A SPORTS-mad school has been given a prestigious Activemark Gold Award by Sport England.

It means Velmead Junior School in Velmead Road, Fleet, is among the best in the country for PE.

The school had to show a strong commitment to promoting the benefits of physical activity, and won the accolade for its "outstanding programme" of sport and PE.

Head Lynda Wright said: "We are thrilled to bits to receive this award.

"It reflects the hard work of the staff and celebrates the children's talents.

"Velmead was the only school in Hampshire to receive the gold award, which really is something to celebrate."

Steve Padfield, senior development manager for Sport England South-East, said: "The school should be really proud of its achievement.

"Only 15 schools in the south-east received awards in this latest announcement.

"The Activemark award recognises the school's broad and balanced PE programme and its successful approach to teaching children the importance of staying active.

"At a time when childhood obesity is on the increase we are concerned to ensure that as many young people as possible learn the pleasure and benefits of sport and physical activities.

"Schools have a large part to play in this and we are delighted that award-winning schools like Velmead have such a commitment to protecting and promoting the health of our young people."

Trevor Brooking, chairman of Sport England, said: "Velmead are to be applauded for their consistent efforts in making sure youngsters are keeping fit and healthy.

"They are under tremendous pressure within the curriculum from other subjects and often PE and sport time is the first to suffer.

"In the case of Velmead, they quite rightly recognise the value of physical activity, not just in terms of health and fitness education but also how it can help pupils to achieve in other subjects.

"I believe that sport can also help combat problems such as social exclusion, youth offending and drug abuse."

Sport England has presented Activemark awards to 57 primary schools. Another 46 have won the Activemark Gold award for continued excellence and good practice in movement, sport and active games.