#Chances4Children: SEND inclusion scheme helps 25,000 children access sport

Joe Lepper
Thursday, May 13, 2021

A government-backed programme aimed at boosting sporting opportunities for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) has supported more than 25,000 young people, evaluation has shown.

The scheme promotes inclusivity in sport. Picture: Youth Sport Trust
The scheme promotes inclusivity in sport. Picture: Youth Sport Trust

Support available through the three-year Inclusion 2020 programme includes access to inclusive swimming and the chance to take part in Paralympic sports.

The evaluation took place between January 2019 and March this year and has been released by Youth Sport Trust (YST), which is running the scheme.

Of the 25,997 young people, with and without SEND supported, more than 23,000 had the chance to try para skiing and other Paralympic sports.

More than 2,000 young people with SEND had access to swimming.

The scheme has also supported more than 9,000 schools with training to ensure their sporting programme is inclusive. Through the initiative, the YST has created a network of lead inclusion schools, which work with children, parents and other schools to promote inclusion.

The initiative is themed around the next Paralympics in Tokyo. This was to be staged during 2020 but has been postponed until this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite the health crisis the YST evaluation shows that over the last 10 months, 10,000 young people have accessed the initiative for the first time, at inclusive sports festivals, in school and at home.

“Contributing to the excitement and building on the inspiration of the upcoming Paralympic Games, Inclusion 2020 has been a real game changer for so many young people with and without SEND,” said YST chief executive Ali Oliver.

“Through new experiences and learning leadership, confidence, and communication skills through sport, it truly has been lifechanging for the thousands of young people.”

Funding for the programme has come from the Department for Education.

Schools minister Nick Gibb added: “These activities are so important not just for physical and mental wellbeing, but also for developing the resilience to tackle challenges later in life.”

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