Log on for an online European sports days, says Bernard Adams
Open Eyes to sport. Yes, we're into another "European Year of ..." This time it's European Year of Education through Sport - and Eyes, as it is called, offers all schools the chance to participate in an exciting online sports day.
Eyes is being managed in Britain by the Youth Sport Trust, which supported bids for EU money and then distributed the cash to successful applicants.
The deadline for bids has now passed and five regional projects - each of which benefited by roughly pound;35,000 - are up and running, with more due to follow.
Donna Tipping, of the Youth Sport Trust, points to the Eyes website as currently delivering perhaps the most useful and exciting service to schools in Great Britain.
She says: "More than 300 schools have already visited the site and 30 have signed on for the continuous online sports day. Teachers have to log on and register to access a series of challenges for their pupils in a wide variety of sports.
"For example, in badminton pupils will have to serve as many shuttles as they can into specific areas of the court in one minute. They'd also be challenged to do a basketball dribble, or to see how far they can row (indoors of course) in five minutes."
Every participating school has to complete all of the 10 challenges, and as each one is accomplished the teacher enters the results.
European participation in this online event is being encouraged. The regional projects involve, in most cases, a crossover of sport with academic subjects.
For example, in the Learning Zone at the highly successful Kingston Communications stadium in Hull, groups of up to 14 pupils will take part in out-of-school hours learning once a week for 10 weeks. These sessions will raise basic academic skills and also enable students to aim for a C grade in PE at GCSE.
Loughborough University has been funded for a rather different Eyes project. Professor Ian Henry is investigating how fit and healthy asylum-seekers aged between 14 and 40 can be encouraged into communal physical activity. Could football, by any chance, be the answer?
For more information, phone YST, tel: 01509 226600 or vist the Eyes website at www.eyes2004.org