Inclusive youth sport festivals to be held across England

News - 05 Mar 2019

Thousands of young people will take part in a nationwide series of inclusive sport festivals in the run up to the 2020 Paralympic Games.

Children’s charity the Youth Sport Trust is leading a consortium of organisations commissioned by the Department for Education to increase opportunities for young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to enjoy Physical Education, school sport and physical activity.

The Inclusion 2020 project will see 50 primary, secondary and special schools across England organise inclusive countywide ‘Learning and Discovery’ sport festivals ahead of Tokyo 2020.

At the events, 3,000 pupils of all abilities will experience a variety of Paralympic sports and get the opportunity to compete. They will be supported by a team of Youth Sport Trust athlete mentors including Team GB Paralympic swimmer Kate Grey.

The Youth Sport Trust will support 50 Lead Inclusion Schools - hubs of expertise on inclusive PE and sport - to act as champions in their local areas. As well as staging festivals, they will be responsible for training staff and sharing best practice with other schools to improve the provision of PE, school sport and physical activity for young people with SEND.

With funding from the Department for Education, Inclusion 2020 will aim to reach tens of thousands of pupils, 2,800 schools and train 6,000 teachers and coaches ahead of the 2020 Games. The consortium of organisations led by the Youth Sport Trust includes Activity Alliance, the British Paralympic Association, Nasen (National Association of Special Educational Needs) and Swim England.

In addition to inclusive sport festivals, the Inclusion 2020 project will also see:

  • Locally-led reviews of swimming provision for young people with SEND, with new opportunities created for them to learn to swim and develop water confidence
  • Teachers trained to adapt curriculum PE to place a greater focus on using the subject to teach life skills, using the Youth Sport Trust’s My Personal Best programme
  • Pupils supported to become young ambassadors who advocate for inclusion within their schools and support others to achieve their daily 30 active minutes of physical activity during the school day

Minister for Children and Families Nadhim Zahawi said:

“With excitement already building for Tokyo 2020, we are delighted to be funding this project which is a great opportunity to make sure all pupils can enjoy the benefits of staying active – let’s hope it may even inspire some future Olympic and Paralympic stars.

“We want every child – including those with special educational needs and disabilities – to have the opportunity to find a sport they love, and this funding will build on the £320 million we are providing through the PE and Sport Premium to help primary schools encourage all of their pupils to lead active lives.”

Youth Sport Trust Chief Executive Ali Oliver said:

“Schools have come a long way in improving the provision of sport and play for young disabled people, but we know there is still more we can do.

“Taking part in fun and inclusive sport and play unlocks so many other life benefits. It improves wellbeing, increases confidence and helps build relationships and a sense of belonging. It can help forge friendships and foster inclusive and respectful environments within schools.

“Building on the excitement and inspiration of the upcoming Paralympic Games, Inclusion 2020 offers a fantastic opportunity to work with schools, teachers and parents to ensure that having special educational needs or a disability is no barrier when it comes to benefitting from high-quality PE, sport and physical activity.”

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