British Esports Association offers inclusive tournament for Alternative Provision schools

Across the United Kingdom, a new esports initiative has just launched. The British Esports Association has teamed up with PC Specialist and Fierce PC in order to host an exclusive (and inclusive!) esports tournament.

Eight institutions across the country are going to be taking part in the event, and both PC Specialist and Fierce PC are going to lend systems to these schools for the students to play on. The game played will be Rocket League – courtesy of Green Man Gaming, each school will receive free licenses for the game.

The BEA is a non-profit group founded in order to promote grass-roots esports initiatives. This is the most recent one – the stand-alone tournament will take place in weekly matches next year. Each participating school will receive 3 PCs and game keys each – at no cost to the schools. This gives all students the opportunity to compete on even grounds, without having to worry about being held back by equipment problems.

The matches themselves will take place on Wednesdays during the lunch hour, to make sure the students’ classes aren’t affected by it all. The first iteration of the tournament is going to take place on January 30th, with the finals taking place on Marth 27th.

Nicely enough, the tournament even takes the school holidays into consideration – February 18th, there won’t be a tournament game since it’s half-term. As for the schools taking part in it all, these are the eight in question: Notton House School, Chippenham, Wiltshire, The Green Room, Windsor, Berkshire, The Gateway, Slough, Berkshire, Millside School, Slough, Berkshire, Glebe School, Bromley, Kent, Sheffield Inclusion Centre (SIC), Sheffield, Yorkshire, Nightingale Community Academy, Wandsworth, London, and Orchard Hill College, Sutton, Surrey.

In case you are unfamiliar with what AP schools are – they offer special support for students with special needs, including those who suffer from issues related to Social Emotional Mental Health (SEMH), Special Education Need (SEND), Speech Language Communication Needs (SLCN), Autistic Spectrum (ASC), Moderate Learning Difficulties (MLD), Complex & Severe Needs, and Emotional & Behavioural Needs (EBD).

This venture is particularly remarkable since, when it comes to being inclusive, esports isn’t always at the top of its proverbial game – despite having remarkable potential for inclusiveness, this is rarely exploited, and the top tier esports leagues tend to be filled largely with white or Asian men. When even women are still a rarity in tournaments like the OWL, it’s really no surprise that equality for other groups is still far, far off from where it should be.

It’s efforts like this stand-alone tournament that really take steps in the right direction here. BEA Head of Education, Tom Dore even commented: “I’m pleased to report we have some very excited AP schools and students on board. I am proud to say we are working with a wide range of AP schools who support a full spectrum of students with additional needs and look forward to bringing this esports tournament to them.”