Students from Brooke Weston Academy, Corby, took part in a goalball training session led by the town’s Paralympian Niall Graham, which was filmed for television’s Newsround programme.
TV presenter Martin Dougan interviewed some of the school’s visually-impaired students for the report, which focussed on the provision of sports in schools for those with disabilities.
Goalball involves teams of three blindfolded players, who have to score goals using a specially adapted ball that contains bells so players can locate it. The blindfolds allow partially-sighted players to compete on an equal footing with blind and sighted players.
Niall, who played for Team GB in the Paralympics said: “As the students walked in they didn’t know what to expect. At the end we asked how many people worked with, spoke to or shared something with a student that they don’t normally have contact with and two thirds of the hands went up. When they are blindfolded they don’t mind who they are passing to or sharing with.”
The session was organised by teacher Katherine Bryan, Matthew Peleszok from the Corby, Oundle and Thrapson School Sports Partnership and Alex Bunney from Goalball UK.
Afterwards Niall took part in a question and answer session with seven of Brooke Weston’s visually-impaired students.
It was the second time that they had met as, last month, he and Olympian Darren Campbell trained the same students at a goalball tournament in Wellingborough, funded by Project Ability, a Youth Sport Trust initiative which aims to increase opportunities to improve and extend provision for young disabled pupils to take part in competitive sport.
The follow-up session at Brooke Weston was also funded by Project Ability.
Martin, who has a special interest in disability sports and presented some of Channel 4’s Paralympic coverage, said: “We are looking to find out what the reaction has been after the Paralympics and how that legacy has impacted sport in school.
“I wasn’t allowed to do PE in primary school so to come here to see goalball, a Paralympic sport, being presented in a main-stream school, means that sport has come on a lot more than I expected.
“It is great to see something that these students are in charge of, the fact that this is ultimately a sport for visually impaired so it is theirs to show everyone else.”