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Brookfields pioneer Panathlon’s ‘new normal’

September 17th, 2020

Panathlon’s ‘new normal’ took shape this week as Brookfields Specialist SEN School in Reading were the first to try out our virtual in-school competition format.

With Covid-19 restrictions preventing us staging any competitions since March, Panathlon made a decision ahead of the autumn term that if we can’t get the schools to come to us, we shall go to them.

So in the last few weeks, we have distributed resource packs, activity cards and instructional video clips to staff at participating schools so they can run events themselves using school equipment. All the activities are skill-based and designed for schools to deliver the fair play ethos of Panathlon through simplified and varied competitions which will develop confidence and self-belief in every individual.

There are separate activity packs for primary, secondary and special schools. Each will submit their results and send monitoring forms to a Panathlon representative. We then send back certificates and medals.

Pupils test out ‘river crossing’ kurling

As long-term regulars at our competitions (our National Special School primary champions in 2019, no less!) we are delighted that Brookfields School were the first to take the plunge.

Using the guidance for special schools, Brookfields students engaged in activities in the school hall that tested:

  • balance and agility (precision bean bag, funfair and parachute popped)
  • target hitting (‘Into the Tower’ and ‘Kurling Knockout’ using kurling stones, and ‘Direct Hit’ and ‘Harlem Hoops’ using balls)
  • throws (‘Noughts and Crosses’, ‘Traffic Lights’, ‘Boccia Blast’ and ‘Flip It’ using boccia balls, hoops and light beach balls).

“Our Columbus class really enjoyed participating in the different kurling games. They tried out ‘Into the Tower’ where they were good at choosing which cones to push from,” said Brookfields’ Head of PE, Tor Carter.

Speaking at last year’s National Special Schools Final at Stoke Mandeville Stadium, Brookfields PE teacher Matt Crozier said: “At our school we think it’s really important that PE is competitive. The outside world is competitive so these opportunities to win, lose or draw are vital for them.

‘Into the Tower’ in Brookfields assembly hall

“It’s all about getting the chance to work as a team. The games are nice, simple activities that they can all do. It’s very inclusive and so valuable.”

Our new ‘virtual’ events taking place at schools is Phase 1 of our post-Covid plans and will run through the autumn term. Phase 2, after Christmas, will see either another series of ‘virtual’ events in multiple schools, or Panathlon staff visiting schools or holding external test events (depending on Covid-19 measure in place at the time).

For further information if needed, please contact your local SGO or tony@panathlon.com – as the entry process and event deadlines will vary from county to county.

To download PDFs which give an overview of our ‘virtual’ in-school activities, click the relevant link below:

See the video below for an example of one of the activities, called ‘Murray Movement’ from our ‘Balance and Agility’ section.