Bright Sparks

Bright Sparks uses sport to engage with and educate some of the most disaffected young people in the most deprived areas of Bristol. 

Bright Sparks equips these young people with the skills and confidence to better support their journey in education and increase aspirations. These young people are identified as being at risk from issues such as permanent exclusion, anti-social behaviour and potential into the criminal justice system. The programme aims to support young people who attend identified secondary schools located in areas of Bristol and Somerset in which some are ranked as the most deprived wards in the country.

Key Aims

Delivered by Bristol Bears Community Foundation, the key aims of the project are to improve young people’s academic journey by improving their self-esteem, confidence and coping strategies.

Impact and Outcomes

  • Over 250 students have completed the programme in the past 3 years
  • 85% of students who start the programme finish the year with a recognised Sport and Fitness award
  • On average 80% of students decrease behaviour points by the end of the academic year
  • 80% of students surveyed on the programme felt they developed and maintained positive online learning techniques and stress management strategies during lockdown
  • 90% of students believed their teamwork skills improved following the Bright Sparks programme
  • 100% of students surveyed after the Education Day appreciated education and teachers more

Programme Structure

Targeted at school years 8, 9, and10, groups are made up of 15 students who have up to two hours of lessons a week with Bristol Bears Community Foundation staff. Lessons blend classroom and practical learning to engage students in sport, rugby and core values that improve both confidence and self-esteem within students. Classroom content allows the students to demonstrate knowledge and understanding whilst working towards an accredited Sports and Fitness Award. The practical part of the lessons creates an opportunity for students to apply knowledge practices, games and scenarios whilst further strengthing essential personal skills including communication, cooperation and leadership skills.


"I cannot thank you enough for the journey you have provided the students with this year and it has been a real privilege to witness the group grow and develop as the year has progressed. It has been amazing to see some students actually develop the ability to cooperate and work together, and for some the increase in confidence has been remarkable. Most pleasing for me is actually seeing the students be able to learn from their mistakes, recognise where they have gone wrong and have the maturity to apologise. I particularly love the rapport you have developed with the boys, and they evident respect they have for you and are really trying to promote the values you are teaching them!" Rachel Cole, Head of Year 11, Merchants Academy
"Brandon was very low in confidence, no interest in a lot of subjects including sport. We saw a major difference in Brandon, he didnt have much confidence in himself and his school work and Brandon didnt have a plan going forward. During the course Brandon benefitted in a number of areas, he focused more in all lessons and grew in confidence. After the Bright Sparks programme Brandon went on to achieve all his GCSE's and is studying A levels and he is now making choices on apprenticeship or university courses. Since Brandon has been through the programme I have seen an big difference, its been immense. I would urge other parents to allow thier child to take part." Parent

Programme Contact Details

For more information please contact Simon Weaver.