The International School Sport Federation was formed in 1971 and now has more than 100 member countries. The aim of the organisation is to promote Education through sport. ISF is recognised for this vital work by the United Nations, the International Olympic Committee, the International Olympic Academy, Special Olympics, SportAccord and Peace & Sport. The President of ISF sits on the IOC Education Committee.
The ISF organises World Schools Championships in 18 sports, with over 10,000 participants per year. Its Gymnasiade ( High School Games) is held biennially. This is for National Teams and currently there are 18 sports are on offer. It is expected that 5000 athletes will compete in China in 2021. ISF is building partnerships with key international sporting federations and has signed Memorandums of Understanding with many.
ISF events are unique because of their Educational focus. As well as the competitions there is a Cultural Day when athletes tour the local area and see the local culture. Then there is the National Evening. Here each delegation represents their country in music and dance. They run a tourist stall to share their food and culture. It is one of the highlights of any ISF event.
ISF also run Inclusive Sports events. The Educational Games runs annually in Greece and is based on the Olympic Games. Athletes with learning disability and athletes from mainstream schools spend a week together visiting the key Olympic sites and playing inclusive sports. Four English schools were actually present at the ceremony when the Olympic Flame for Rio was handed to representatives from Brazil.
The first Inclusive Games were run in Portugal in cooperation with the Portuguese Paralympic Committee. There was also a Seminar on Inclusive Sports as part of the event. We took part in the sports and provided a speaker for the Seminar.
She Runs is an event to encourage girls participation in sport. 500 international athletes plus 1500 local girls took part in a festival of sport in Paris and a 2 km run along the Seine. The delegations then returned to their own country to run an event in their area. The next event is due in Brussels in 2021.
NCSS has been a member of ISF since 1975. It has supported the organisation by setting up two new sports and providing technical personnel to run many others. The Chair, former Chair and former Treasurer of NCSS have been members of the Executive of the ISF, the Chair is Vice President of the ISF Education Commission and NCSS provides technical officials in 4 other sports.
Full details about ISF can be found at www.isfsports.org