Abigail Morrison was thrown in at the deep end in her new role as School Games Organiser for Wakefield in West Yorkshire with a demand to develop her inclusive offer for local schools.

Aware that Panathlon had provided opportunities for many other schools and SGOs across West Yorkshire, Abigail contacted us – and together we arranged two Panathlon competitions to kickstart provision in the area. 

Pupils in Wakefield took part in a Panathlon Xtend multi-skills competition and nine schools entered a 10-pin bowling competition with us early in the spring term. Local schools have already leapt at the chance to enter a Primary Panathlon in the area in April.

“What’s clear to me straight away is that Panathlon gives pupils the opportunity to compete rather than just come and try something on a one-off basis,” said Abigail.

“Children always enjoy going out to an external venue and doing something that is not a common experience for them – the bonus at these events is that these pupils get to represent the school in a proper competition, get that sense of winning and are able to show other children at school that they earned a medal.”

On the competitions themselves, Abigail added: “It was a lot more accessible for them than normal PE lessons or activities in the playground. They could all achieve their own personal best – that special feeling of being able to see themselves doing well and improving.”

Abigail said Panathlon has already made her role as an SGO far easier in providing meaningful and beneficial activity to offer to schools for pupils with disabilities and special needs. “By yourself as an SGO it can be difficult, especially as we don’t have funding. Being able to offer this to children with SEND is wonderful.”

A staff member from Ash Grove Primary, who entered a team in the 10-pin bowling competition, said: “Thank you so much for this opportunity. Some of the children we sent were Pupil Premium and some had never been bowling before, they were so excited.

“We may have come last, but this event has made a huge impact on these children so thank you for making their year!”

A staff member from Kingsland Primary added: “All the children had an amazing time! They rarely get opportunities like this so attending this event was a big deal for the children and they absolutely loved it.”