Over the past two day 84 primary aged students have had the opportunity to partipicate in a Panathlon coaching or competition day. With funding secured from the Mayor of London, the Panathlon Primary programme enables primary aged students to learn a variety of different sports and additionally be guided by our Young Leaders, and this week 31 leaders, 11 of which have Learning Difficulties, assisted over the two days.

Mayor of London Logo 2014    The first coaching day on Tuesday was Marjorie McClure School in Bromley. Twelve eager students ranging from 6 to 10 years old learned 5 different sports including Boccia Blast, Flight Path, New Age Kurling, Table Cricket and Volleybat, with students rotating around each activity, accumulating their points as they went.

Away from the competitive aspect of the day however, there were some fantastic performances. In particular, Abdi, a student at Marjorie McClure “Often doesn’t join in with sporting activities, and so to see him taking part today, showing excellent behaviour, shows real progress” said Guy Wilkins, PE teacher at Marjorie McClure. Furthermore, credit must be given to the 11 MLD further education leaders who are also based at the School. These students showed real enthusiasm throughout the day and demonstrated leadership skills beyond their years. We are now looking to involve them in further external Panathlon competitions in the new year.

On Wednesday it was Becontree Leisure Centre in Barking and Dagenham turn for some Primary Panathlon Competition. 9 local schools comprised of both infants and juniors, many of whom had never previously taken part in any Panathlon activity. The 72 students in attendance were split in to 8 teams and then competed across the 8 Primary Panathlon activities, comprising Messi Football Skills, Table Cricket, Precision Beanbag, Parachute Popcorn, Boccia Blast, Volleybat, New Age Kurling and Flight Path.

At the half way stage, the yellow team from Warren Primary were in the lead with the orange team (William Bellamy) in a close second. These 2 teams continued their form and finished in the same places, but the real surprise was in bronze position, where the newcomers from Five Elms Primary leap frogged 3 teams on the last activity to pinch the bronze medal. A huge congratulations must go to all of the competitors for trying their best throughout the day and behaving so impeccably well.

The need for this event in Barking and Dagenham is huge. We had 9 teams and all the teachers see these activities as a way of engaging their students in competitive physical activity and it’s fantastic because everyone who attends seems to give brilliant feedback.” said Yvonne O’Keefe, a teacher at All Saints School.

Andrea Wylde, Valence Primary. said, “A brilliant event from Panathlon today, all of our students were engaged and involved with each and every sport which is often not the case. The day has been extremely well organised and our students confidence has increased hugely as the day has gone on. Finally, the leaders from All Saints that have been trained up are a credit to their school- they really understood our kids and got all of them involved.”