The cheers from the crowd, the nerves in the tummy, the excitement of the competition, the pride at winning your first medal…and if you are lucky, an ice lolly at the end to cool you down. Sports days live long in the memory. The highlight of the school year for so many.

As I looked around the school field today and watched the curtain come down on another sweltering Sports Day, I took a moment to take in the sights in front of me. I was trying to think of another day or event in the school calendar that brought such excitement and happiness to everyone involved. I saw pupils running to parents to share stories of how they had just thrown the bean bag further than they ever had before, how they came so close in the relay race or how funny it was when Mr Croghan fell over in the teacher’s sprint. It wasn’t just the winners with beaming smiles, it really was the taking part that counted.

But are schools doing enough to create this sort of competitive buzz throughout the year? It is probably a yes for those who manage to get onto school teams but for many, the chance to get rewarded and really measure how their skills are developing comes only once a year.

Schools across the country are finding that Striver can provide this competitive buzz throughout the year by rewarding pupils for personal improvement in fitness and skills as part of PE lessons, as well as putting them in competition with other house teams, classes and even schools. It is giving the historically non-sporty pupils the opportunity to feel a sense of achievement in PE lessons for the first time.

As teachers we need to inspire pupils to get active, fit and healthy. Sports day proves that competition has the desired positive effect. We need to ensure that we provide the opportunities for pupils to compete all year round and not just leave it to one sunny day in June.

Derek