Outstanding Inclusive Practice

Sponsored by Sports Direct

Awarded to a special, Pupil Referral Unit or Alternative Provision school that that has used PE, sport and play to re-engage young people, many of whom face varying complex challenges, in their education outside of a mainstream setting.

Winner - Wave Multi Academy Trust, Devon & Cornwall

Photo of winners at awards evening

As a Multi Academy Trust of 11 Alternative Provision (AP) Academies across Devon and Cornwall, Wave Academy are determined that movement and exercise are a fundamental pillar of their work in supporting young people who have been excluded from school.

The Trust leads on a premise that PE, movement and exercise is prioritised within the curriculum daily and pupils now have more opportunity to engage in sport and play. It is fundamental that pupils are supported to learn how to interact in positive ways, to take turns, to communicate and to channel any anger and frustrations correctly. They learn to experience ‘play’, learn to cooperate as a team and to learn how to stay healthy which all helps to build resilience for the future.

The Trust are determined to make a difference, and through Youth Sport Trust, they have designed a longitudinal study to ‘trial and learn’ through innovation and study the impact of this work, as they reflect and make the most difference to pupils in the Trust, and beyond.

Following a ‘Shelter Box’ approach, the Trust have created a ‘PE in a Box’ in every Academy. The boxes were designed with equipment that could be used in any classroom, where traditional spaces like a hall or the ability to be outdoors might not be available. This was followed with specific training for all staff.

The difference this made was apparent straight away. Pupils are engaged in physical activity in a way they never were before with enjoyment of and achievement in PE growing. Non specialist teachers in both primary and secondary are increasingly confident in delivering PE and are creating space in their curriculum for PE which is non-negotiable. A PE Trust Lead was appointed, as well as Primary Lead, to support teachers through subject networks which meet regularly as the Trust looks to further build curriculum provision.

Challenges remain, but the Trust are determined to seek solutions as a team. The work in increasing access and opportunity for young people who are excluded, vulnerable and often disadvantaged, is growing exponentially and the effects in terms of engagement and attendance are already being seen. This work is making a huge difference locally to excluded young people, and the hope is that this approach can be replicated nationally.

Highly Commended - Warmley Park School, Bristol

Warmley Park School is a Special School that prioritises the well-being and development of young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). Their approach is centred around high expectations, creativity, inspiring resources, care, nurture and celebration of diversity.

As the Youth Sport Trust Lead Inclusion School in the West of England, Warmley Park actively promotes inclusivity and youth leadership through intentional collaboration and co-production.
The Inclusive Youth Leadership programme implemented by Warmley Park has had a significant impact in the region, reaching a wide range of young people, both with and without SEND. It has empowered these young people to shape and provide inclusive sports and physical activities to their peers and younger students in mainstream and specialist settings.

The initiative focuses on collaboration, inclusiveness, and co-creation, bringing together different groups of people to work towards a common goal. As part of the initiative, Warmley Park School are collaborating closely with a number of local schools and School Games Organisers across the West of England, conducting a local trial of a multi-workshop approach. This trial aims to enable aspiring young leaders with SEND to deliver a series of inclusive events for their peers.

The workshop model consisted of four key stages. First was Meet and Greet where two cohorts of students from different schools came together to build a sense of team identity and belonging. Next came Plan and Design where the group collaboratively created a shared vision of what they will deliver and how they will do it. Following this is the Prepare & Resource stage as roles and responsibilities are adopted as they prepare to deliver their planned content to primary-aged individuals in the immediate locality. The final stage was Festival Time where two young leader-led events were organised,

During the festivals, young leaders held principal and pivotal roles in leading all activities throughout the day. They welcomed participants, delivered sports content at activity stations, and ensured inclusivity for all abilities through a variety of participation and competition opportunities. The structure of the day was designed to provide challenges while also allowing participants to experience success.

The initiative aims to showcase its potential by inviting School Games Organisers not only from the immediate area but also from the wider West of England region. This demonstration is intended to pave the way for implementing the pilot program region-wide in the 2023-24 academic year.
Post-festival, extended opportunities are being established to ensure that programme participants have pathways for continued engagement.


Full list of shortlisted entries:

  • Orchard Manor School, Devon
  • Riverside School, Antrim
  • Warmley Park School, Bristol
  • Wave Multi Academy Trust, Devon & Cornwall
  • Wings School Notts, Nottinghamshire