Children as young as five at St Martin’s Academy in Chester and Delamere Academy are to benefit from a new and innovative programme of competitive sport.

While some primary schools wait until children are older before introducing a competitive element to sport, academy PE coordinators at St Martin’s and Delamere believe it can inspire even their youngest pupils.

They use it to raise confidence, improve fitness and teach them how winning and losing should be treated with equal importance.

Now teachers from the schools have joined forces with counterparts from Oak View Academy, at Winsford , to design a programme which appeals to all pupils.

It includes football, netball, orienteering, tag rugby and athletics, and older children will help out in roles such as referee, scorer and coach.

Tom Freeman, from Delamere , explained: “Through delivering a variety of inter-house sports competitions to Key Stage One (KS1) children at our school I have seen first-hand the positive outcomes sporting competitions can have.

“In joining into partnership with St Martin’s and Oak View we have been able to share ideas, expertise, facilities and equipment.

“All children in KS1 will get a meaningful experience – regardless of their age or ability. They can learn key life skills, improve their health and develop important social skills.”

The schools, along with soon-to-be-opened Ledsham Manor in Ellesmere Port , are part of the North West Academies Trust.

Each school will take the lead in delivering a number of competitions throughout year, enabling children to make new connections and friendships.

Shona Valentine, from St Martin’s, at Hoole Road, said: “These competitions help to instil sporting values from a young age.

“They will begin to develop better communication and learn teamwork, and appreciate the importance of trying your best, good sportsmanship and being a gracious winner or loser.”

Laura Spaven, from Oak View, added: “I think an element of competition gives the children something to aim for, and helps them learn to be an effective member of a team.

“We ensure that all children can compete in some form of sport and they are recognised for participating through certificates.”