Schools to challenge ‘social segregation’ via sport

A children’s sports charity has launched a partnership with the English Commonwealth Games team to promote social integration in Birmingham. Tes reports.

Youth Sport Trust has launched the scheme – Birmingham Connect – alongside Team England, bringing 20 schools together from diverse and segregated communities in Birmingham.

In advance of the 2022 Commonwealth Games, which will be held in Birmingham, young people aged 11-13 will be paired with students from other schools across the city to foster social integration between different communities. The schools have been selected based on characteristics such as the pupils’ ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, as well as the proportion of pupils with a disability.

Speaking with Tes, programme lead Louise Gruchy-Craven said: “Birmingham is above the national average for social segregation in a school setting. Young people go to schools with people from the same ethnic background as themselves. We wanted to place significance on social mobility, and the vehicle we’re using is sport.”

Ms Gruchy-Craven said that Birmingham was chosen for the scheme because while it had become more ethnically diverse since the 2011 census, different communities did not mix together.

“We’re using the inspiring nature of sport to encourage children to mix as they may not at school or at home…It will be interesting to see how British values of tolerance and friendship work to create a better, more socially integrated community.”

A launch event at the Birmingham NEC today will train pupils, teachers and leaders from the 20 schools. Five pupils from each school, known as “connectors”, will help lead the project, taking more responsibility for which sports are delivered as the scheme evolves.

Read more Schools to challenge ‘social segregation’ via sport 

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