Our North West Primary 10-Pin Bowling Grand Prix Final saw 182 competitors descend on three venues from as far afield as North Wales and northern Cumbria to do battle for our regional title!

Ellesmere Port, Bolton and Carlisle hosted Panathlon 10-pin finals on Wednesday 28 February. Our new Grand Prix format saw qualifiers from our local competitions earlier this academic year progress to our regional final, split over multiple venues. Winning teams at each of the three locations were given gold medals – then an overall North West winner was crowned after rapid online score comparisons between each event manager.

The North West Grand Prix champions were Newlaithes Junior School from Carlisle (pictured below). Their teacher Tom King said: “I’m just so proud of the children. This experience for them has been unbelievable. To be champions of the North West is wonderful for all of them.

“They don’t speak to each other much in school as they’re in different years, but they have come together here into such a supportive team, high-fiving and supporting each other. They are a very competitive bunch – and we will now be engaging with a lot more Panathlon opportunities.”

‘You see a completely different side to the kids!’

William Stockton Primary (pictured below) were winners of the Ellesmere Port event but missed out on the overall regional winners’ trophy on points. Their teaching assistant Mia Doel said: “Our trophy from the qualifying event is on show in school and every time the children walk past it, it gives thema real sense of pride. They’re like, ‘We did that!’

“Coming to Panathlon events, you see a completely different side to the kids. It’s so nice to see how they interact and it gives them something that’s just for them.”

A beaming Zach from Meadow Community Primary School said: “This doesn’t happen to me very often! I’m going to show my medal off to my sister!”

Craig Healey, Assistant Headteacher and PE Lead at the Birkenhead Park School , said: “We explained to the children after we won the Wirral heat that this was going to be a regional final. We showed them on the map where the other finalist were from and explained to the parents that this was an opportunity for pupils to compete at a better level.

‘Competitive element is very important’

“It’s very important that these events are competitive. It gives the kids a goal and purpose. They’re cheering each other on and the teamwork is excellent. This is their chance to shine and celebrate their success with the other children back at school. It’s wonderful for their self-esteem.”

Anne Jacques, sports lead at New Brighton Primary, agrees on the importance of competition for children with disabilities and special needs.

“I always bring a mix of children to Panathlons and I’ve never felt that any of the children are out of their depth. I think a bit of competition is healthy. It’s sometimes frowned upon, but it’s part of life and I think it’s very positive. I bring children who aren’t in the same friendship groups and it’s nice how they naturally become friends within a sporting context.”

St John’s Stonefield RC Primary School from Rossendale, winners in the Bolton event

Miss Flanagan from Blackmoor Park Juniors School in Liverpool says the confidence pupils gain from sporting success flows into their academic life.

“It’s nice to see self-confidence grow when they realise how amazing they are and what they can do. That transfers into the classroom. They have smiles on their faces and are really proud of themselves. When we won the qualifying event, everyone at school was asking them questions and they were so proud and excited to explain what they’d achieved.”

Panathlon’s Chief Operating Officer, Tony Waymouth, said: “We are so pleased that the Grand Prix format is proving to be a success. The children feel they are involved in something on a bigger scale and understand the event is bringing them together with other regions, allowing rural and urban areas to compete together at the same time.”