The Youth Sport Trust is working with a host of organisations to increase opportunities for young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to enjoy Physical Education, school sport and physical activity.
At St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Leamington Spa, 11-year-old Will and 9-year-old Rhys have been paired up through the programme to understand how one another’s strength and weaknesses can be combined to help more children to experience inclusive sport – and help them develop key life skills like empathy and leadership.
Rhys finds reading challenging but said sport is his passion and is accessible to everyone. Helping others through sport, having a leadership role and Rhys’s love of getting active has led him to become a Sports Ambassador for his school and to attend training from the Youth Sport Trust through Inclusion 2020.
Being able to teach sports to others my age when they are not very active or don’t get the chance to do sport because of their background and make it fun for them is really fulfilling. I like that we are helping other people to access sport by being supportive and showing them how to do things. I am also developing leadership skills.
Will, a school year older than Rhys, attends the same school. He volunteered to become a Sports Ambassador and paired up with Rhys to help him develop leadership skills and gain confidence.
"Being a Sports Ambassador has given me a lot more confidence,” Will said. “Before I was really shy and never used to put my hand up in class or get involved, but now I find it easy to talk to people and be myself.
I like that it gives me the chance to help others to try sports and get active who wouldn’t get the opportunity usually.
Inclusion 2020 and the work the school is doing has helped Will and Rhys to understand how to make sports activities more inclusive in their school so all their peers can benefit.
Rhys said: “We recently helped to run a festival where everyone who attended had a disability or additional needs and we put into practice what we had been taught about running activities and making sure everyone could get involved. In school we also put on activities at break times like skittles so that everyone can get active.
“Inclusion means everything, and it is all about having a go even if you’re not good at it, unless you don’t want to, but we always try to involve everyone. The main thing is that everyone is having fun.”
For more information on Inclusion 2020 visit www.youthsporttrust.org/inclusion-2020