Schoolwear supplier Banner is partnering schools as part of efforts to boost female students’ participation in sports and raise awareness of breast health.

Last month, it teamed up with secondary school and sixth form Beacon Academy in Crowborough in East Sussex for two days of workshops for female students.

The workshops featured Banner’s new Aptus sports bra which has a scientifically informed structure and a school-appropriate design that supports girls’ bodies during sports.

Beacon Academy will be rolling out the information to the whole school through PE lessons. The sports bra is now being sold through its schoolwear provider, PMG Schoolwear, as an optional addition to its PE kit list.

It was the first school to take part in the workshops which Banner is looking to roll out to more schools in the 2023/24 academic year.

The partnership was initiated by the school’s PE teacher, Danielle Hilder, when she recognised the need to address some of the taboos around talking about breast health and the barriers girls can face when taking part in sports.

She said: “Creating a safe space to talk about breast health, sports bras and sports participation is vital to ensure that girls feel comfortable and confident when participating in physical activity.

“Women and girls should be proud, confident and happy to participate in physical activity and if we can help to break down some of those barriers then I am confident we are setting them up for future success.”

To develop the Aptus Sports Bra, the design team at Banner worked with Professor Joanna Wakefield-Scurr, biomechanics field leader and head of the research group in breast health at the University of Portsmouth.

In addition to offering the right support, the Aptus Sports Bra is the first eco reversible bra of its kind and is made from recycled materials: each bra saves 1.5 plastic bottles from landfill.

A spokesperson for Banner said: “The core inspiration behind the Aptus Sports Bra is to encourage and support girls in school sport. From in-depth research into breast health, it’s evident that sports bras should be an essential part of a girl’s PE kit.

“In response, we have created the first sustainable, fully reversible sports bra designed exclusively for female students. And it’s all in the name of giving girls the support and confidence to enjoy sport at school.

“We’ve chosen to work with Beacon Academy because they share our passion for supporting students and we know that includes encouraging confidence in all areas of education.”