Image demonstrating School Games Go Virtual

School Games Go Virtual

A virtual version of the Northumberland and Tyne & Wear School Games Festival, which involves hundreds of young people from the county’s primary and secondary schools, will launch on Friday 19 June at 10.00am.

Up to 1,800 young people usually take part in the events each year – which are normally held separately in their respective areas - but the Covid-19 lockdown has forced the organisers into a change of plan.

Over the course of the day, several challenges including football, fitness, cricket, dance, tennis, rugby, cheer, yoga and hockey, will be set by local partners to provide young people with the opportunity to achieve their personal best and challenge friends, family and classmates. 

Knockout events for the annual competition had been taking place at primary and secondary schools before lockdown, but the county finals events due to be held in Sunderland and Cramlington in June have now been officially cancelled. Instead, a new, day-long Virtual School Games competition is being held online, to encourage children to remain active and have fun. 

Included in the line-up will be an opening ceremony from a star guest presenter and good luck messages from some well-known sporting stars. Challenges will be posted throughout the day on the Virtual School Games YouTube channel as well as on the Northumberland Sport and the Tyne & Wear Sport social media pages. 

Those participating at home or school are encouraged to record and submit their attempts via Facebook and Twitter using #VSG20 for a chance to win an Amazon voucher for their family or school. There will also be a mascot design competition along with a message from Daily Mile Foundation Ambassador and world record marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge. 

Clare Morley, Chief Executive at the North NE Active Partnership (NNEAP), formerly known separately as Northumberland Sport and Tyne & Wear Sport, said: “While we are all obviously disappointed that the pandemic had forced the cancellation of the county finals, staff within schools, the School Games Organisers and the team from NNEAP have worked extremely hard to make sure pupils remain engaged and have the opportunity to be active and interact with their friends and peers. 

“We hope the Virtual School Games will provide the inspiration to be active both on the day and over the next few weeks and months.”

Northumberland County Councillor Wayne Daley, cabinet member with responsibility for children's services said: “The School Games Festival is always one of the highlights of the school sporting calendar. While the coronavirus has temporarily closed sports centres and stopped school sports events, the virtual world has opened up other ways of engaging people in physical activity and providing new opportunities to keep fit and healthy.

“Helping our children stay active is more important than ever – for everyone’s physical and mental health. This virtual event is a great way for young people to take part in skills and fitness challenges and have a really fun day.”

Cabinet member for leisure at Northumberland County Council Cath Homer added: “After weeks of lockdown it is brilliant to see so many young people, of all ages from across the county sign up to take part. The ethos of the day is about joining in and having fun and I am sure, with the great line-up of active entertainment that has been planned, that this will certainly be the case.”

School Games Organiser for Sunderland, Amy McCulloch said: “The School Games represents the culmination of a yearlong sporting calendar. We always strive to offer every child in every school the opportunity to participate, lead and compete. The Virtual School Games enables us to do this. We hope every child uses this opportunity to reconnect, have fun and engage with the fantastic content to achieve their personal best.”

For more information and to subscribe to the Virtual School Games YouTube channel visit: or

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