Tuesday 17th January saw students from across the London Boroughs of Bexley, Greenwich, Lewisham and Kent & Chelsea come together to compete in the annual Panathlon Challenge Event at St Paul's Academy. This sporting event, which caters for students with a special educational need, was a fantastic opportunity for pupils to engage in a range of new sports, learn new skills, make friends and have fun representing their borough.
Students participated in a range of sports such as boccia, new age curling, polybat as well as a number of athletics events. Students were forthcoming in expressing their opinion on how the day went, highlighting the wonderful time they had as well as the many new skills and lessons they learnt along the way.
Michael from Team Bromley said, ‘At first I was feeling quite nervous but now I’m really excited. My favourite event is new age curling and I can’t wait to do it again next year!’
Mo from St Paul’s Academy, representing Team Greenwich explained how ‘It’s not about winning it’s about having fun and trying your best. Sport is really important to me because it helps me make new friends’. While Robbie from Greenwich expressed how he would ‘like to do the Paralympics when I’m older!’
Teaching staff and carers accompanying students on the day were equally as positive and enthusiastic about the merits of such an event for the holistic development of pupils. Debbie Raines, a teacher accompanying Team Bexley said, ‘I think these events are great. Good for their morale and helps them work in teams. Whether they win or lose they learn.’
The successful delivery of this event would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the help and assistance provided on the day by 23 or our Year 11 Sports Leaders. Throughout the day students delivered a range of sporting activities designed specifically to meet the needs of the participants. Not only did our students do a fantastic job but they also immensely gained from their experiences, developing a range of new skills as well as knowledge and understanding of working with students with special educational needs in a sporting context.
Year 11 students, reflecting on their experiences commented:
‘At first I thought it was going to be simple and easy to interact with the kids. I realised that it was harder than I thought but I am having a really great time.’ (Ping Cabanas – Year 11 Student).
‘Today was enriching, the children’s commitment was outstanding.’ (Aaron Innocent-Hill – Year 11 Student).
‘Today was a successful day through which I acquired many new skills. I am grateful for this opportunity and happy that it’s one of the many successful events I have had the opportunity to participate in at SPA.’ (Micky Ashong – Year 11 Sports Leader).
‘The panathlon was a fantastic experience for me! It was great to see everybody smiling and having a good time. I learnt a lot from the event and acquired new skills such as non-verbal communication. I really enjoyed myself and would definitely do it again!’ (Lora Umelue – Year 11 Sports Leader).
Our students were once again fantastic ambassadors for our school with many visitors commenting on the wonderful job they did in facilitating the delivery of the event. Mr Akif who was responsible for managing our Sports Leaders on the day said, ‘Our Year 11 Sports Leaders are a credit to the school, themselves, their parents/guardians and teachers. They remained committed to each activity they were designated to during the event which aided the consistent flow of events throughout the duration of the day.’
Occasions of this type show our students, staff and facilities at their very best. It is also a huge reflection of our school ethos and values whereby we at St Paul’s Academy believe in providing students with opportunities which reach far beyond that of the taught curriculum. We believe in providing qualities beyond qualifications and the Panathlon is just one example of how we achieve this.