Three Commonwealth Games athletes have helped launch the School Games’ role in the United by Birmingham 2022 programme by hosting a nationally available Active Assembly at St Margaret’s Primary School in Anfield.
The School Games is a programme that aims to inspire young people to be physically active for life through positive experiences of daily activity and competition, in order to support their wider development. The School Games will be delivering the United by Birmingham 2022’s mission to improve the health and wellbeing of young people across the country, particularly those who need it most, using inspiration from Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
At the launch Year 5 and 6 children at St Margaret’s took part in fun physical activity, led by two former Commonwealth Games athletes, gymnast Steve Frew and badminton player Jenny Wallwork.
Para-swimmer and future Birmingham 2022 competitor Grace Harvey, former gymnast Steve Frew and former badminton athlete Jenny Wallwork hosted the ‘School Games Active Assembly’ and took the children through various physical activities and other exercises inspired by Birmingham 2022, ahead of visiting classrooms to share their positive sport experiences with the children. From children eagerly answering questions to miming different sports, and doing some fun indoor exercises from running on the spot to squats, the assembly was non-stop active!
A boost of £2 million from Sport England, via National Lottery funding will see the School Games network of 450 School Games organisers, 41 Active Partnerships and London Youth Games motivate more inactive young people than ever before. The School Games organisers will reach over 19,000 schools across the country and use local data and insight to home in on inequalities faced by local young people and ensure that those who need it most get the benefits.
This targeting of young people facing inequalities is essential as research suggests COVID-19 has had a negative impact on physical activity. Recent findings from Sport England found that there were 94,000 fewer active children and young people compared to the year before the pandemic with those from less affluent families remaining the least active, and this differential gap having widened since the start of the pandemic.
Mark Griffiths, headteacher at St Margaret’s Anfield C of E Primary School, said: “We were delighted to be asked to host the School Games Active Assembly. As a school we value the impact PE and sport can have on the mental and physical well-being of our children. We ensure our children receive opportunities to take part in a variety of different sports, regardless of ability. We attend competitions organised by Liverpool School Sports Partnership (LSSP) across the city to challenge our children to apply their new skills they have developed in their PE lessons, after school clubs and coaches we have who visit our school.
“The assembly was inspiring, motivating, and fun and the School Games will continue to have a positive impact on our children, and we look forward to cheering on Grace Harvey at Birmingham 2022.”
Grace Harvey said: “From a young age, I have felt the benefits of keeping active, in my case with swimming. With a home Commonwealth Games on the horizon, I want to use my experience to help motivate children to get involved with sport at a young age. The Active Assembly and the wider work the School Games is doing is a great platform to reach all young people across the country at once!”
Ali Oliver MBE, CEO of Youth Sport Trust said: “It’s very fitting and really exciting that the School Games will be able to further its existing offer to local schools as part of the United by Birmingham 2022 programme of inspired activities.
“In the aftermath of the pandemic, young people, especially those facing inequality, can benefit in so many ways from play and sport. With the inspiration of the Commonwealth Games this summer and additional support from Sport England through National Lottery funding, we are able to give even more children and young people the opportunity to participate, to develop their skills, and be healthier and happier.”
Tim Hollingsworth, CEO of Sport England, said: “Our research shows that giving children positive and fun experiences of sport and activity at a young age builds lifelong healthy habits. And the joy and excitement around the Commonwealth Games is sure to inspire children all over the country. The next step is to take that inspiration and turn it into something more. We’re delighted to be supporting the School Games to ensure that all children have the opportunity to get active, helping our future generation to be happier and healthier.”
You can view the School Games Active Assembly from St Margaret’s Anfield at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdYX26xgu1w