OFI’s Schools programme ‘Dare to Believe’ expanded to secondary schools

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The Olympic Schools Programme ‘Dare to Believe’ has been expanded to secondary schools.

The programme, which was launched in 2019, brought the Olympic Games and its values to primary schools across Ireland.

Permanent TSB has been confirmed as the new sponsor of the programme.

A total of 15 Tokyo 2020 athletes have been added to the programme which brings the number of Olympian and Paralympian ambassadors involved to 31.

A number of ambassadors will come from the sport of athletics. Olympians Thomas Barr, Brendan Boyce, Phil Healy, Sarah Lavin, Marcus Lawler, Louise Shanahan, and Michelle Finn will all be involved. Paralympians Greta Streimikyte and Orla Comerford are also ambassadors for the programme, along with talented hurdler Sarah Quinn from Mayo.

The ambassadors are tasked with delivering their story to classrooms, imparting insights on their sporting journey and sharing tips on how to deal with challenges, demonstrating examples of their resilience.

Over the last year 77,000 primary school children have engaged with the programme, which has included virtual challenges and featured on RTÉ’s popular ‘Home School Hub’.

The secondary school programme will be predominately aimed at Transition Year students. It has been developed conjunction with teachers and explores important topics through the lens of sport. Amongst the topics covered on the programme are mental health, racism, the positive impact of sport on society, well-being, respect, equality and hate speech.

‘Dare to Believe’ was founded by 2008 Olympian in the 3000m Steeplechase and National Record holder over the distance Roisin McGettigan from Wicklow. McGettigan said she was “delighted” that the programme was launching in secondary schools.

“We are delighted to be expanding our Dare to Believe programme to secondary schools. We all know that there is a high level of teenagers dropping out of sport and this programme aims to address this and promote the wider values of sport; physically, socially, and mentally. Through Dare to Believe sport is promoted as self-development tool for character building, leadership, connection to community and wellbeing.  We worked with TY teachers and students at every stage of the TY programme’s evolution to ensure that the 6-unit curriculum is fit for purpose as an interdisciplinary life skills and wellbeing programme. Our Olympic & Paralympic ambassador role models can’t wait to get into schools to work with this cohort and I’m sure they will have an incredible impact on the students they engage with,” she said at the launch.

Registration for the Dare to Believe programme is free of charge and all details can be found on for both primary and secondary curriculums.

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