Teenagers with Learning Difficulties


Southlands Special School


Big Lottery


Sportworks were engaged by Southlands Special School to design and deliver an innovative course for their Year 10 & 11 students (14 -16 year olds) with varying degrees of learning difficulties.  The brief was to enhance physical and mental health whilst developing a range of ‘soft’ skills to support students’ progression to College life.


Adopting a highly differentiated approach to support each student to achieve their own personal goals, the Sportworks tutors designed a 20 week programme incorporating team building activities, martial arts, rock climbing and wheelchair Basketball.   The activity programme, which was delivered across a range of community venues to assist students to develop independent travel skills, culminated in a sports tournament organised and coordinated by students.  The programme was part delivered at TyneMet College to provide students with an introduction to College life.


  • To increase student health and fitness
  • To enhance self-confidence, independence and personal resilience
  • To facilitate introductions to College life and equip students with coping skills
  • To develop transferrable employability skills including event management, leadership and group communication


  • Several students joined local sports clubs as individuals
  • 97% of students reported increased physical and mental well-being
  • 84% of students increased resilience and 91% felt better able to cope in acommunity environment
  • The programme won the Partnership category Award in the 2019 NE Youth
  • Awards, beating several prestigious competitors including professional FootballFoundations