Digital Schoolhouse, Nintendo UK and Outright Games launch first ever national junior tournament

Author: Laura Martin, Comms & Programme Manager

8-11 year olds set to play Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Race with Ryan and Crayola Scoot as part of first ever national junior school esports tournament

Register for the junior tournament

Read the junior esports evaluation

Digital Schoolhouse (DSH), in partnership with Nintendo UK and Outright Games, is expanding its school’s esports programme with a new nationwide tournament following a successful pilot last year.

The DSH junior esports tournament is an immersive careers experience for pupils aged 8 to 11 years that brings industry careers to life in the classroom with the help of competitive games on Nintendo Switch.

It allows aspiring learners to take part in real job roles within the video games industry through a range of lessons and activities mapped to subjects on the curriculum such as Computing, English, Maths, Design & Technology (DT) and Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHE).

Pupils playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe in the junior esports pilot
Pupils playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe in the junior esports pilot

A number of the resources on Nintendo Switch are based on a range of popular, age-appropriate video games such as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Race with Ryan and Crayola Scoot. There are also additional generic “plug in” resources that allow teachers to use different games to engage their students.

The launch of the tournament follows a successful pilot scheme in 2020 which demonstrated numerous practical benefits for the children who participated.

The scheme saw pupils more engaged with activities in school. 84% of pupils wanted more lessons in school similar to the esports tournament. 55% of teachers reported that their pupils’ level of attainment was higher than usual. Read the junior esports evaluation.

Kalpesh Tailor, Head of Communications of Nintendo UK said:

We are thrilled in our role as lead partner for Digital Schoolhouse to be bringing yet another transformative and inspiring programme to young pupils across the UK with Nintendo Switch. In the past year our partnership has reached over 10,000 pupils and 1000 teams in schools & colleges across the UK with the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Team Battle tournament. We have seen first-hand the positive impact this has had on pupils who have benefited from teamwork, strategy and social improvements. It is not only inspiring pupils but also helping to educate teachers and parents about the endless opportunities digital skills create. It is great that we can deliver a tailored educational programme using Mario Kart 8 Deluxe so primary school pupils can also engage and get hands on experiences in a multitude of important roles developing and running a nationwide innovative tournament

It also saw increased interest in industry relevant skills and careers. 55% of teachers reported children were significantly more motivated to study computing upon completion of the pilot.  65% of pupils associating the tournament with fostering skills such as teamwork. And 91% of teachers reported that pupils were either very or extremely interested in careers in games.

The senior esports tournament will also resume shortly with the DSH Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Team Battle , set to recommence for ages 12-18 years across the UK in its fifth iteration.

Shahneila Saeed, Programme Director of Digital Schoolhouse and Head of Education for Ukie, said:

We’re really excited to bring esports into primary schools for the first time ever. It was important for us to pilot the junior tournament before bringing it to the masses, to ensure it retained the same educational integrity and meaningful careers insights that our older students benefited from in the senior tournament. We’ve seen first-hand the power of play in the classroom, and we can’t wait for students to immerse themselves in the exhilarating world of esports!

Pupils shoutcasting in the junior esports pilot
Pupils shoutcasting in the junior esports pilot

Terry Malham, CEO of Outright Games said:

Creating high quality interactive entertainment for kids at primary school age is the absolute backbone of what we do as a company. Ensuring our games are entertaining, engaging and educational is key and we can’t think of a better combination than working with Digital Schoolhouse on this completely unique competition. They’re a fantastic partner and we can’t wait to see how their students get stuck in, compete and have a load of fun with some amazing video games

Pupil who participated in the pilot tournament said:

I love when I got to play the game I also liked doing all the jobs it was really fun! My favourite job was production crew that was fun but I don’t think I got to do host which I was really looking forward to. I really enjoyed it I wish I did it everyday at school!

Register for the junior esports tournament

Read about the senior esports tournament