A WIRRAL teacher has praised a ‘life changing’ national programme which has given more than 25,000 young people nationally the opportunity to learn new swimming and sporting skills.
Jon White, a NASEN Teacher of the Year, works at Clare Mount Specialist Sports College, in Reeds Lane, Moreton, and was lead for Inclusion 2020 programme in Wirral and Merseyside.
Inclusion 2020 trained young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) in a variety of Paralympic sports, including pupils from across Wirral, and Mr White praised its work ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
"I am delighted with the national success of the Inclusion 2020 programme,” he said.
“Sitting as I do on the national inclusion steering group with partners such as the Department for Education, Swim England, among others, I get to see the unbelievable work Youth Sport Trust Lead Inclusion Schools do across all areas of the UK.
“I work very closely with the Wirral School Games to look at the ways of including all young people in their competitions and festivals.
“Since lockdown finished, the Wirral School Games organisers have been out and about in 15 Wirral primary schools delivering Paralympic Learning and Discovery Festivals with activities in Sitting Volleyball, New Age Kurling, Adapted Badminton and Visually Impaired Athletics.
“The response from the children ahead of the Tokyo Paralympics has been fantastic.
“For example, we worked with Liscard Primary School in Wallasey to make videos to show other schools how to do the activities in the Paralympic Learning and Discovery pack.
“This was all funded by the Inclusion 2020 grant and could not have happened without it.
“Inclusion 2020 programme funding has allowed Clare Mount to offer training in how to make PE lessons more inclusive for girls with autism in two Wirral secondary schools.
“It is a very important programme to support our students on their journey in life towards getting a job, a place at college or an apprenticeship.”
Mr White also praised Inclusion 2020 programme for helping young people with autism cope with swimming lessons, and looks forward to more.
He added: “I know the Youth Sport Trust are confident that the success of the Inclusion 2020 grant can continue with further funding to come.
“I am very proud of the work taking place in Wirral with Inclusion 2020 and look forward to it continuing."
Ali Oliver, chief executive at the Youth Sport Trust, said: “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.”
For more information on Inclusion 2020 and to read the programme’s insight report in full, visit www.youthsporttrust.org/inclusion-2020