Inspired by the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Sainsbury’s School Games is designed to boost participation in competitive sport for young people of all abilities and backgrounds, by significantly enhancing the year-round calendar of competitive school sport.

With a history of working with special schools and severely disabled young people, the Panathlon Challenge was invited to be part of the School Games and their offering to schools to engage severely disabled young people in competitive sport.

The Panathlon Challenge, a team multi-sport activity concept, has been included by a number of counties within their School Games framework.

The inclusion of Panathlon in School Games has had a positive impact, with more county involvement, more levels of competition within counties and accelerated demand for other Panathlon programmes, such as the Primary Panathlon, Swim Panathlon and impairment-specific competitions run by Panathlon outside of the School Games.

This has been a win-win situation for schools entering Panathlon through the School Games route, who now have even more opportunities for competitive sport.

Inclusion in the School Games has also seen new counties use Panathlon programmes in different ways and has had the following positive impacts:

* Engaging more children with special educational needs in competitive sport
* Connecting all levels of the School Games
* Involving Project Ability as a further partner, especially where they act as a representative on the LOC
* Offering more leadership opportunities
* Driving Panathlon to create its own regional structure

Over forthcoming newsletters, a series of case studies will highlight how the School Games and Panathlon have made a positive impact across different counties.

We kick things off this month in Suffolk and a look at the development of a leadership programme at the Ashley Special School in Lowestoft.