Foundation help keep pupils across Leeds moving with weekly sports challenges

Throughout the Spring term, the Schools team at Leeds Rhinos Foundation in partnership with the West Leeds Schools Sports Partnership and the Leeds North East Sports Alliance have been doing all they can to help pupils stay active, through a series of virtual sports challenges with an Olympics twist!

With schools closed and children asked to learn from home prior to the relaxation of lockdown on March 8th, most of the Foundation’s Physical Education provision was forced to be once again put on hold.

That didn’t stop them coming together to create a series of Olympics-based challenges that the pupils they support could access and take part in each week from home, with each activity themed around a different Olympic or Paralympic sport- from Gymnastics to Seated Volleyball.

On top of a video tutorial explaining the challenges, partner schools also received a bespoke pack full of fun facts about the featured sport, key learning outcomes and Ronnie’s own numeracy or literacy challenges, adding broader curriculum content into the active learning.

With a bronze, silver and gold challenge to complete each week, the resources were specifically tailored for early years, Key Stage 1 or Key Stage 2 children, ensuring each age group received a digital pack complete with inclusive activities suitably challenging for their students.

Speaking of the weekly challenges, Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s Head of Community & Engagement, Gareth Cook said: “With everything that has been going on and it being such a hard time for so many young people, we wanted to continue to engage with our partner schools and their pupils as much as possible.”

“We recognised that whilst learning from home, it can be hard for young children especially to stay active and undertake the necessary amount of PE provision. That’s why we wanted to create some high-quality PE resources for them to access, and through our Olympic sports challenges in partnership with the West Leeds SSP we have produced something which has not only proven really popular, but has enabled their schools to utilise our expertise in their virtual lessons.

“It’s been great to see schools across the city engaging with our challenges and we’ve had some fantastic feedback about how they’ve helped to keep the children’s spirits up and maintain their routine of regular physical activity during this difficult period.”

Margaret McBride, Headteacher of Whinmoor St Paul’s Primary School, said: “We’ve made great use of the PE resources and we are thankful to Leeds Rhinos Foundation for your support, ideas and inspiration over the lockdown period.

“The children have gained so much from the challenges and activities and the plans have really supported staff to help keep our children active!”

Charlie Pyatt, Partnerships Manager at West Leeds SSP, commented: “We’ve got a long-established partnership arrangement with Leeds Rhinos Foundation. Three staff from LRF work as cluster coordinators in Armley, Farnley and Pudsey, delivering in-school sessions and numerous outstanding physical activity opportunities, but during lockdown this work needed to move online.

“The feedback from the schools for the PE resources has been excellent and thousands of West Leeds children have undertaken the Olympics challenges to maintain their fitness and skill levels, which is wonderful to see. Thanks to all at Leeds Rhinos Foundation for their support of West Leeds schools.”

Alongside the Olympics sports challenges, schools also received links to a weekly Dance Fit routine produced by the Foundation’s Dance Development Officer Nicola Booth. Each week focused on a different dance style from nations all across the world, linking in to the same Olympics theme and providing a further resource for students to access online in order to stay active at home.

In total, the virtual PE resources have been viewed more than 10,000 times throughout the Spring term, and can now be accessed in full via our official YouTube channel.

For more information on Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s support for schools, please email