British Paralympic Association

Why is it innovative?

  • The British Paralympic Association (BPA) commissioned a celebratory event for primary schools with the Rio 2016 Paralympic Torch as its centrepiece.
  • The workshop and celebratory event was led by EdComs facilitators with the aim of raising awareness of ParalympicsGB and the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, and to challenge perceptions of disabled people amongst 9–11 year olds.
  • The workshops were based on the four Paralympic Values: determination, inspiration, courage and equality.
  • They contained practical and creative team activities alongside opportunities for discussion and reflection.
  • Pupils had the opportunity to try Paralympic sports, decorate their own ‘flame’ torches and learn about the history of ParalympicsGB and the Paralympic Movement.

The events comprised of:

  • A suite of four workshop activities for a maximum of sixty 9–11 year old pupils.
  • A Paralympic Torch procession for the whole school community.

How does it inspire learning?

  • At each school we staged a mini Paralympic Torch procession around the entire school site. The whole school community had the opportunity to take part.
  • Schools were asked to nominate 10 torch bearers (Guardians of the Paralympic Flame) who had demonstrated one or all the Paralympic Values.
  • We felt that it was important for the pupils at each school to feel a sense of community and connection to pupils in other schools taking part in the tour, so at each school we recorded a short video to be shared with another participating school. This gave the pupils an opportunity to send a message of goodwill and share what they had learned.
  • We also asked schools to create displays using their decorated flames so that the wider school community could continue to celebrate their work during the Rio Paralympic Games in September 2016.

How successful?

  • During the summer term of 2016 we visited 97 primary schools in 40 different areas across Scotland, Wales and England.
  • Over 40,000 members of the school community were engaged in the whole school torch processions.
  • The schools that took part represented a range of settings (rural and urban), provider (state and private) and provision (special and mainstream).
  • 100% of teachers either agreed or strongly agreed that the event had inspired pupils and increased their understanding of Paralympic sports, sportsmanship and values.
  • 100% of teachers either agreed or strongly agreed that the event had educated pupils about the history and importance of the Paralympic Movement.
  • 95% of teachers either agreed or strongly agreed that the event had challenged pupils’ perceptions of disabled people.


 “We had the most awesome time! It was brilliant – thank you so much. The morning was inspirational, so well organised and the guys who delivered the workshops were just fantastic. The children were super excited and very supportive of the children who were Guardians of the Flame. They haven’t stopped talking about the torch and how beautiful it is. The parents were so proud that their children had been chosen and loved the little speeches about why their child was chosen. Our year 5 pupils who took part in the workshops have been continuing their work about equality and inspiration and I think the focus on determination and courage has really benefitted them as they move up to year 6 and a more demanding and challenging curriculum. As the Headteacher, I thank you for enabling me to bring the school community together. It’s important to me to promote community cohesion and this event was perfect! Many thanks.”

Headteacher, Wrexham.

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