chris Fairbairn said:
"Congratulations to Lia on this incredible achievement. The whole TTA community celebrates her success and we will be following her athletics career closely. We're delighted that Lia will be joining us permanently from September. She is a dynamic and dedicated teacher and her commitment to her athletics will show our students just what can be achieved with the right combination of ambition, hard work and determination."