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Big SMILEs for sports event


More than 250 school pupils with special educational needs will be taking part in a range of inclusive sports activities at a University of Wolverhampton event. 

The annual BIG SMILE will take place at the University’s Walsall Campus on Wednesday, 6 June 2018.

Wheelchair rugby and basketball, football and handball will be among the activities on offer at the event, which is attended by secondary school pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) from the Black Country.

Activities will be co-ordinated by the University’s PE and Dance Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Trainees and delivered by 30 sports leaders who are themselves identified with SEND, or English as an Additional language (EAL), and also experts in adapted sports.

This year the event has been expanded to include the BIG SMILE Curriculum event, which will be led by Secondary ITT students from a range of subjects including drama, English, mathematics, science, computer science, art & design, history and modern foreign languages.

They will work with more than 90 secondary school pupils from specialist provision schools including Sutton School, Dudley, Severndale Specialist Academy, Shrewsbury, Penn Fields School, Wolverhampton, Jane Lane School, Walsall and Old Park School, Dudley, on practical and innovative learning activities.

The day has been organised in partnership with Dot Heslop, University of Wolverhampton Secondary PE & Dance Initial Teacher Training (ITT), Helen Bourton, the founder of SMILE from Wolverhampton PASS (Partnership and School Sport) and Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall Black Country Schools Sports Partnerships.

Dot said: “The BIG SMILE is a real highlight in the University of Wolverhampton calendar, as it is such an enjoyable event and there is always a great atmosphere on campus. This is a real opportunity for our trainee teaching students, undergraduates and Learning Disability Nursing students, to gain valuable practical experience of working with young people with special education needs and disabilities on innovative and fun learning activities.

“We are really looking forward to welcoming the pupils to this year’s BIG SMILE event, which will be bigger and better than ever before.”

The event will be supported by experts in various sports including Wayne Mcdonald from GB Judo; Staffordshire Ability Cricket Coaches Steve Lightfoot & Nick Jelfs; Martin Harrison University of Wolverhampton Head Coach Football; Alan Caron from AC Inclusive Wheelchair Sports and most capped Wales Wheelchair Rugby; Richard Callicott OBE, Honorary President of Volleyball England and Josefina Vilela, Ambassador for SMILE & Inspirational Advocate for Inclusive Opportunities.

For further information about teaching opportunities, visit:

Further information

Date Issued: Monday, 04 June 2018

For more information please contact the Media Relations Office on 01902 32 2736 or 01902 518647.

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