Pupils from Doncaster School for the Deaf are among hundreds of deaf young people from across England who are flourishing through sporting competitions run by charity Panathlon.
Panathlon gives over 10,000 students with disabilities and SEN every year the chance to engage in competitive sport that they are so often denied elsewhere.
The charity differs from the many ‘have a go’ projects by offering a competitive pathway of multi-sport, boccia, swimming and football events. Winners of local and county competitions progress to regional and then divisional (north/south) finals.
Doncaster School for the Deaf has regularly hosted multi-sport and boccia competitions featuring deaf students from as far as the East Midlands and Teesside – but until this month they had never actually won gold medals.
That changed at the South Yorkshire Primary Panathlon, held at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield, when the school won the pan-disability event, competing against pupils with a mixture of disabilities and SEN.
Afterwards, Jane Goodman, the school’s Deputy Head Teacher, commented: “Panathlon certainly champions the word ‘inclusive’. The atmosphere at their events is absolutely fantastic, positive and friendly.
“From our first Panathlon two years ago until now, our school is overjoyed at taking part. We look forward to each day and the children get what they want both competitively and socially. We hope to be taking part in many more.”
Doncaster School for the Deaf’s primary PE teacher Rebecah Taylor commented: “Panathlon offers equal opportunities to all our children and an opportunity to compete against other schools.
“Every child has achieved something and it has been valuable for them to experience the fast pace of the hearing world, but also learn to follow guidelines, have patience and work as part of a team. Panathlon has given them time to learn in a supportive and safe environment.
“Panathlon games also help them develop hand-eye coordination skills and promotes life skills generally. This complements our pupil-centred approach to education.”
The school is a national resource for the deaf and has deaf learners, primarily from across South Yorkshire but also via local authorities from across the UK.
Pupils from the school are now looking forward to competing in the Panathlon Divisional Swimming Finals on June 6 at Ponds Forge in Sheffield to compete for the title of northern champions.
For more information, go to www.panathlon.com
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