Active Essex has levelled the playing field for Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) sport by hosting their annual Special School Games.
Using the upcoming Rio Paralympics to inspire a new generation of SEND athletes, the County Sports Partnership for Essex has reiterated its commitment to providing opportunities for all children and young people to take part in physical activity.
This year’s event in Basildon saw nearly 300 school children participate in competitive sport as well as ‘come and try’ activities.
Gary Sullivan OBE, Chair of Active Essex, said: “The success of this year’s Special School Games is the result of close partnership working between local organisations and the determination and enthusiasm demonstrated by the pupils that took part.
“The Games are very exciting for Active Essex and we’re proud to be able to offer opportunities for all school children to take part in physical activity and help them realise their potential through sport.”
Competitors participated in a variety of activities including athletics, wheelchair basketball, kwik cricket, swimming and kurling. The events were led by expert coaches and supported by children from both secondary and primary SEND schools.
The event was brought to fruition by Active Essex in partnership with the multi-schools council (a group of pupils from both primary and secondary special and mainstream schools).
Cllr Ray Gooding, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for Sport and Physical Activity, said: “Providing opportunities for all children and young people to take part in sport and physical activity is a major priority for Essex County Council.
“I hope the Special School Games have sparked a passion in the children that took part this year and that they continue to pursue sport in the future - we may have even inspired a future generation of Paralympians.”
Wendy Smith, wheelchair basketball Paralympian, added: “I feel very privileged to have been a part of this year’s Essex special school games.
“There was a wonderful atmosphere on the day and everyone that took part had so much fun. The determination I saw to get better and better was amazing.”