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National Sports Week

Published on : 08 July 2020 / Categories: General

The following case-study has been developed through correspondence with Hollie Southward, a PE Teacher at The Hyndburn Academy, Blackburn, Lancashire. Hollie’s team was approached after a popular social media post from the PE department, which launched their commitment to National School Sports Week.

As of 29th June 2020, this video [posted on 15th June] has been watched over 820 times, offering impressive exposure of National School Sports Week At Home.


The Hyndburn Academy chose to get involved with NSSW at Home through finding out about the initiative on Youth Sport Trust’s Twitter page. Immediately, according to Hollie, ‘we decided to take our sports day / NSSW plans online and try to think of some activities and challenges to engage our pupils remotely’. The above launch video has been integral to getting an initial positive response from internal staff at the school, other schools and academies alike.

Throughout National School Sports Week, a video per day will be posted on the PE department’s social media platforms pertaining to the following themed days. These themes will also inform remote learning conducted through Microsoft Teams:

#SpeedBounceSaturday - how many bounces can a pupil do in 30 seconds over a household item such as a sweeping brush or rolled up towel?
#SockSunday - challenges today will be centred around socks: for example, "sock-put" and keepy-ups with a ball of rolled up socks (as pupils may not have access to a football at home).
#MileMonday - run, walk, jog, cycle a mile (with students being encouraged to screenshot a post-mile selfie and screenshot your attempt using Strava, for example).
#ToneUpTuesday - circuit training activities. Pupils can copy PE department challenges or create their own.

#WackyWednesday - fun, obstacle races. Again, pupils can copy our designed courses using household items, or create their own. The best creations win a prize!
#ThrowingThursday - all events today are based around throwing activities. For example, alternate wall throw, throw and catching activities and races with a partner (family member at home, perhaps how many without dropping it etc).
#FeelingFitFriday - each member of the PE Department will think of an activity and film themselves to promote keeping fit and healthy throughout the current difficult times.

Perceived benefits of their activities:

Pupils are provided with forms to fill in their scores from the activities they complete. The form encourages pupils to try each activity at lhreast tee times, thereby encouraging pupils to beat their previous score, and promoting resilience as pupils keep trying to overcome the challenges that the activities may present. Pupils are encouraged to send in the videos of them completing the activities (see below).

The above tweet refers to how, excitingly, on each day, there will be “Beat The Teacher” videos too, with the teachers completing the challenges themselves. This demonstrates how the NSSW challenges catalyse a symbiotic relationship between teachers and pupils, and promote healthy, fun competition. Thus, during this unusual time of school closures, NSSW has helped strengthen the profile of the PE department, and its relationship with pupils.

‘We are a small department and school, therefore, we know every pupil and have built excellent relationships with all of our classes, even though two of the three of us in the department have only been teaching at The Hyndburn Academy since September, myself included… so we really miss our pupils and also each other. We have an excellent rapport and positive relationships with each other! In the main, it is definitely the pupils that we miss more than anything …’ ‘When NSSW begins at the end of this week, we hope the Departments efforts trigger even further engagement and even some re-engagement to any pupils who may be lacking in motivation throughout this difficult time currently.’ (Hollie Southward, PE Teacher at Hyndburn Academy)

In addition to supporting pupils, the digital delivery of NSSW at Home is hoped to involve family and friends from beyond the school community- thereby spreading further the ethos and values of NSSW at Home. The initiative has also been used to work with feeder schools of The Hyndburn Academy:

‘[We have worked to] liaise with primary schools, specifically Year 6 children through the transition period of primary school to secondary school, and doing our best to make them feel at ease throughout this difficult time, by communicating virtually.’

Inclusivity has been paramount to The Hyndburn Academy’s approach, which is a further perceived benefit of The Hyndburn Academy’s involvement in NSSW at Home being that the activities can cater for as many pupils as possible. As Hollie Southward added:

‘We have tried to incorporate activities and challenges that our pupils can do from home, using household items, as we understand that not all of our pupils will have a lot of sports equipment at home…hence #SockSunday being one of our days - all challenges will be sock related, nice and easy to access for our pupils at home!’


The timing of NSSW at Home has been celebrated by The Hyndburn Academy, as it was noted by Hollie that it can potentially develop further the hobbies that young people have acquired during lockdown, or catalyse the interest of those who have not been so active over the last few months. Hollie is adamant about the benefits of NSSW, and physical activity in general:

‘The physical and mental benefits that sport has brought throughout this difficult time in the world is phenomenal. That hour of exercise we were treated to per day, to now being able to socially distance with family / friends is a massive relief to many. Now we are able to go out for longer and do more, I really hope the healthy habits over lockdown will continue as we go back to some forms of normality soon’.

‘Hopefully NSSW will inspire young people further, with schools participating in the fantastic opportunity to take sport virtual for pupils learning from home. As a department, we would like to continue virtual challenges throughout school holidays to continue engagement for our pupils, and help to promote healthy, active lifestyles, even when away from school. In addition to this, the resources and ideas from YST about NSSW and beyond, will hopefully be a starting point for many young people who have taken up sport or a more active lifestyle and to continue promote this further’.

The social impact of NSSW at home was also championed by Hollie, and how this week-long initiative cleverly uses sport as a vehicle for bringing us closer together (albeit virtually) with those who we have been apart from during Lockdown.

We also understand that our pupils will be missing their friends, so this could be another great way to interact virtually with family and friends, enjoying competition through PE and sport. Young people’s well-being will have also suffered with the school closures, and many will have gotten out of a routine of doing PE and sport, so NSSW is a perfect way to get off the settee and give some of our challenges a go!’

Hollie noted that activities that got the best responses were Speed Bounce Saturday (from pupils and staff alike), Mile Monday, and Wacky Wednesday, with students here having to create their own obstacle course with sports equipment and household items. Whilst the competitive “Beat the Teacher” initiative was successful, even if students were not competitive, students send in their photos and videos by emails to the The Hyndburn Academy PE Department, to ensure they felt a part of the week.

Long term lessons:

Even though this pandemic represents an extraordinary moment in human history, there are long term lessons which will transcend beyond this unique moment. As Hollie detailed:

‘…We would consider doing more virtual / online activities and ideas again in the future, even when lockdown is lifted. We have noticed that some pupils who may be more self-conscious and shier at school, have had a go at the challenges and activities in the comfort of their own home. We hope this develops confidence and resilience when we return to school in the near future.’

Additionally, Hollie celebrated how being active from the comfort of being at home can help engage with students lacking in confidence in the school environment:

‘It's been great to see that some pupils who are more disengaged in PE at school due to self-confidence, nerves, lack of motivation, have given the challenges a go in the comfort of their own home environment. I think this is something we can tap into once we go back to some sort of normality on our return to school.’

Mini Case-Study:

‘We have had some great efforts from across the week from pupils in every year group, but one pupil in particularly really stands out – Ellie Walsh in Year 9. Ellie has a visual impairment called Septo Optic Dysplasia, which means she has only a small amount of vision. During sports week, Ellie has given every challenge a go and has done AMAZING in each activity. She works extremely hard in everything she does and has wanted to participate to the best of her ability, whilst enjoying it with her family everyday too. Ellie’s family did Mile Monday together, as well as regularly walking and participating in daily 7 minute workouts, going that extra mile to keep fit as a family. She has continued her love for learning from the very start of the pandemic and is always eager to learn more. Ellie kept in touch all week by emailing the PE Department the photos and videos everyday of her attempting the Sports Week challenges.’


YST Research:

The Youth Sport Trust (YST) is a national children's charity passionate about creating a future where every child enjoys the life-changing benefits that come from play and sport. YST Research offers research, analysis, insight and evaluation services to organisations with an interest in the wider children and young people’s sector. Our research expertise is focussed on improving the wellbeing of children and young people through sport and physical activity.

Our specialisms include:

• Education, PE and school sport
• Community sport / clubs
• Early years settings
• Life skills and employability
• Activism and volunteering
• Health (physical, social and emotional)

For our latest research findings, visit
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