United Learning Launches PARIS 2024
Madison Challis

United Learning Launches PARIS 2024

At the end of last half term, United Learning launched PARIS 2024, a Group-wide initiative to promote sport and active lifestyles with activities inspired by the Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Over the coming months, schools will be hosting a range of events and encouraging their students to take part, ensuring a lasting legacy of engagement in physical activity.

Launching the initiative were two events held at William Hulme’s Grammar School and Midhurst Rother College. These marked the 40-year anniversary of the formation of Women in Sport and 40 years since women were first allowed to run the marathon in the Olympics. To tie in with this, the schools hosted a ‘WOMArathoN’, with girls collectively running 40 kilometres. The aim of the event was to promote girls in sport and inspire them to get active.

The launch event at Midhurst Rother College was also attended by Alex Danson-Bennett, former England and Team GB hockey player and Olympic gold medallist.

With the launch events kicking off PARIS 2024, schools across the Group are now preparing to host their own activities to tie in with the Olympic and Paralympic Games taking place later this year. A whole host of events are planned, including national and regional tournaments in netball, rugby, rowing and artistic swimming.

Alongside this, schools are encouraged to set their own challenges for both students and staff using the number 2024 creatively. For example, one challenge might be to run 2024 metres, or alternatively to run or cycle 20 kilometres each week for 24 weeks.

Staff across the Group will also be getting involved as United Learning’s Head of Sport will be taking on a London to Paris bike ride alongside colleagues to raise funds to support projects on physical and mental wellbeing.

In addition, a host of partners and ambassadors from organisations such as the Rugby Football Union (RFU) will be helping to bring the programme to life with some exciting events.

Whilst the activities are inspired by the Paris Games, the aim is that the events will continue beyond the end of the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics, ensuring that the legacy of the Games lives on.

Shaun Dowling, Head of Sport at United Learning, said: 

We were thrilled to this week launch PARIS 2024 in our continuing work to promote sport for all across the Group. Everyone, no matter their background, should be able to reap the physical and mental benefits of exercise which is why we are so excited to have launched this initiative. Paris 2024 will provide our students with a plethora of fantastic opportunities to get active as well as to boost their confidence and team-working skills.

“Given the anniversary of the formation of Women in Sport, it seemed an opportune moment to focus on the importance of women and girls’ participation in sport. This is why we were grateful to have Alex Danson-Bennett present at our Midhurst launch event, who cheered on our fantastic students and was a huge inspiration to our young athletes.

“Over the coming months, we very much look forward to keeping the spirit of the Olympic and Paralympic Games alive and encouraging as many of our students as possible to get involved. We have so many brilliant activities planned and we’re excited to see the programme develop across our schools.”

Alex Danson-Bennett, former hockey player and Olympic gold medallist, said:

“It was absolutely fabulous to be at Midhurst Rother College launching PARIS 2024 with some amazing young women.

“Involvement in sports and being active is so important for all of us – it gives us a sense of pride and achievement, engages us as part of a team and makes us happy. But it can be heartbreaking to hear the national statistics about the drop-off in girls’ participation rates as they get older compared to boys.

“That’s why opportunities like this are so brilliant to inspire and engage with these girls and ensure they can be positive influencers within their own lives and community.”



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