The School Games started in 2006 as the UK School Games with a five sport programme and the annual Olympic and Paralympic-style event has helped launch the careers of some of Britain’s top athletes including Paralympic gold medallists Hannah Cockroft and Ellie Simmonds, Team GB Hockey gold medallists Georgie Twigg and Lily Owsley. By 2011 the Games had grown to feature 11 Olympic and Paralympics sports, and through its’ history to date a total of 14 sports have been included in programme.

Last year the government-commissioned review of the School Games recommended reviewing which sports participate in the Finals. It set out criteria to broaden the focus from Olympic and Paralympic sports and ensure that the event was contributing to the nurturing of new talent through home nation and UK pathways.

This led to the invitation of National Governing Bodies of sport to submit applications for participating in the 2018 event, detailing the potential impact of the School Games National Finals on their talent programme. The Youth Sport Trust was tasked with assembling a panel made up of Sport England, Sport NI, Sport Scotland, Sport Wales, UK Sport and the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to assess the 20 applications received.

A new-look programme for the 2018 will see a number of current sports making way for sports which haven’t previously featured in competition. The full programme for 2018 School Games National Finals at Loughborough University will be announced later in the year.