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I don’t think there’s any better way for the kids to develop their confidence. I’ve seen them develop from shy, retiring children to really confident young men and women. It’s life-changing.

Janine Edwards, teaching assistant at Whitmore High School, Harrow

Lillie had no confidence in the water, but today she amazed us, the activities made it so inclusive and the all the children surprised us what they could do, today gave children at Norfolk Primary a chance to shine.

Norfolk Primary Parent, Natalie Mitchell

Kieran Rutter, Great Arley School 13, “I feel proud to be here in this venue. It shows if you work really hard you can earn experiences and medals like this. Put your head down, don’t worry about anyone else, and just head for the gold!”

Panathlon is the best organised sports event that we go to. The children love the whole day, the experience of competing and socialising with other teams.

Neil Dawson , Head of PE, Wilson Stuart School, Birmingham

We are so excited to have finally won a Panathlon event after so many years of trying! It’s great for this group to be able to take part. Now they have won, it only increases the importance of this new event for them.

Cherie Lashmar, Head of PE Columbus College

I love competing against other schools as it’s great to meet new people. We’re over the moon and amazed to be going to the Olympic Park.

Danielle, Islington

It’s amazing. The kids couldn’t stop talking about it. They’ve been working really hard over the last term – practice, practice, practice. They’ve been really excited about today for a few weeks. Look at the venue. You couldn’t ask for anywhere better to compete – this really is the icing on the cake.

Jonathan Bath, teacher at The Village School, Brent

Panathlon helps with the kids’ independence and helps them socially, meeting other children from other schools and just giving them a bit of experience of life outside of school.

Judy Wells, teaching assistant, Fairfax School, Birmingham

My favourite things about today were the races, the medals and the freedom. I felt fresh, healthy and free in the pool. The ball race was my favourite.

Riley Kane, aged 11, Lowestoft, Suffolk

Panathlon is unique in bringing everyone together; people with learning difficulties or physical disabilities – they all get to take part, which is great. It’s a level playing field and everyone has a chance of competing.

Dan O’Brien, teacher at Woodfield School, Brent

“This morning they were so excited – I can’t even begin to describe it! There was a town crier on the train and he rang his bell to announce we were competing here to the whole platform!”

Sue Brown, Beckers Green

This is my last Panathlon for the school, it has been a brilliant experience, coming to Panathlon events has changed me as a person, I’ve met new people, been to new places, had life experiences out of school, thank you Panathlon.

Scott Jefferies, Student, New Oscott School

“We have been talking about this event for months. We held the regional qualifier at our school so that has just built up the excitement. These days, it’s all about inclusion and a lot of mainstream schools are focused on competition, which leads to some less-able children actually being excluded. This [Panathlon] allows us to compete and it’s fantastic for the students and the school that they have reached this national level.”

Matthew Crowhurst, Moor House Head of PE

It’s been absolutely amazing for the students to be able to access Panathlon – to come away and work as team, have a go at different events and cheer each other on. It’s really important for these kids to have that opportunity. Sport should be for everyone, so why shouldn’t they have a chance to take part?

Jess Russell, sports coordinator at Paddock School, Wandsworth

At the end of a Panathlon event I feel like it’s a big achievement for me, because I can’t really do many sports. This is one I can do, and I love it.


PE is so important in our school and the benefits of events like Panathlon extend well beyond the day itself. No matter what the disability, no matter how severe or mild, they are all here competing and as one. It’s incredible.

Troy Gering, PE coordinator at Phoenix School, Tower Hamlets

Panathlon is great for Scott and has made him more confident. Years ago I had to push him to get him involved. Now he loves to participate and he will make the first move

Heather Pope, mother of Scott, runner-up at the 2014 Jack Petchey Outstanding Achievement Award

“For them to be competing in the same venue where world-class athletes have performed just swells their pride. Their excitement levels have been through the roof!”

Teacher of the Deaf, Jo Hughes.

Last year it was just Ryan who came along. Ryan doesn’t play in any school teams, but with the way Panathlon is structured, with fun, different activities, he really enjoyed it. When he got back to school with a medal, he was just hero worshipped. It was just brilliant for his self-esteem.

Jo Pople, teaching assistant at Watermoor Primary School, Cirencester, Glos

“I’ve loved it times a trillion! Before it starts you’re nervous and excited and you want to win, but when you’re here you forget all that and just enjoy it. Being a team, you feel like you’re part of something and you feel that no matter whether you win or lose, you have someone to back you up.”

Mollie, Goldbeaters School

“Panathlon gives my pupils with severe learning difficulties a sense of belonging. It’s such an amazing opportunity, it gives them an immense sense of achievement. They get huge attention and praise from their peers back at school for it and it inspires the younger ones to join in when they’re a bit older. When they compete at school in sport it’s more fun-based and against their own peers but when they go out of school to places like this they learn about what it means to be competitive. The kids really respond to that. It’s been a long trip but it’s been so worth it.”

John Rice, PE co-ordinator at Merefield School

I amazed how well all teams worked together, they truly showed what the meaning of a ‘team’ is.

Reece Goldie, Leader from Accrington Academy

Panathlon makes it easier to set up targets and motivate my kids. During lessons, if you keep reminding them of Panathlon, we improve their behaviour and everything else improves from there.

Maria Papazoglou, PE coordinator at Whitefield Schools, Waltham Forest

It’s great to be back at Panathlon which is one of my highlights of the year. I’m delighted that we’ll be competing once again at the Olympic Park in June.

Georgina Hart