As part of our 40th anniversary celebrations we’re continuing to share the stories of our members. In this feature we find out more about Master Paul Jones of the Llantwit Major Taekwondo Club and his work delivering Taekwondo and Self-Defence classes to school pupils in the Barry area of Wales.

Master Paul Jones from Llantwit Major Taekwondo has been working with the Vale of Glamorgan’s Healthy Living Team to deliver Taekwondo and Self-Defence to pupils in the Barry High Schools since 2021.

One of the first schools Paul delivered sessions in was St Richard Gwyn Catholic High School where he has helped re-engage pupils in physical activity during the pandemic.
During the Taekwondo and Self-Defence sessions Paul not only teaches the pupils Taekwondo and Self-Defence skills but also talks to them about the importance of making the right decisions and how their actions have consequences.

The pupils have been attending every week and the improvement in their skills, motivation and confidence can clearly be seen.

Mr Leftley, Head of PE and Health and Wellbeing at St Richard Gwyn Catholic School said “The pupils are benefiting massively from attending the weekly sessions. I can see the vast difference in them from when they attended the first session to how they are today. They have learnt so much from Master Paul Jones and they thoroughly enjoy every session he delivers.”

Following the success of the sessions in St Richard Gwyn Catholic High School the activities were then rolled out to Whitmore High School and Pencoedtre High School, both in Barry.

The sessions being delivered in Pencoedtre High School form part of a wider programme – the Active Beyond the School Day Project – which is aimed at supporting learners to benefit from an extended range of activities, including arts and sports as well as social activities and academic programmes which is good for attainment, well-being, and wider relationships.
Paul has been delivering in Pencoedtre High School since January this year and the feedback on the impact he is having on the pupils is immense.


Taekwondo and Self Defence in High Schools

This school has one of the highest percentage of pupils receiving free school meals in Wales. Therefore, being able to offer these pupils Taekwondo and Self-Defence via this programme is great as it is a sport that they would be very unlikely to have the opportunity to participate in.

Miss Young Assistant Head and coordinator of the Active Beyond the School Day programme explained “The programme enables us to be able to offer the pupils sports that they would not otherwise be able try. Master Paul Jones always delivers an engaging, fun session where they can learn new skills and grow in confidence. We can also see the positive impact it is having on the pupil’s behaviour not only in the sessions but also in lessons.”

The sessions in Whitmore High School are in their infancy but already are having an impact. Feedback from the pupils include ‘that was amazing!’ and ‘I can’t wait to come to the next session!’.
Master Paul said “I’m enjoying teaching these pupils. Many of them are from challenging backgrounds and they tend to resolve things physically with no real thought to what will happen afterwards. Giving them insights into my past seems to make them think about the choices they make in the situations they find themselves in.”

He added “Getting the pupils to realise that they have options and how to de-escalate rather than escalate these moments in time is important. Also, showing them there is always someone more skilled, bigger, scarier than them reinforces the need to look at different options. It’s great that the sessions are teaching them valuable life skills.”Angela Stevens, Healthy Living Officer at the Vale of Glamorgan said “From our perspective as the Vale of Glamorgan’s Healthy Living Team, Master Paul Jones has the right skill set to deliver the sessions within the Barry cluster schools. The schools are very different, but he can adapt each session to suit the needs of the participants.”

Angela continued “Master Paul Jones can engage pupils from day one and teaches them Taekwondo and Self-Defence and life skills. It is great to be able to offer the pupils a non-traditional sport as it engages the pupils that do not usually participate in team sports. His down to earth attitude builds an instant rapport with the pupils, and they are always disappointed when the session comes to an end. We look forward to continuing the Taekwondo and Self-Defence sessions over the coming months.”

You can find out more about the Llantwit Major Taekwondo Club on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Find out more about the Vale of Glamorgan’s Healthy Living Team on the Vale of Glamorgan Council website.

If you would like to share your Taekwondo story please get in touch with Richard Gottfried, Marketing, Digital & Media Manager via or 07706 342156.