At Leigh Academy Tonbridge students belong to one of five communities or ‘teams’ named after sporting icons – Ali, MacArthur, Pelé, Redgrave and Thompson. This structure has been part of the culture of the school since 2009 and underpins the PRIDE ethos that is so important to the students, parents, governors and staff. Students wear ties that demonstrate their allegiance to their team and each community is represented by a student team captain and student vice-captain. Students are also encouraged to take on other responsibilities across the school such as being prefects, sports leaders and peer mentors.
MUHAMMAD ALI is widely recognised as one of the greatest heavyweight champions of all time. However, he was much more than just a sportsman. He was principled, intelligent and opinionated and an extremely eloquent speaker on a variety of social issues. He was also prepared to sacrifice his own success for what he saw as the injustices of the world – a good example being his refusal to accept the draft during the Vietnam War which lost him the heavyweight title he had previously so coveted. Our Team Ali of 160 boys has striven since its inception to live up to his nickname, ‘The Greatest’.
On 7 February 2005, Dame ELLEN MACARTHUR broke the world record for the fastest solo circumnavigation of the globe, a feat which gained her international renown. Team MacArthur aims to follow in her example of resilience, perseverance and desire to reach for their dreams. Following her retirement from professional sailing on 2 September 2010, Ellen MacArthur announced the launch of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a charity that works with business and education to accelerate the transition to a circular economy.
Team PELE draws its inspiration from Edson Arantes do Nascimento, nicknamed Pelé. He was chosen as our figurehead as arguably the world’s greatest ever footballer. He has used his outstanding skills to promote football and become a world ambassador. In 1992, Pelé was appointed a United Nations Ambassador for ecology and the environment.
Olympic gold medallist rower, Sir STEVE REDGRAVE, has proved himself the greatest Olympian Britain has ever produced. Having set out to win three Olympic Gold Medals at the beginning of his career, Steve went on to win an incredible five Golds in five successive Olympic Games from 1984 to 2000.
Team Thompson is a proud and inclusive Team that has a very positive and friendly ethos. Their inspiration and name comes from TANNI GREY THOMPSON the wheelchair athlete that has been one of the most successful wheelchair athletes of all time. Born with spina bifida, she did not let her disability hold her back from making the most of her life and the members of Team Thompson also recognise that despite barriers and difficulties, nothing will hold them back from achieving and aspiring.