CHEERLEADING will now be taught in Basingstoke schools after a new scheme was launched in the town.

The Basingstoke Schools Cheerleading Competition has been rolled out to infant, junior, primary and secondary schools in the borough.

The idea was thought up by Debbie Steel, chair of The Basingstoke Wolverines, who wanted more children to experience the benefits of cheerleading.

For the past year, she has worked on a draft for the initiative, and now it has been launched, with 12 schools already signing up to take part.

The scheme involves PE teachers at schools receiving training, education and support to run a cheerleading squad at their school, and coaching conferences to give an induction into cheerleading.

Qualified and experienced coaches will support and guide the teaching staff, with the project culminating each year in two cheerleading competitions.

Mrs Steel said: “Cheerleading is an exciting and challenging athletic discipline which has exploded in the UK since it came over from the US in 1988.

“It incorporates aerial stunts, jumps, gymnastic and dance elements which are all choreographed into a routine to a specifically edited piece of music. It also promotes trust, confidence and raises self esteem and social skills.”

A new website will provide information, support, guidance and an overview of the initiative for schools signing up to take part.