Home > Listening to youth voice to engage less active children in physical activity

Listening to youth voice to engage less active children in physical activity

A large group of pupils smiling at the camera, with some holding large hoops used during the game of Quidditch
Quidditch fun at a School Games transition event

Listening to youth voice to engage less active children in physical activity

It is not everyday you get to play Quidditch at school. But for a group of 54 year six and seven children this is exactly what happened during a School Games transition event.

Thanks to a PE teacher and avid Harry Potter fan, as well as a school Harry Potter-inspired arts and craft club, Quidditch was brought to life in Bognor Regis during the summer term.

The aim was to encourage primary school pupils regarded as ‘less active’ and worried about moving to secondary school to get active in a fun way. Year seven pupils who had been in a similar position when they joined The Regis School were also involved.

“Using Harry Potter as the theme, we chose to engage different children that would not ordinarily engage in sport,” explained Sean O’Connor, West Sussex West’s School Games organiser.

“We are fortunate enough to have some very experienced arts and crafts specialists in the school who run clubs and camps for children, with a theme of Harry Potter.

“The intent was to create relationships between year seven’s and year six’s using physical activity, but through a non-sports environment and a shared interest.”

The primary schools chosen were selected from severely low economic areas in Bognor Regis. 

The schools then identified pupils they deemed may struggle with confidence or the transition into secondary school, low fitness levels, whilst having a love for Harry Potter. Not every child ticked all three of these boxes, but many did.

“The children had the opportunity to experience Quidditch skills and matches as well as make arts and crafts,” explained Sean. “They all made their very own ‘book of monsters’ to take home. This gave a nice balance of physical activity and creativity.”

One pupil said: “My favourite part was being the snitch,”  while another said: “I really enjoyed today; I was really active, but also got to make a monster book.”

The three hour afternoon event took place on The Regis School’s multi use games area (MUGA) to keep everyone together and ensure time was maximised.

Sean said: “The weather was kind, bar the occasional gust of wind, which was challenging at times for the arts and crafts.

“On reflection, to run this again we would do it inside in close, but different, spaces, giving those children nervous of coming to the secondary school more exposure to the facilities, aiding comfort levels for September.”

The Quidditch was run by sports leaders at the school who had a fondness for the Harry Potter franchise. Other staff involved included the school’s inclusion department, the School Games Organiser, PE teacher, careers advisor and the reprographics manager.

Ahead of the event, the sports leaders and participants from the secondary school went along to one of the attending primary schools, which helped reassure the year six pupils.

The arts and craft staff run their own Harry Potter club and they led this part of the session and provided flyers to aid transition to a community club, that is also hosted at the secondary school – again supporting their journey to the campus ahead of September. 

“We were able to use children that attended the arts and crafts club as well in a leadership capacity,” said Sean. “These were non-sports leaders, who got the experience of leadership. 

“This was great to see these pupils having the opportunity to lead and excel in something they were confident at, from various Quidditch rules, to how to make the book.” 

The School Games roadshow budget allowed organisers to provide free camp/club sessions, allowing the children to continue with what they enjoyed. 

The arts and crafts club on the back of this has now introduced Quidditch as part of the club, increasing activity levels for others.

It is now hoped this can become an annual event as part of the transitioning process between primary and secondary school for the benefit of a targeted group of young people, as well as similar events replicated across schools in Sussex.

When reflecting on its success, Sean said: “Ensure whatever your ‘unique’ theme is you have the passionate staff that love it. In our case Harry Potter ‘geeks’.”

Eight children standing on a MUGA pitch holding witches brooms made out of foam poles
Quidditch fun at a School Games transition event
Pupils sitting at a table doing arts and crafts
Quidditch fun at a School Games transition event
Seven children wearing yellow bibs standing on the MUGA with their witches brooms made out of foam poles
Quidditch fun at a School Games transition event
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