‘Virtual’ School Games sees 73,836 entries from children across 421 schools
Our 11-week ‘Virtual’ School Games programme for Sussex schools came to an end on Friday 17 July, seeing an impressive 73,836 total entries over the course of the 3 months.
The Sussex School Games Summer Festival had been an annual highlight for school sport competition since 2012, but was cancelled this year due to school closures and restrictions surrounding COVID-19.
We and the Sussex School Games Organiser network, who together organise the Sussex School Games, saw a continuing need for young people to stay healthy and active at home, and launched the Specsavers ‘Virtual’ Sussex School Games, an online programme of virtual sports challenges, on 27th April 2020.
Created in partnership with the national governing bodies of sport, the virtual programme saw a different sport launched every week for 11 weeks of the summer school term. Each sport had four different challenges that children could complete from home or from school and log their best scores online.
The weekly challenges were demonstrated on video every week by a Young Leader of The Angmering School every week, to motivate and inspire children taking part at home.
The programme also saw several sports stars and celebrities sending good luck video messages to participants on social media, including Brazilian football star, Roberto Carlos; James Phelps who played Fred Weasley in Harry Potter; and number 1 female tennis player, Johanna Konta.
The Specsavers ‘Virtual’ Sussex School Games came to a close on Friday 17th July, with a powerful closing ceremony video shared on social media to celebrate all who took part over the three months. You can view the full leaderboards here.
The 11 week programme was a huge success with up to 9,100 entries each week across 421 schools - two-thirds of the total schools in Sussex. It attracted a range of schools from pre-schools to secondary schools, special schools and even home-schoolers.
Sadie Mason, CEO of Active Sussex said: “When the school closures were announced we saw a need to create something virtual to support young people and families to stay active at home. However even we couldn’t have foreseen just how successful it would become! It went from strength to strength, and it was really down to teamwork, the enthusiasm of everyone involved and the engaging communications and content we created to encourage people to take part.”
The curated programme not only inspired families at home to keep active, but gave useful PE content for schools that remained open for children of key workers.
A teacher commented: “All children in our school have loved completing the challenges as part of PE lessons each week.”
The Sussex School Games will hope to return as a traditional event in June 2021, however we hope to keep the spirit of the ‘Virtual’ School Games alive, regardless of what may happen in the future.
Ed Bartram, Events Officer at Active Sussex said: “If there’s anything we’ve learned from this, it’s that the children and young people of Sussex will keep going no matter what! And if there’s ever a need to make things virtual again, we know we can do it.”
For more information about the Specsavers ‘Virtual’ Sussex School Games, visit the webpage and follow @SussexSchGames on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.