Pupils from primary and secondary schools across the county have been competing in a range of activities during the Essex Special School Games. The Games are organised by Active Essex in collaboration with the Multi-Schools Council, to provide an inclusive event designed for students with special needs or disabilities.
This year, the games were hosted at Basildon Sporting Village, with over 200 children taking part from 15 schools across Essex, Southend and Thurrock. Students of all ages were invited to compete in a number of activities including Quad Athletics, Basketball, New Age Kurling, Boccia and Handball. Each activity was led by expert coaches and supported by young leaders from New Rickstones Academy.
The games are designed by the Multi-School Council, born out of a need and want from young people with special needs and disabilities to be offered the chance to compete against others and represent their school. The council was initiated by the children to break down perceptions around special needs and mental health difficulties, providing young people an opportunity to improve their confidence and develop personal and social skills alongside promoting values like democracy and tolerance. The Special School Games offer a fantastic opportunity for these young people to get involved in physical activity in a way that best suits them and their needs.
Jason Fergus, Director of Active Essex said; “This event has gone from strength to strength, and it has been very exciting to see young people with special educational needs and disabilities across the county having the opportunity to compete in such a wide variety of sports, make new friends and have some fun.”
Kierran Pearce, Multi-Schools Council Lead, set up the Multi-Schools Council 8 years ago, said: “The Multi-Schools Council aims to change perceptions by hosting child led events, like the Special School Games. By building these links and connections, children become educated about the differences we all have, rather than it becoming the topic in the room that nobody wants to talk about.”