How It Works

Keeping competitive sport at the heart of schools and providing more young people with the opportunity to compete and achieve their personal best.

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What is the School Games?

The School Games consists of four unique types of competition:

  • Intra-School Competition
  • Local Inter-School Competition
  • County Final
  • School Games National Finals

What is an intra-school competition?

An intra-school competition is a sporting activity taking place between pupils who attend the same school. For example, this can be in the form of a class vs. class or house activity. These competitions should culminate in an annual School Games Day, or Sports Day, to celebrate a school's sporting success.

What is a local inter-school competition?

A local inter-school competition is a sporting activity taking place between schools from the same area - either as a one-off fixture or as part of a league. These competitions may act as qualifiers for county finals or can be run as developmental competitions or festival events to meet the needs of a local area.

What is a county final?

A county final is a showcase event held either as the culmination of a series of local inter-school competitions or as open entry events, with invitations made by the Local Organising Committee (LOC).

More about School Games competitions

Who We Are

The School Games, which is funded by Sport England National Lottery funding and delivered by the Youth Sport Trust, is a government led programme designed to deliver competitive school sport to all young people.

A network of School Games Organisers (SGOs) and Local Organising Committees (LOCs) have worked alongside the Youth Sport Trust in delivering three distinct levels of competition since the Games' inception in 2010 - ranging from intra - inter school activity, in addition to the National Finals, which is supported by National Governing Bodies.

SGOs are funded by the Department of Health and Social Care and the National Lottery through Sport England to deliver the School Games programme for three days a week. They are predominantly hosted by schools to whom the funding is paid. Outside of this, many SGOs also work as teachers, within School Sport Partnerships or in other roles in sport and schools.

This network currently services in excess of 17,500 registered schools who compete across School Games' competitions.

More about who we are

School Games Mark

The School Games Mark is a Government led award scheme launched in 2012 to reward schools for their commitment to the development of competition across their school and into the community. Registered schools can apply annually through a short application form which will be verified by their local School Games Organiser (SGO). Their application will be graded as either bronze, silver, or gold. Those schools which consistently achieve the gold award will also be offered the opportunity to upgrade this to platinum.

Since the inception of the School Games Mark seven years ago, there have been over 55,000 School Games Mark applications submitted. The School Games Mark is externally validated by a third party organisation, with schools in all SGO areas validated on two or more occasions. 

More about School Games Mark

Approaches to Competition

In 2018 the Youth Sport Trust (YST) commissioned research into the design and delivery of competitive youth sport domestically and globally, with the intention of using the findings to ensure that youth sport in the UK is inclusive, accessible and fun. The research identified that competitions can be delivered across eight themes.

This resource considers alternative ways to deliver competition to engage more young people based on the eight themes. The resource aims to support practitioners working with young people

More about Approaches to Competition

School Games Summit 2020

The School Games National Summit 2020 is delivered by the Youth Sport Trust and supported by Sport England, through National Lottery investment.

The School Games National Summit will be delivered virtually on Thursday 19 November. Through various topical keynotes, workshops and structured networking, the event will see all 450 School Games Organisers and their line managers, Active Partnerships and a range of National Governing Bodies from across the country come together to share best practice, celebrate achievements and stretch thinking.

Inclusive Sport

The Youth Sport Trust is determined to ensure that there are opportunities for all young people to compete throughout the School Games.

We provide a number of resources to help schools provide a more inclusive sport provision for their pupils, including:

  • Inclusive Health Check tool
  • Unified specific inclusive sport formats
  • Project Ability

More about inclusive sport


The School Games would not be possible without the funding and support of Sport England, as well as our other partners. Nationally and locally the School Games is being delivered through partnerships. The national partnership is made up of:

  • Youth Sport Trust (YST)
  • Sport England
  • Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)
  • Change4Life (C4L)
  • Department for Education (DfE)
  • British Paralympic Association (BPA)
  • British Olympic Association (BOA)

More about our partners


The Youth Sport Trust works closely with our partners at Change4Life to deliver and maintain special 'Sports Clubs' for primary schools.

Primary sports clubs have been created to increase physical activity levels in less active seven-to-nine-year-olds, through multi-sport themes. The clubs strive to create an exciting and inspirational environment for children to engage in school sport and, over time, ensure their lifelong participation in sport and physical activity.

These clubs also assist in meeting the Government's plans for childhood obesity and the ambition to have all young people active for at least 60 minutes every day.

More about Change4Life

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