Quilters Junior School, Billericay, created the Quilters Paralympic week, alongside Power 2 Inspire and Active Essex, to increase knowledge and awareness of inclusion in their school. They wanted to teach, promote and embed key Paralympic values among their pupils, along with key values such as tolerance, understanding and respect.
Jim Messenger, from Active Essex said, “Mike Wade at the Quilters School came up with the vision for this event and we were delighted to be able to support such a pioneering approach to raising awareness that anyone can be involved in and have fun with sport and physical activity, no matter what their ability.”
Activities included sitting Volleyball, visually impaired Football, Floor Lacrosse and New Age Kurling. 168 parents, grandparents and carers took part throughout the week, further highlighting to pupils that being active is for everyone. Throughout the week guests and pupils met, listened to, worked with and were inspired by a range of role models. These included, Anne Wafula-Strike MBE (GB Paralympic Sprinter and Active Essex Board member), Freya Levy (Panathlon Co-Ordinator for Schools and Active Essex Disabled Sports Personality 2018) and Donna Robinson (Sport for Confidence, All Together Ambassador and Boccia Coach).
The infectious enthusiasm throughout the week and the joy demonstrated through very noisy celebrations, hid the extraordinary learning being had. John Willis, from Power 2 Inspire, the provider of the programme said, “The Power House Games are so much more than just learning a few new activities, it shows that there is a sport out there for you. Sport is inclusive and if you learn ealy, you will have the mindset that everyone can be included.”
Mike Wade, Head Teacher of Quilters Junior School for 7 years, said after the week, “Every school in Essex should arrange for John Willis to visit their school. His openness, honesty, wit, love of life and unceasing determination to live life to the full made this the most inspirational event I have personally ever been involved with. For many of the children here, it will be life changing and proves to them that anything is possible.”
McKenzie, a pupil from the school said, “Next time a voice in my head says, ‘I can’t’ I am going to think about Paralympic Week and remind myself that I can!”
Schools, parents, coaches and teachers constantly tell children to never give in and that anything is possible. Perhaps, to some pupils this message is hard to act upon – they find things challenging and are not able to be as resilient as they would like. For students at Quilters Junior School, this week changed that.
Looking forward to 2019, Active Essex are looking to cascade onwards with John Willis and get Paralympic Week to more schools in Essex.