Year 5 and 6 pupils from local primary schools participated in a mini Olympics at the University of Chichester.
It was a collaboration between the university, Chichester College, Everyone Active and West Sussex West School Sport Partnership and gave pupils from Parklands, Bosham, Downview, Sidlesham, Edward Bryant, Singleton, Jessie Younghusband, The March and Southbourne Junior School opportunities to take part in hockey, handball, basketball and football and various track athletics.
“The event has been running for a number of years in various formats. It started as a very small event with about 30 children from one school but it’s grown over time and this year we had almost 300 children participate from nine schools,” said Sean O’Connor, who works with schools in the area to engage more young people in sport and helps schools use their Sports Premium funding in the best ways possible to benefit their pupils.
“There are some great community links here between our organisation, the university, the college and Everyone Active who all provide different sports leaders and resources to make sure we can run a successful event. It was very slick this year and a lot of that is down to the student leaders from the university and the college who ran things very smoothly.”
The university leaders responsible for organising the event for a final-year Community Engagement in Sport project comprised sports media students Kyran Glenn, Matt Hambleton and Harry Child and Jamel McFarlane, a sport development and coaching student, who said: “This was a great opportunity for me for my future career to step up and run a partnership event. It’s good to give something back to young people with sport.
“We selected the sports carefully. Some young people might not get the chance to play handball or basketball at school. We didn’t want the whole day to be based on competitive sport because there’s people that like the competitive element and others that don’t. We wanted everyone to be involved in the sports.”
Jamie Holmes, one of the students from Chichester College studying for a Level 3 BTEC extended diploma in sport that helped at the event, said: “We have a unit on the course where we have to plan, prepare and run an event linked to sport. This could be anything from a nutritional talk to running PE sessions at schools, for instance.
“We chose to team up with the students from the university to tackle the Mini-Olympics together. The university students helped us out a lot. The day went really well and everyone seemed to be smiling and having fun.”
O’Connor said, “The feedback from the schools was very good. Everyone has told me how much they’ve enjoyed the event this year. Those that have been regularly said it’s one of the best ones they’ve been to, especially with the athletics in the afternoon.
“All the teachers I spoke to thought the tempo was just right. We squeezed a lot in and the children got a lot of activities.”
Jessie Younghusband School Year 5 class teacher Daniel White said: “It’s great to see all the children taking part. You can tell everyone has really enjoyed the event by the smiles on their faces.”
Professor Mike Lauder, director of the Institute of Sport at the university, said: “Well done to everyone involved. It’s a fantastic local event that gives our students a great experience of putting all that theory into practice.”