Today marks the first county competition of the 2019/20 Greater Manchester (GM) School Games calendar with under 13 and 15 girls grapple tackle taking place at Platt Lane Sports Complex in Manchester.
This year, the School Games sees changes made to its format to help ensure it is relevant to more children and young people and their lives today, allowing more of them to achieve their potential through sport and physical activity. These changes follow successful 2019 GM School Games events, where four different types of competition were first introduced to try and engage more new young people to the events. The Local Organising Committee (LOC) were able to further develop this, as a result of their success winning LOC of the Year, to encompass the whole GM School Games programme, to now include all Intra and Inter-school competitions, organised by local School Games Organisers (SGOs).
With Intra and Inter-school events already taking place across the region, feedback on the new approach is already highlighting that children are embracing and enjoying these changes.
A teacher from a school in Salford said;
“The rugby yesterday was fantastic, our kids are already asking what’s next, these are kids that for 5/6 years have shown no interest, especially the girls. Wearing the school kit was a highlight for them in itself.”
Historically, the GM School Games programme was established to support the national model for School Games. Locally, this meant the programme predominantly engaged children who were highly competent and confident in sport, with similar schools and young people attending the events. Whilst this was a successful model of school sport for some children and schools, there were many children unable to reap the benefits of competitive sport and activity.
Adjusting the programme to be child-centred, rather than sport-centred, will help to ensure that it provides opportunities for more children and young people to be active. This shift is vital as we aim to get children moving more in GM, as currently six in ten children and young people in are not active enough to benefit their health.
Jess Simons, School Games Programme Manager said;
“We hope these changes will allow more young people from across Greater Manchester to experience our School Games programme. This programme could be the reason these young people start, continue or grow on their journey with sport and physical activity, and so ensuring we have the right offer for as many of those young people is vital to ensure they develop a positive relationship with physical activity that will last a lifetime.”
These changes now also align more closely with the Youth Sport Trust’s mission and vision for the School Games; of keeping competitive sport at the heart of schools and providing more young people with the opportunity to compete and achieve their personal best.
Clare Warburton, Development Manager Programme Implementation, Youth Sport Trust said;
“The evolution of the School Games provision across Greater Manchester reflects a really positive attempt to ensure competition is meaningful to the lives of more and different young people….we look forward to continuing work with the School Games network across Greater Manchester to ensure that as young people change that their experiences of competition also evolves to meet their needs”
The new types of competition in Greater Manchester are;
Provides pathway opportunities for winners from across the ten boroughs of Greater Manchester. An opportunity for high competent, high confidence pupils to represent their school/stay engaged with the School Games. Continuing to nurture skill development and personal best.
School Games Values competition
Winners are selected from those who best demonstrate the School Games values; passion, determination, honesty, teamwork, self-belief and respect. Competitive, but with a clear focus on enjoyment. Engenders wider participation and experience of the Level 3 events.
BEE proud competitions
Fully inclusive, devoted to those not currently participating in sport or physical activity. Appropriate formats are adopted to foster enjoyment, confidence and achieving personal best, regardless of ability i.e. skills based. Ensures the School Games programme becomes even more inclusive.
The campaign aims to inspire, reassure and support people to be active by showing people living with a variety of conditions – both visible and invisible – on their own journeys to being active.