The British Council UAE has organised the Unified Champion Schools Programme, a programme promoting social inclusion within schools and communities in the UAE. Earlier in 2019, the Unified Champion Schools pilot training took place in Abu Dhabi and Ajman inviting teachers and students from a total of 18 UAE schools and 8 Centres for people of determination. The next phase of the programme is the National Trainer Training which will take place from 5 – 12 December 2019.


The Unified Champion School Programme aims to increase sports and leadership opportunities for all students in the UAE regardless of determination or ability and therefore create inclusive school communities. The Programme started in 2018 following

 There are three components to the programme: Inclusive Youth Leadership, Inclusive Sports and Whole School Engagement

  • Inclusive Youth Leadership: an all-embracing leadership club for every student in the UAE. Students are brought together in this component to create social opportunities and lead their schools on the advancement of inclusion.
  • Unified Sports: this component brings together students with and without intellectual disabilities in a team set up, encouraging them to participate in inclusive sports training and competition.
  • Whole School Engagement: the third component is focused on the prevention of bullying and promotion of inclusive initiatives that will reach entire school populations through engaging, inspiring, and optimistic events.


As part of the programme there was be National Trainer Training from 5 – 12 December 2019.

The British Council worked in partnership with the Special Olympics to train 32 selected teachers/trainers to become ‘Unified Champion Schools Trainers’, in a course delivered by trainers from the Youth Sports Trust International. 

During the five-day course, teachers and coaches from the UAE participated in theoretical and practical sessions to develop their skills and knowledge of working with people of all abilities, to deliver inclusive activities across a variety of subject areas.  

Participants were trained on how to train other teachers and coaches to deliver inclusive programming in their schools using the train the trainer model. 

Teachers also received a three-year plan which will support them in rolling out the programme with other schools in the UAE.

 The Unified Champion Schools Programme is an important part of the UAE 2019 Year of Tolerance and is organised in partnership with Special Olympics and the Ministry of Education (MoE). 

Gavin Anderson, Director, British Council, United Arab Emirates said: 

“We are delighted to successfully complete the National Trainer Training as part of the Unified Champions Schools Programme in partnership with Special Olympics and the Ministry of Education. It is a pleasure to work together with the Ministry, the Special Olympics and Youth Sports Trust International to deliver this programme which embodies our shared vision of increased and inclusive participation in sport across all of the schools in the UAE. Participating in sport is invaluable to the life of young people and we believe that this should be accessible to all students regardless of ability. By training the next generation of inclusive sports teacher we equip them with the skills and tools to deliver inclusive activities and programming across schools in the country.”

 H.E Shamma Al Mizuri Minister of Youth and Chair of Special Olympics UAE said:

“I would like thank the British council for the support and partnership with this program. I think the Unified Champions Schools is one of the important programs in Special Olympics. It does not only use sports as an inclusive mechanism between students of intellectual disabilities and those without, but it also activates different inclusive activities in a school.  So, plays on so many different values that we need to nurture and cultivate in young people. One of the visions of Special Olympics UAE is to be the beacon of harmony and hope inclusivity around the world and especially in the section of education. Therefore, one of the things we want to work on is how can we make the best model of Unified Champions schools start in the UAE and then export it around the world.”

Testimonials from participants:

Ms. Amal Alali Senior Specialist in People of Determination division from ADEC:

“As a Senior Specialist in People of Determination division from ADEC, the National Trainer Training has given me a deeper insight of what I should be looking for in classrooms when I tour the schools.  I am in the phase of overseeing the current practices in private schools in Abu Dhabi; to look into the amount of effort, time, resources and staff the schools are putting in.  The next stage is looking into how we, as ADEC, can facilitate, help and support schools to make them inclusive. So, this training has come at the right time because this sets the bar for what I need to expect to see in schools and in classrooms.”