Support Mental Health Awareness Week and deliver inclusion sport

8th May 2017

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week. We know that the benefits of physical activity stretch far beyond that of the physical and seep into the mental health and wellbeing of young people. With more young people than ever being mentally unwell it has never been more important to ensure every young person has the opportunity to access physical activity and nurture their mental wellbeing.

In this blog, we will look to explore five ways in which teachers can engage in inclusive school sport and break down some of the common barriers associated with it.

Equipping teachers with the tools to develop young people effectively through inclusive school sport will eliminate barriers for young people with SEND. We want to use Mental Health Awareness Week as a platform to changing the perception there is a lack of opportunity for these students will play a vital part in overcoming many barriers and helping schools to change more young peoples’ lives through physical activity. The accurate landscape portrays a positive outlook, with opportunities for both schools and young people becoming abundant and more importantly accessible for any level.

School Games
School Games is a national programme, providing a unique opportunity to inspire young people to take part in competitive sport. Broken down into four levels of intra-school, inter-school, festivals and the School Games, schools are able to compete at whatever level they choose. At all levels there are increased opportunities for young people with SEND to compete at a local, regional or national level.

For more information on how your school can get involved in School Games go to www.yourschoolgames.com and visit the inclusion section.

Active Kids Paralympic Challenge
Active Kids Paralympic Challenge consists of a series of challenges, all of which have been developed to maximise the learning outcomes in relation to the national curriculum programme of study, and will support the objectives of the Government’s Primary PE and Sport Premium.

To aid schools’ delivery, they can access free downloadable resources including teaching cards and videos that will showcase the sports of athletics, boccia, goalball and sitting volleyball. Schools participating in the challenges can win prizes such as an inclusive playground makeover and athlete mentor school visits.

For more details and to register to take part, go to www.activekidsparalympicchallenge.co.uk.

Inclusive Futures
Inclusive Futures is a leadership and volunteering initiative for young people, with special emphasis on inclusion. Young people aged 14-19, with and without disabilities can work alongside each other to support and deliver physical activities in schools and communities.

To find out how your students can get involved in Inclusive Futures go to www.youthsporttrust.org/content/inclusivefutures and find your local coordinator.

Top Sportsability
TOP Sportsability is a free online resource for schools and offers practical advice to teachers, learning support staff and other sports practitioners. It consists of video clips and downloadable content showing ideas and strategies around the inclusion of young disabled people in physical activity.

It aims to provide physical activity and sport options for young people with high support needs and create a vehicle for the inclusion of all young people together. It also aims to provide a basic introduction to a wide range of sports and activities in support of the School Games programme.

Go to www.topsportsability.co.uk to register and get started for free.

Inclusive equipment
It can be a challenge for schools when trying to coordinate sport and physical opportunities for students with SEND and access equipment within reasonable budget parameters.

Here at the YSD, we have a dedicated offering to inclusion sport, including the official Boccia England boccia set and New Age Kurling equipment.

We have also recently launched an entry level multi sport wheelchair for truly inclusive wheelchair sport. Available in a range of colours and sizes, the chair can be used for a variety of sports, across a range of levels and abilities. This allows schools to access multipurpose equipment and makes delivery of a number of wheelchair sports achievable. Manufactured in Britain with partner Roma Sport, it allows schools to access affordable, high quality equipment for truly inclusive PE and school sport.

For more information visit out disability sport section.

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