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Cheshire Schools embrace Panathlon ethos

July 14th, 2020

One of Panathlon’s recent successes has been with Penny Moorfield, Lead for Inclusion in Cheshire and Warrington.

Panathlon have worked with the Cheshire and Warrington area over a number of years now and the schools engagement in the county has grown year on year, as word has got round about the high quality sporting opportunities on offer.

Last year saw ten of Cheshire Special Schools, one ‘Challenging Behaviours Unit’ and five Mainstream High Schools with large designated provision, involved in the calendar of activities that Panathlon offered. Schools are always ‘blown away’ by the quality of the offer and the awards given to the young people at the end of each event.

We delivered Primary and Secondary Panathlons in Multisport, several Primary and Secondary Swim Galas and a summer schedule was in place but COVID meant that these were postponed for the time being.

Panathlon supported other programmes for Cheshire and Warrington area too. Penny Moorfield, the lead for Inclusion of schools has also put on the ‘Step into Sport’ Conference where she used Panathlon as the activity to train the Young Leaders, many of them with SEN during the Conference.

These Young Leaders then support activities later in the school year such as the North West Regional Panathlon finals.

Penny as a School Games Organiser with the County Lead for Inclusion, has used Panathlon as support for their Boccia and New Age Kurling School Games County Finals too.

Dialogue with Panathlon as to helping with the future and school recovery phase, has seen partnership working with them around virtual activities that can be done in schools with the hope that eventually we will be able to resume our inter school county sporting calendar.

Another important aspect has been the link with Priestley College and use of their students as Young Leaders (pictured) and how they have developed a programme over the years to include in College modules.

Many schools that Penny has involved in Panathlon has seen the benefit. Phil Poole at Oakland school says, “The Panathlon was inspirational for us at Oaklands. We attend many competitions and try to get involved with as much sport as we can. We often have difficulties finding suitable competition.

Often we are pitched in mainstream competitions where they have a category for us and perhaps one other school. Or we find ourselves in competitions where we are competing with students with more severe difficulties than many of our students.

The Panathlon was the perfect blend for those students that we have who miss out on the aforementioned other competitions. Not only was it the perfect level for our students, but it was also one of the best organised competitions that we have ever attended.

The impact for us as a school was so big that we have actually been able to take inspiration and ideas from many of the activities and changed our entire curriculum to become more inclusive. I have been able to adapt what we do due to attending the very first Panathlon event that we took part in at the end of last year.

Our students at all levels, can access and enjoy the new type of lessons that is to become 50% of our curriculum from September. We are very grateful for the opportunity to become part of the Panathlon programme and look forward to more in the future.”

Rosebank School have had the opportunity to attend Panathlon events over the past year and Rachael Atkins at the school has confirmed the impact Panathlon have had.

“These events have been perfect catering for the needs of our students. The Panathlon staff and volunteers have made us feel very welcome at all events we have attended and have made sure our pupils have felt included and happy with the activities, as well as being very aware and understanding of the needs of our children. The events have been really well structured and every child that attends has an equal opportunity to take part.

Rosebank have been lucky enough to win various trophies and certificates at Panathlon swimming, multi-sports and ten pin bowling events. These successes have given our students a massive confidence boost and it has been great to bring back the trophies and celebrate their achievements in school.

The Panathlon events have given our pupils the chance to explore and try new activities that they have never been involved in before and this has been extremely beneficial to our students here at Rosebank School.

We cannot wait to be involved in more events in the near future.”

Panathlon thanks Penny Moorfield for her support and embracing the charity as a key partner.