Over 8,000 competitors have joined Panathlon’s ‘virtual programme’ in just 10 days – and its impact in over 100 schools has already proved to be hugely positive.

The in-school virtual programme – launched in response to Covid-19 restrictions preventing our usual external competitions – has proven massively popular. As well as providing new, innovative activities for SEN pupils, teachers are reporting that its effect has gone far deeper.

The Ashley School in Lowestoft, Suffolk, for example, have adapted their entire PE and sport curriculum and their leadership programme around our virtual activities. The whole school has engaged in the ‘pre-season’ part of the programme.

Panathlon has created and distributed ready-to-use packs of activity rules PDFs, in-school scoring templates and instructional videos to help schools hit the ground running.

At a time when progress is proving so difficult for schools under strict Covid restrictions, Panathlon’s virtual programme is creating positive change.

PE staff and support teachers are getting new ideas on different sports and how to use existing equipment, and are being upskilled in adapting activities for SEN children and increasing inclusion.

The Ashley School’s Andrew Deacon said: “We attended many external Panathlon competitions before the pandemic, but even though we’re doing this in school and not competing directly against other schools, it doesn’t feel watered down. It feels like we’re really doing Panathlon!”

In these first 10 days, schools have fully engaged with the leadership aspect of the virtual programme, with over 750 Young Leaders so far trained in delivering and officiating the new activities with their peers on-site.

Word has spread, with several schools signing up to the programme who have never, or rarely, competed in Panathlon competitions before. Panathlon is working closely with School Games Organisers to make the programme as accessible as possible in many localities.

Tony Waymouth, Panathlon’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “Like everyone else, we have had to adapt to these unprecedented circumstances, but we are absolutely overwhelmed and delighted with the response from schools and School Games organisers to our virtual programme in the first ten days.

“We have worked hard through the summer to come up with activities that will keep students with disabilities and special needs active, motivated and engaged by the prospect of  participating , competing and representing their school, despite the fact they currently cannot leave the school to do so. The level of growth in such a short space of time is incredible.

If your school hasn’t yet joined the Panathlon virtual programme, contact your local School Games Organiser or email tony@panathlon.com

A montage of some of the activities in the Balance and Agility section can be seen here.