Young people from five Northamptonshire schools have taken part in a Sainsbury’s School Games Goalball tournament at Redwell Leisure Centre in Wellingborough.
Backed by National Lottery funding from Sport England, the event saw students with special educational needs and disabilities compete against non-disabled students.
The 30 young people taking part were joined by Olympic Sprinter, Darren Campbell, who opened the tournament and joined the youngsters for a game and presented the certificates to the winning schools at the end of the day. The 11-to 16-year-olds came from Brooke Weston, Prince William and special schools Friars School & Sport College, Northgate School Arts College and The Gateway School.
The Goalball event, just one of hundreds of Sainsbury’s School Games competitions that are taking place between schools across the country this year, was organised by Rhian Turnball, Project Ability Lead at Friars School & Sport College. Project Ability is part of a scheme within the Sainsbury’s School Games designed to increase opportunities for young disabled people.
As a lead Project Ability school selected for their expertise in engaging young disabled people, Friars School & Sport College supports 19 schools across Northamptonshire to improve and extend their provision for young disabled pupils to take part in competitive sport. These include a mix of primary and secondary special schools and mainstream schools.
“Since Project Ability started last year we’ve had over 344 pupils participate in school versus school competitions and 221 out of those 344, experienced competition for the first time because of the initiative,” said Rhian. “There was very little competition for special education needs students before Project Ability started, but now they have the opportunity to compete and a chance of winning a medal; it has a massive impact on their confidence.”
Delivered by the Youth Sport Trust, the Sainsbury’s School Games is fully inclusive and is offering young people more opportunities to take part by increasing competitive sport in schools.