What is happening?
In the UK, International Inspiration is making its mark through school partnerships and the development of strategic links between sports bodies in the UK and their overseas counterparts. UK policy makers are also advising and supporting officials in International Inspiration countries, helping them to develop innovative national strategies and policies relating to sport and PE. This advice and support is not one-way; learning is reciprocal.
School partnerships are an integral part of International Inspiration, providing an opportunity for teachers, children and young people to develop and share innovative approaches to PE, sport and play in the classroom and their local community, as well as learn about and understand each other’s cultures, experiences and international development issues.
In the UK, 184 schools are linked with partner schools in International Inspiration countries, allowing UK and international children to take part in life-changing exchanges. Teachers and coaches across the UK are also collaborating directly with their counterparts in International Inspiration countries to help develop more inclusive sport and physical education around the globe.
UK School Games
In September 2010, young leaders from across the UK had the opportunity to volunteer at the UK School Games in Newcastle and the North East. They worked alongside young leaders from International Inspiration countries to help deliver the event, which involved 1,600 elite athletes of school age competing across 10 different sports. This provided a unique opportunity for the children to make new friends and learn about each other’s cultures, while developing key skills and learning new sports to take back to their home countries.
Patrick, a young leader from Scotland, said: 'International Inspiration has changed my life. I learnt great communication skills and made friends I’ll never forget. The best thing for me is to be able to help inspire the world about the 2012 Games. The whole experience has changed me as a person so all I can say is thank you to everyone that is part of team International Inspiration.'
Jairam, a young leader from Brazil, said: 'The opportunities that International Inspiration offer are essential to young people. The II programme helps them in their development so they become recognised in their society. Through experiences like these we can learn more about other cultures, volunteering and how to spread the legacy of the Olympic Games.'
Inspiring connections across the world
School children from across Haringey were thrilled when International Inspiration ambassador and Olympic medallist Colin Jackson visited them to see the impact the programme is having in the UK. Jackson had just returned from a trip to Trinidad & Tobago and had the opportunity to visit the schools over there that are twinned with schools in Haringey.
At Hornsey School for Girls, Colin met Young Leaders from across the borough who worked together to run a primary school dance festival for 200 children. He also had the opportunity to participate in a workshop discussing how the Olympic and Paralympic values can be used to address issues such as gangs and aggression – themes common to schools both in Haringey and Trinidad & Tobago.
Jackson said: 'It was clear from all the children I met in London and in Trinidad and Tobago how the programme has benefited them as individuals, helping them to flourish within a school environment, developing leadership and team work skills, and fostering ambition.'
Abigail, a Young Leader from Hornsey School for Girls, said: 'Having an athlete like Colin Jackson visiting our school is really exciting – especially as he can tell us about his experience in Trinidad & Tobago with our link school. Through International Inspiration, and our link with Speyside School in Tobago we have learnt about leadership skills, conflict resolution and how to work as a team.'