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Reflecting with Young People to Reinvent School Games

by | Sep 20, 2022 | News

This article is about the process of co-creating with partners and young people – starting with a reflection-first approach. County Durham Sport are working in partnership with School Games Organisers to improve physical literacy in schools. The co-creation approach means that people work together to develop the project, from event Organisers (School Games) through to schools and pupils.

What is School Games?

School Games was created to capitalise on the success and momentum of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, as a way of encouraging high-performing school-age athletes. Since then, the programme has been reviewed and restructured to be more inclusive, evolving from its original highly competitive approach. The new model uses the three strands of Sport England’s ‘Uniting the Movement’ approach: physical literacy, co-creating with young people, and tackling inequalities. The ambition is to raise awareness of the importance of movement throughout the day for everyone, rather than focusing just on PE lessons and students who are already more confident with physical activity and sport.

Which Young People Might Need More Support to be Active?

Children living in areas of higher deprivation, from less affluent families, or receiving free school meals, often have lower levels of physical activity. As an example, children and young people from less affluent family backgrounds are less likely to be active outside school, and boys are currently more active at school than girls (Active Lives children’s survey, 2019/20). County Durham Sport will work with School Games organisers to identify and target schools across County Durham whose pupils might benefit most from increased support and opportunities to be active, using the County Durham Sport mapping tools  The programme of activity in schools will begin in September 2022 and will run for an academic year.

How Are We Using Reflection?

The focus of this project is on participation and physical literacy, with School Games Organisers in schools encouraging those children and young people who do not currently engage in traditional sports to try new activities. Events will be tailored around physical literacy ‘themes’: adventure/aquatic/athletic/aesthetic/competitive/fitness and health, so could include more outdoor pursuits, dance, water-based activities as well as more traditional activities such as athletics. As physical literacy focuses on activity throughout the day, active travel to and from school will be encouraged. The ‘co-creation’ model involves County Durham Sport working together with School Games Organisers, school partners and young people to develop a toolkit of reflective techniques. The intention is to make the process of reflection as easy as possible, so will include simple approaches such as County Durham Sport’s reflection log (image below) and ‘success and reflection’ share where people describe something that has gone well, and a thing they’ve learned from. Young people will also keep journals reflecting on their experience of participating in activities, which will contribute to a body of evidence that the co-creating group can use to reflect and consider next steps for incorporating physical activity throughout the school day. The young people will be supported by School Games Organisers trained in physical literacy approaches. Read more about our work on Physical Literacy here.

Image: County Durham Sport’s reflection log