Eighty-six pupils from 12 schools had an absolute ball as Panathlon held its first ever competition in South Wales. 

Children with disabilities and special needs in North Wales have benefited from Panathlon’s inclusive sports competitions since 2018, but the recent event at Hollywood Bowl in Cwmbran was our first foray south of The Valleys. 

One child from Coed Eva Primary School said “This was the best day of my life!” 

His teacher, Fran Jordan from the Federation of Blenheim Road Community and Coed Eva Primary Schools in Cwmbran, added: “A massive thank you for organising such a fantastic opportunity and experience for our children to take part in. They loved every moment. 

“It provided a wonderful space for schools to come together and was a fun activity that all children could get access and get involved in. We would love to be part of future multi-skills activities with Panathlon.” 

Vicki Adkins, Wellbeing and Inclusion Facilitator at Greenmeadow Primary School, reflected: “My staff absolutely loved the event. It was so well organised and all the children were having fun and engaged. We cannot wait for the next event!  

“Our pupils came back stating how much they loved the bowling. They could not wait to show off their medals and talk about all of their skills! They also enjoyed the dip in the box prizes!” 

Our inaugural South Wales gold medallists from Pontnewydd Primary School

The winners of the competition were Pontnewydd, with Marshfield finishing second and Gymraeg Bro Helvg picking up bronze medals. 

Stacey Stevens, the Additional Learning Needs Coordinator at Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Helyg, said the event helped to soothe parents’ anxieties about children taking part in external competitions. 

“A lot of our parents can lack confidence to take their children with additional learning needs to events where there are lots of children present,” she said. 

“Two of our pupils had never been bowling before yesterday and one of these pupils won a certificate for scoring 100. This was lovely to see. 

“We would definitely be interested in your events in the future. I had several of the 12 parents approach me before the events to say how excited the children were to go bowling. I think it was also an excellent idea as it was so inclusive.  

“Thank you once again for a great afternoon and want more events for these children.” 

We already have a full house for our next competition in South Wales, a primary Panathlon at Cwmbran Stadium on 14 June. 

Tony Waymouth, Panathlon’s Chief Operating Officer, commented: “We are always delighted to bring new areas of the country into the Panathlon family. We look forward to developing and diversifying our programmes in South Wales so that children with additional learning needs can be active and enjoying all the benefits of inter-school competition.”