Supporting students from Ukraine in school sport and PE

It is anticipated that over 100,000 Ukrainian children will be attending schools in the UK over the coming months. As children from Ukraine start to join your school, they may have experienced trauma from leaving home behind, and the journey that followed. These children have a challenging transition facing them and teachers have a critical role in helping develop a child’s sense of place and belonging, along with identiyfing and providing the right support where needed.

From research, we have identified the top ten most popular sports played in Ukraine and designed activity cards that can be used to play these sports. For each sport, there is a key fact that may be helpful in discussing the sport with your pupils, and then suggested activities. They can be translated into Ukrainian and Russian by using the toolbar at the top of this page.

Football IconFootball

Key Fact: Ukraine has four levels of football. The most popular league is the Vyscha Lika which is also known as the Ukrainian Premier League.


Basketball icon

Key Fact: Basketball teams from Ukraine often progress into the Eurocup basketball championship. The top Ukrainian League is called the Ukrainian Basketball Super League.


Hockey IconHockey

Key Fact: Hockey is a common sport. Sokol Kyiv is the most popular team. Ukraine also has a Ukraine National ice hockey team.



Key Fact: Six Ukrainian athletes took part in the world indoor championships in March. The all female team took part in events including high jump, long jump, triple jump, and pole vault. Ukraine has a rich history at the World Indoor Championships and are 13th on the all-time medal list with 34 – including nine golds, 14 silvers and 11 bronzes.



Key Fact: The Ukrainian Women’s Volleyball Super League is the highest professional women’s volleyball league in Ukraine. The Ukrainian Men's Volleyball Super League is the top men's league of Ukrainian volleyball. It was founded in 1992.



Key Fact: Ukraine is noted for producing some of the most skilled boxers in recent times, including brothers Wladimir and Vitali Klitchsko, who, now retired, won multiple world titles throughout their career.



Key Fact: Rhythmic gymnastics is considered one of the most popular sports ever in Ukraine. Many Ukrainian rhythmic gymnasts, such as Anna Bessonova, Natalia Godunko, Elena Vitrichenko and Alexandra Timoshenko, succeeded to be the top rhythmic gymnasts ever in this world. Rhythmic gymnastics clubs are almost everywhere in Ukraine.



Key Fact: Swimming in Ukraine has always been a popular activity and during the warm summer months, people from across the country flock to the nearest rivers and lakes to enjoy the water. Almost every Ukrainian town is situated near a river or lake where you can dip your feet in the water or idle away your time on the shore.



Key Fact: Most of the matches for the last 10 years are conducted at Voskhod Stadium, which essentially is a football pitch adapted for cricket. Cricket matches are played on a matting wicket. The format consists of T-20 (ICC Rules).



Key Fact: Rugby union in Ukraine is a minor but growing sport, with a history dating back over six decades. The games tend to be centred in the capital, Kyiv. It is quite common for rugby in Ukraine to be played using a mixture of rugby union and rugby league rules. 


Competition to Support Transition Resources

As the transition for young people coming into your school will be difficult, the following resources provide additional support for you to consider, using sport as a catalyst to further develop a sense of belonging in your school community:

These resources focus on the principles of pupil experiences moving from primary to secondary school; however, the principles of transition will be very similar for your new pupils in your school community.