Almost 2,500 school children from across Greater Manchester came together yesterday for the GM Summer School Games.
The event, consisting of 21 competitions in 13 sports and activities took place at eight venues across the region, starting off with an Opening Ceremony at The Regional Athletics Arena. The event was officially opened by a pupil from The Valley Community Primary School in Bolton.
The opening ceremony also featured numerous performances and opportunities for the children to get moving, with The Daily MileTMincorporated into the event to give children the chance to keep moving and warm up before the games commenced. Once it did, the ceremony saw performances from bike trials display team, RPM Bike Display; stilt walkers and jugglers from Circus House and; Drumz Aloud a diverse, inclusive, creative and fun cross curricular activity, which combines music, numeracy and physical activity to enhance learning in primary schools, who also ran activities for the pupils at the participation festival.
The participation festival has been introduced for year 1 and 2 pupils to help encourage more young schoolchildren to enjoy physical activity and to take part in competitions. At the festival, the children took part in Public Health England and Disney’s new schools Change4Life 10 Minute Shake Up campaign which aims to get children moving more in order to help the nation’s children be more physically active. All the participants were given take-home materials to get pupils moving throughout the summer with their families.
Ensuring children develop strong, positive relationships with physical activity is a key outcome that the event aims to achieve. With six in ten children in Greater Manchester not being active enough to benefit their health, providing children with as many opportunities as possible to move more is essential to ensure our future generations live happy and healthy lives.
This year, competitions have been introduced to provide opportunities for all children, regardless of their ability or confidence, to be able to participate in a mass sporting event. This included some competitions, such as ultimate frisbee and handball, being scored by their peers using Spirit Score Cards which are based on the School Games values; passion, honesty, respect, teamwork, determination and self-belief.
An array of sporting competitions took place with children taking part in dodgeball, football, goalball, golf, netball, new age kurling, rounders, softball, tennis and quadkids athletics. The games also welcomed current and former athletes to inspire the children, with Olympian Andy Turner and Special Olympian Kiera Byland who met participants across many of the different competitions, with Kiera handing out medals at the tri-golf competitions.
Despite great performances from every school, only three in each competition would walk away with medals. Locally, Alder Community High School, Hyde, scooped a gold medal after their girls' team won the U13s football tournament, while the Year 7/8 girls secured a silver medal in the Dodgeball competition. The Hawthorns, Audenshaw, claimed a silver medal in the Year 5/6 New Age Kurling competition, while Pinfold Primary School, Hyde, took bronze in the Year 5/6 Dodgeball competition.
Over 200 young volunteers made the event possible travelling from schools and colleges across Greater Manchester to help deliver the competitions.
The School Games Organisers across Greater Manchester have organised and delivered local competitions with 218,000 children having taken part in this academic year so far. Their winners then attended the Greater Manchester School Games to compete to become the Greater Manchester champions in their sports.
Sara Tomkins, CEO at GreaterSport, organisers of the Greater Manchester School Games said:
“Today’s event showcased the strong values that our young people hold. They demonstrated not only their sporting capabilities but also the Spirit of the Games by giving it a go and showing their passion, honesty, respect, teamwork, determination and self-belief which all shone through in their performances. Congratulations to every young person that took part in today’s event, you have done yourselves and your schools proud!”