Special Educational Needs and Disability 

People with learning disabilities have significantly lower life expectancies than the general population. LYR is committed to ensuring that young people in London with disabilities are able to access our sport. We are very pleased to have worked with 12 SEND schools this year, with nearly 10% of young people on our schools programme identified as having a disability.

Many of the young people attending our clubs are, for lots of different reasons, unable to access sport outside of the school environment. The importance of the clubs provision and focus on maintaining young people’s physical fitness and healthy weight cannot be underestimated, as there are many additional barriers to exercise which effect young people with autism and learning difficulties including medication, support at home and problems with behaviour. 

The schools look to set targets for all young people. This might be beating a personal best, reading the rowing machine monitor correctly, working as part of a team or suggesting an exercise to warm up with. Our Inclusion Officer, Jenny, has used Makaton to be able to involve young people with communication difficulties. 

Highlights for the past year have included seeing schools compete at the National Junior Indoor Rowing Championships (NJIRC), with a record number of 191 participants entered to race, and welcoming the majority of schools onto the water at our fully inclusive site at the Royal Docks Adventure. 

Joanne Sykes at Highshore school, who joined the programme last year, said:

'Our students with ADHD & ASD, are much calmer and focused in the classroom (as a result of rowing). Joining the programme has offered our students an activity which they would not normally have access to. NJIRC preparation encouraged students that do not normally attend rowing clubs to access the rowing machines, and participate during PE lessons. The on water taster was a whole new experience for our students, it was interesting to see our normally quite confident students, pushed out of their comfort zone.'