Joining Competitions

We believe that all young people should have the opportunity to participate in the School Games. Here you can find out how to get involved with the different types of School Games events, as well as what being a 'School Games school' entitles you to.

Personal Challenge

The opportunity: It is the mission of the School Games to put physical activity and competitive sport at the heart of schools and provide more young people with the opportunity to compete and achieve their personal best. This includes competing against oneself and others to improve personal performances. Personal Challenge is a student driven/self-led opportunity to attempt and improve performance – this can be informal, physically active challenges both at school and beyond the school day. 

Getting Involved: These challenges should be accessible for all students in school and designed to engage as many participants as possible. In secondary schools, the challenges should be both student-led with the concept that students will challenge others to beat a score or better their performance. In primary schools, these challenges may be digitally-led if appropriate but this isn't essential. They can be organised by school staff but should be student driven and organised in consultation with young people.

Making it School Games: The following examples may bring this to life:

  • Using the primary intra-school basketball cards, students were challenged over a week to get the lowest par possible on the Basketball Golf Challenge. 
  • During break and lunch times, students were encouraged to beat their Tennis ‘Bounce About’ score. This involved how many bounces they could do in 30 seconds. Students record it, and those who had biggest improvement were celebrated.
  • Using the Rowing ‘Ergo Warrior’ students posted their personal best times on a virtual league. Rewards were given for progress over time.

What is most important at this level is that students are recognised by peers and staff for their commitment to the School Games 'Spirit of the Games' values.

Intra-School Competition

The opportunity: With children in England attending school until the age of 16, there is no better place to provide all young people with the opportunity to compete than in that environment, whether that be between houses, classes, or even friendship groups. All registered users of the School Games website can access tools and resources to support this.

Getting involved: It is the responsibility of the individual school to engage pupils in intra-school competitions. Therefore, there are many different ways of doing so. These activities are ideally initiated by young people in schools, but are normally run as breakfast, lunch or after school activities, and in some cases they are used as part of PE lessons. We encourage schools to consider how they use competition to develop a sense of belonging and celebrate the individual progress students make.

Making it School Games: Through the School Games website, you will be able to find a range of different sport formats and activities. These have been designed by National Governing Bodies of sport (NGBs) and include both primary and secondary formats. Take a look at the sports we cover here

Local Inter-School Competition

The opportunity: The history of inter-school competitions is far wider than the School Games, however the emphasis has been to increase the breadth (number and type of sports) and depth (number of young people engaging) of competition. To support this, a calendar of local events is created by a School Games Organiser (SGO) who is provided with government funding to offer a minimum of three days a week support to schools across their area. As a result, all schools should have open access to a calendar of competitions throughout the year.

There are three different variations of inter-school competition:

  • Pathway events - an inter-school event where the winners feed into a county final
  • Development events - an inter-school event where there is no pathway and the purpose is established locally
  • Festival events - an inter-school event which involves a rotation of skill based activities. 

Getting involved: Inter-school competition is suitable for school years 3-13. At this stage, individuals and teams will be selected to represent their school and compete against other local schools. These competitions may take place using a tournament or league structure. Schools will have the flexibility to decide which sports to enter but are encouraged to involve as many pupils as possible by creating breadth in the sports they offer and depth through the creation of additional teams.

Making it School Games: All those organising local inter-school competitions are asked to follow the School Games sport formats, whilst providing further clarity about the style of delivery and the pupils the competitions are targeting.

County Provision / Offer

The opportunity: The county provision / offer is a menu of opportunities as agreed by the SGOs and Active Partnership. This menu will consist of a number of opportunities targeting those young people most in need across the county. This will look very different from county to county and will be based on local intelligence. This may result in some opportunities for the young people to come together at a central venue for some regular or one-off opportunities or competition where the measure of success is more than the score.

Getting involved: Schools will need to be engaged with their SGO to access these opportunities as these will very much be developed according to the need. This may not be a universal offer across the county, but a more targeted one.

View our sports

Find the full range of School Games sports, from American Football to Wheelchair Basketball.