Our first One in a Million award for 2021, goes to a group of incredible people who work tirelessly to ensure the children and young people of Greater Essex have the opportunity to be active and have fun whilst doing so.

Working alongside their schools they have done a fantastic job over the years of the School Games programme however, we would particularly like to commend their efforts for all their hard work since the start of 2020.

The role of the School Games Organiser is focused on increasing physical activity levels for all children and young people.  Within their role they support and organise sport and physical activity opportunities and competition within a school, between schools and at a county level.  They can create pathways for young people to experience new things and to develop their skills, which extends to health-related activities, extra-curricular clubs, supporting staff CPD and sign posting to local clubs or activities.

2020 started positively with our County final events running smoothly and having high levels of participation.  These events included our Winter Games, Inclusive events and the start of our Spring Games series.  As usual, the team went above and beyond to ensure their schools were well prepared and that entries and all aspects of event management ran smoothly providing our children and young people the opportunity to participate in high quality competitive sport. The Covid:19 pandemic unfortunately brought an end to our Level 3 large scale events, but this did not deter the SGOs!

Since March, the team have remained positive and dedicated in their roles, to help their schools and pupils by sharing innovative ideas, lesson plans and videos, to support and promote the importance of physical activity and wellbeing at this difficult time. The SGOs have all been instrumental in helping to ensure children across our county and their parents have resources to enable them to stay active and healthy at home. Many have continued to deliver in schools where possible/able to do so, supporting both vulnerable and key worker children through the lockdown periods and have ensured that schools were equipped with the correct government information when it came to returning to PE lessons and extracurricular activity.  Some partnerships have also been instrumental in the delivery of holiday programmes with food provision, as well as providing virtual leadership and afterschool clubs.

In partnership with Active Essex the Virtual School Games offer was created alongside events such as Skip, Hop, Hooray – National fitness day, promoting the delivery of The Daily Mile and the Santa’s Dash! They also helped to produce the new PE and Physical Activity at home series, which launched in January 2021 and includes session plans and ideas for both parents and teachers.

Dawn Emberson, Active Essex Children and Young Person Lead, said: “I am so pleased that the SGO team in Greater Essex has been awarded as a One in a Million. For their constant enthusiasm, creativity, and determination to ensure children and young people continue to live happy, healthy, and active lives, we thank you!”

For more information about the resources the Essex SGO team and Active Essex have put together for teachers and parents, see below: