National School Sport Week sees thousands of schools join campaign to protect PE

Giant sand sculptures, campaigning across the UK to raise awareness of PE and sport’s importance, and dozens of MP visits to school sports days.

Last week’s YST National School Sport Week 2019 saw thousands of children, organisations and schools from the Scottish islands down to the sandy beaches of Cornwall engage in the week.

YST ambassador Ben Smith toured the country as part of the week and launched new programme Journey to Wellbeing as part of his USA 2020 Challenge.

An audience of more than 39 million was reached across the week with publicity in outlets like BBC Radio 2, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and Tes as well as seeing #NSSW trending on Twitter with schools across the country sharing their activities and reflecting on the importance of sport to wellbeing.

The theme of the week was Five Ways to Wellbeing; Be Active, Connect, Give Back, Learn and Take Notice, held between 24 and 28 June in a bid to hook children and young people on a lifelong love of movement. This year saw a record number of organisations taking part.

It was supported by official partners DC UK, Decathlon, Everything Branded, and David Lloyd. As well as its main partners of the week, the charity was also supported by the Jo Cox Foundation through the Great Get Together, Sport England and Department for Education.

The Youth Sport Trust pioneers new ways of using sport to improve children’s wellbeing and give them a brighter future. It is campaigning for the benefits of being active to be widely recognised in battling declining mental wellbeing and obesity in this and future generations.

Highlights of this year’s National School Sport Week included:
  • More than 60 children with and without SEND from schools across Liverpool took part in inclusive sports like sitting volleyball, new age Kurling, para-badminton, VI athletics, boccia, wheelchair fencing, and goalball to give every child the opportunity to find a sport they love. The Learning and Discovery festival was held on Tuesday as part of the Department for Education-funded Inclusion 2020 programme.
  • Dozens of MPs in England, Scotland and Wales visited schools in their constituencies to see first-hand the important role that PE and school sport play in education.
  • Sports retailer Decathlon marked the first anniversary of its Surrey Quays, London store by putting on an active learning event for local primary school children on Thursday. DC’s Batman provided Batman themed resources available to schools to encourage physical activity.
  • Children at St Breock Primary School in Wadebridge, Cornwall were joined by YST Ambassador Ben Smith to unveil a giant sand sculpture themed around the Five Ways to Wellbeing. The sculpture was built throughout the week and celebrated women’s football as part of the ‘Take Notice’ strand of the Five Ways to Wellbeing.

  • School wins visit from YST athlete mentor: The winner of YST’s NSSW social media competition was announced as Sydenham School in London. The school will receive an inspirational athlete mentor visit as a result.

The week finished with YST Chief Executive Ali Oliver joining Sport Minister Mims Davies on a visit to a school in Eastbourne. To see highlights from social media of all the action visit YST’s Wakelet.

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