• Eskdale Academy

Hartlepool students get taste of Paralympics on themed day of events


School pupils “broadened their horizons” as the Paralympics were brought to life in Hartlepool.

A disability sport-themed day was held at Eskdale Academy, based on Eskdale Road, with children given the chance to take part in different events.

Pupils took part in a number of Paralympic-style events.

They included wheelchair basketball, sit-down volleyball and goalball, which is designed for those who are blind and features a ball with a bell inside it.

The pupils also held a question and answer session with army veteran Stuart Holcroft, 39, who lost a leg in battle.

The school’s PE co-ordinator, Ian Usher, feels the children gained an invaluable experience.

He said: “In order to increase students’ awareness of the needs of different people in the community, we decided to do a range of activities based around the Paralympics and disability sport.

It was a really useful experience for them. It really seems to have broadened their horizons.

Ian Usher

“On the theory side, they also looked at how sports can be adapted to incorporate people with disabilities, and talked about what it is like living with various needs.

“Stuart also came in and talked about life with prosthetics, and the children found that a really useful insight into how someone’s life can be changed after losing a limb, and how you have to adapt. He is an inspirational figure and certainly inspired them.”

The day was particularly relevant given that the Paralympics are set to take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, later this summer.

Mr Usher added: “It was a really useful experience for them. It really seems to have broadened their horizons.

Veteran Stuart Holcroft visited the school for a question and answer session with pupils.

“It has helped educate the children in a number of ways, including making them aware of the appropriate language to use.

“Even spending one hour in a wheelchair for the basketball was a really insightful experience.

“The children absolutely loved it and have been asking if they can have extra wheelchair basketball classes in the future. It’s something they have really taken to.”

The pupils also took part in boccia, which is similar to bowls.

Pupils took part in a number of Paralympic-style events.

They are set to take part in other PE lessons based around the Olympics and Paralympics all week, while the school’s sports day is tomorrow.

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