The Panathlon Foundation has been involved with St Mary’s University in Twickenham for the past three years and we are continuing to extend the support that the University plays in helping the delivery of the Foundation’s work in West London.

Our developing partnership is built upon local involvement and allows us to collectively develop opportunities for young disabled people within the West London area.

The Foundation’s programmes fit with the University’s philosophy and their increasing involvement with this target group. Together, we are ideally positioned to complement and develop provision for young severely disabled people.

Over the past three years the University’s physical and sport education students have volunteered as officials at the West London Panathlon Challenge multi-sports competition at the University Sports Village.

This year’s event took place on 21st March and attracted 18 local special-needs schools, spanning Hillingdon to Sutton, who were bidding for the right to qualify for the London Finals at the Olympic Park.

The year groups received a three-hour training course a month prior to the competition in five disability sports – boccia, new-age kurling, polybat, table cricket and adapted athletics. The students specialised in one of these sports and officiated in that sport at the competition.

On competition day the Tennis Centre at St Mary’s was transformed into a venue for all five sports, as well as presentation and team areas for the event.

St Mary’s students help judge a Panathlon boccia competition

The students scored and adjudicated the games, and structured the competition to enable the day to flow through to its conclusion.

Already in this academic year St Mary’s students have undertaken Panathlon-adapted sport training and will again be volunteering as team leaders at Panathlon competitions.

The students will also be given the opportunity to undertake their placement hours within Panathlon-linked schools to help support and deliver high-quality adapted PE/sport. Session plans have been formulated to help this process.

In addition, St Mary’s will be hosting some Panathlon-linked schools for PE sessions.

Alexandra Monk, lecturer on the Physical and Sport Education programme, said: “St Mary’s University and Panathlon have been working together to create a mutually beneficial relationship, which is evolving over time.

“Students have thoroughly enjoyed the invaluable experience of working with young people with a range of disabilities and experienced teachers/coaches.

“Adapted PE/sport coaching/teaching is a strong pathway of interest for PSE students, with many students electing to take these modules to further expand their skills as future PGCE and coaching students.”

Tony Waymouth, Panathlon’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “Panathlon and St Mary’s University look forward to delivering the next phase of the partnership.

“Panathlon sees St Mary’s as a key partner in West London and is lucky to have such an excellent educational establishment as part of its programme enhancement and delivery.”