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School sport

What is the School Sport programme?

The School Sport programme is delivered by the council's Sports Development team on behalf of the St Helens Association for Physical Education & Sport (SHAPES). The programme works alongside a number of external partners including Everton FC, LIverpool FC, Lancashire Cricket Foundation, Liverpool County FA, Edge Hill University and local sports clubs, to deliver a variety of opportunities to engage pupils in school sport.

The programme is inclusive of the national School Games programme funded by Sport England/Department of Culture, Media & Sport. All schools are able to access the School Games aspect of the School Sport programme. The School Games comprises of both intra and inter-school competitions leading to county finals. The mission of the School Games is to 'keep competitive sport at the heart of schools and provide more young people with the opportunity to compete and achieve their personal best'.

What is involved in the School Sport programme?


The competition calendar continues to evolve due to the rise in popularity of some sports, as well as our work with national governing bodies and local clubs and in consultation with the borough's schools. Alongside long-standing competitions such as boccia, cricket, high5 netball and athletics, new sports have been introduced including seated volleyball, handball and dodgeball.

Furthermore, a number of development competitions and festivals have also been offered to provide opportunities for more pupils to represent their school in an environment that is relevant to them, where the focus on learning how to play the sport and skill development, rather than a focus just on results.


Leadership plays a vital role in the school sport programme in a variety of different ways. Undertaking leadership roles enables young people to develop their confidence, communication, teamwork and decision-making skills in a supportive environment.

It also demonstrates to the young people involved that there are numerous ways of getting involved in sport other than competing such as coaching, officiating, time-keeping or scoring.

The competition programme that is delivered by Sports Development is underpinned by the support of the borough's secondary schools in allowing their pupils to take on leadership roles.

FA Girls Football School Partnership

'Every girl has equal access to football in school by 2024'.

St Helens is host to one of 100 national FA Girls Football Partnerships (FAGFSP). The partnerships aim to support and develop the delivery of girls' football in schools for girls through the delivery of bespoke programmes which engage, excite and encourage girls and young women to make football a part of their life. 

Schools are able to access a number of opportunities to enhance the delivery of football through the use of age-appropriate resources and training and development for staff. Although led by The FA, a number of the programmes are focused on improving wider outcomes for girls by developing their communication, leadership and teamwork skills as well as helping with social development and self-esteem.

School Games Mark

The School Games Mark is awarded for schools' commitment to PE and school sport including participation in curricular and extra-curricular activities, intra and inter-school competitions, leadership and volunteering and links with local clubs.

The School Games Mark is directly linked to a schools engagement in school sport and reflects a broad and balanced offer that actively encourages those young people who aren't currently engaged or who are engaged less often.

This isn't about provision for a small cohort of young people but needs to consider ALL the school's population. The number of schools achieving the School Games Mark has increased yearly and in 2018/19, a total of 44 schools achieved the award.

For more information, please contact Danny Bacon on 01744 675402 or