England

Coronavirus: The children doing sports day in lockdown

Image copyright George Watson's College
Image caption Abiding by lockdown rules, children have been proving what you can do from home

The traditional school sports day has been one of the casualties of the changes schools have had to introduce to cope with the coronavirus pandemic. But, from a sack race in a pillow case to toilet roll jumping, children and teachers have been adapting sports day traditions to celebrate what would for many be the highlight of the school calendar.

There has been a "massive disruption" to children's activity levels - before the virus, on average almost 47% of children were active for 60 minutes a day, which has fallen to 19%, explained Mike Diaper from Sport England.

"It is important to help our children get active," said Mr Diaper, the organisation's executive director of children and young people. "It will help them deal with the stresses and strains of these difficult days."

He said it had been great to see schools running virtual sports days to encourage children to remain active.

Youth Sport Trust, which organised a National School Sport Week at Home in June, said: "We wanted to ensure young people still felt that sense of fun they get from school sports days and that sports days do not get cancelled completely this year."

So what have pupils been up to while abiding by lockdown rules?

Noah from The Hyndburn Academy Image copyright The Hyndburn Academy
Image caption Noah used household equipment to take on the teachers at The Hyndburn Academy

PE teachers in Blackburn have been setting the students a "beat the teacher" challenge each day for the pupils to do at home. The students then send in their scores to compare to the teachers' results.

Hollie Southward, one of the PE teachers, said they were activities suited for the home.

Noah in year 7 took on a speed bounce challenge to see how many bounces he could do over a broom in 30 seconds and also competed in an obstacle course.

Zoom
Image caption Children took part in a zoom "let's get moving session' in Birmingham

Priestley Smith School in Birmingham, a specialist school for vision impaired pupils, got children to try tea bag throwing and teachers read a sport-themed bed time story to pupils, explained Chloe Manley.

Some pupils have not been back at school for weeks so it was an ideal opportunity to engage with the children at school and at home, added Mrs Manley.

Pupils doing a sack race in a pillow case - Freya, Milo and Archie Image copyright St Breock Primary School
Image caption Children in Cornwall have been using pillow cases for the traditional Sports Day sack race

The PE lead at St Breock Primary School in Wadebridge, said a sports week helped the children at home "connect with us at school".

When they told the children about the plans "the excitement was unbelievable", said James Ross from Cornwall.

Children at school and home competed in similar activities with those taking part in school all having separate PE equipment bags to keep them safe.

Socially distanced egg and spoon race Image copyright Leybourne Chase
Image caption The reception class at Valley Invicta Primary School at Leybourne Chase practicing the egg and spoon race

In Kent, a reception class has been practicing a socially distanced egg and spoon race ahead of a full school sports event.

Pupils at Valley Invicta Primary School will be able to earn points for their house before the winner is announced at the end of the week.

The sports day activities have been designed to abide by social distancing rules.

Students at George Watson's College Image copyright George Watson's College
Image caption Pupils at George Watson's College in Edinburgh got involved in sport using household equipment

Pupils in Edinburgh have been trying home high jumping with toilets rolls and tennis ball and spoon races.

"We ensured that all events could be completed in any space that families had available and that any items of equipment needed were easily found in any house," explained PE and sport director Mike Leonard, from George Watson's College.

The teachers recorded some events alongside the school mascot, Rex, for the pupils to try at home, aiming to make the day as inclusive and fun as possible.

PE teacher from Mounts Bay school Image copyright Mounts Bay
Image caption A member of staff at Mounts Bay showing students his toilet roll keepy uppies

Teachers in Cornwall have been preparing challenges for their students to try at home, such as toilet roll keepy uppies and tea bag throwing.

PE director at Mounts Bay Academy, Ian Veal, said they were avoiding traditional sports day activities to "hopefully include all pupils" and not exclude any without equipment at home.

After all the tutor groups have completed the sports day activities, the PE department will add up the scores and announce the winners.

Tajman, 4, doing her own sports day Image copyright @khaira_nav09
Image caption Tajman had her own sports day in lockdown including an obstacle course

In Sheffield, Tajman had "great fun" taking part in her first sports day, including doing an obstacle course in the garden.

The four-year-old's father said they had been "keeping her active" during lockdown with lots of different activities outside.

Girls High School Sheffield asked its pupils to carry out five different activities.

Student at Chelmer Valley High School Image copyright Chelmer Valley High School
Image caption Students in Essex using household items as sports equipment

Head of PE Steve Wareham said: "As soon as we knew sports day was going to be missed this year, my PE team were really keen to try and do something."

The staff at Chelmer Valley High School in Essex made sure all the activities could be done individually and easily at home, such as speed bouncing, sock throwing and chair squatting.

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