The OAT Sports Cup is one of the most eagerly trust-wide events in the school calendar. The longstanding inter-school sports competition, which was first held on a regional basis but due to popularity has now been extended to include all four OAT regions, provides a unique opportunity for students from different schools and regions to compete against each other for the Cup – be it in athletics, team sports or a crucial game of tug of war.
What we did
Since 2017, a regional sports cup has been held every summer at a professional stadium, enabling students from academies across OAT’s four regional hubs to compete against each other in track, field, dance and games. This has been supported and funded through the generous sponsorship of Zurich Municipal.
Following the first OAT Sports Cup, the then Education Secretary launched five foundations for character development and resilience, within which sport features, and we were determined to create a national offer for our schools that combined sports with other key areas highlighted in the five foundations, namely: performance, creativity and volunteering.
In 2019, the OAT Sports Cup become a national offer, with two regional competitions taking place in the summer term, one for academies in the north and west and one for academies in the south and east OAT regions. Over 1,200 students came together, with support from school leaders, and had the opportunity to compete in dance and performance, photography, student leadership, art and creative school spirit. For 2020, everyone was determined to keep the tradition up despite the challenges brought by COVID-19. The enrichment team worked tirelessly to launch the competition as a virtual event for the first time.
What we achieved
Over the month of June, which coincides with National Sports Week, over 7,000 pupils and staff members participated in weekly sports or fitness-related challenges covering all ages and abilities (mainstream and SEND) on behalf of their school. Pupils and staff were encouraged to document their challenges through photographs and videos, so that they could share in what their colleagues and classmates were getting up to. Across the OAT family, pupils and staff completing an extraordinary 19,000 (76,000 individual) activities sporting challenges altogether as part of the competition.
What we thought
Nick Hudson, CEO of Ormiston Academies Trust said: “When we decided to turn the popular annual OAT Sports Cup into a virtual event, we knew students would be excited about its return, but we did not necessarily expect to see such an incredible uptake in those taking part. Throughout this unprecedented period, we have remained true to our commitment as a Trust to achieve more by working together and so it has been brilliant to see these values play out with our whole OAT family coming together to enjoy the OAT Virtual Sports Cup, despite the wider challenges.”