The Sheffield Schools bouldering competition is a fun, inclusive competition, offering the chance for a large number of school children to experience climbing for the first time and possibly spark a lifelong love for the sport. It also draws from a range of schools from across the whole Sheffield and Greater Sheffield area, bringing together children from a diverse backgrounds.
Ruth Harrington, Coach Manager at The Climbing Works in Sheffield approached the Alpkit Foundation and gave a quick recap on what the completion involved.
“Each year we run a competition which recently has been attracting around 600 students from a variety of schools over the 5/6 week qualification round period. Our overall aim is to create an inclusive competition for children from a variety of backgrounds many of whom have never climbed before. We have 2 hour qualification rounds and then our finals are free for the top 10 schools (primary and secondary). One space in the final is reserved for an SEN school regardless of their score in the qualification round.”
So after two years off due to Covid they were keen to come back positively and encourage as many schools as possible to take part. The Alpkit Foundation was delighted to offer a £300 award that meant it could financially support 5 schools cover their entries and help them attend the competition when they normally wouldn't be able to. Unfortunately 2 had to pull out shortly before hand, but these spots will be rolled through to next year.
Parkwood Academy was one of these funded teams and great to see them making it through to the finals!
“The competition was originally created for special needs schools and it’s now open to all schools, but still holds inclusion at its core. Our aim is not to make money from this competition and we run the qualification rounds at the lowest price we can afford to do so. Unfortunately in some cases schools from more deprived areas are still unable to pay for their qualification slot, or bring as many children as they would like to. We have links with local authorities who will help us to choose appropriate schools to support.”
With the extra funding it allowed 18 more school children to take part, so it was absolutely fantastic to hear back that the competition was so busy and that they are already looking to grow off the back of the increased popularity. Next year they will be looking to add an extra tier by introducing semi-finals, whilst the larger competition will allow more schools and children from all backgrounds have access to it.
Jill Whittaker has been involved with the competition for a while now and let us know why it’s such a great event. “There’s a great team behind the competition and it’s so special because EVERYONE can have a go. You don’t have to have climbed regularly or go to a club. The day is about fun, being encouraged by everyone around you and you giving the same back.”
Read the competition write up over on the Climbing Works site.