School Games is a programme run by the Youth Sport Trust (YST) that delivers more than 3 million sporting opportunities for 5-18 year olds every year.  

In only five years, the network grew from 3,000 to more than 21,500 people. Over 450 organisers rely on the online tools YST provide to co-ordinate and record school games. The web app originally designed for the 2011 pilot programme was creaking under the strain of supporting a volume of users it was never designed to handle.


Over 85% of all schools in England take part in School Games competitions

YST decided to invest in a complete revamp of the Your School Games platform with the objective that a new platform should be:

  1. Engaging:  combining a great user experience for schools and YST’s wider network of event organisers as well as offering a calendar of events and other resources.
  2. Efficient: providing powerful management tools enabling YST to capture data, track progress and report against KPIs to their funder, Sport England.
  3. Sustainable: allowing the YST team to be self-sufficient day-to-day (and not reliant on an agency), whilst scaling effectively with YST’s longer term ambitions, allowing them to continue growing.

We headed up to Loughborough with a multidisciplinary team (including UX, software engineering, and design leads) to pitch a UX-led rebuild of the existing web app and public facing website. We were chuffed they picked us as partners.

You spoke about the discovery process and going out and engaging with our network. The importance that you’d placed on the discovery phase, in hindsight, made it as successful as it was.

– Glen Harrington - YST

Let’s get physical

Over the course of an extensive discovery process we met teachers, regional and county organisers, together with key YST stakeholders, to define and prioritise clear user stories and key user journeys for each of the seven (yes, seven!) - distinct user roles that existed in the system. Meanwhile, back at HQ, we undertook the technical analysis to design a new data model designed for high performance and scalability.

Prototypes for YST

Your School Games application prototype

Before we started writing any code, we created a fully clickable prototype of the new solution which allowed us to test end-to-end user journeys and refine them to ensure a friction-free experience. The prototype was developed ‘mobile first’ as our user research told us the majority of users were accessing the site on the move.

LOVE THIS! Please share more when it comes.

– User Testing Feedback

The Tech inside the box

Once users and YST were satisfied with the prototype, our software engineering team began the build, drawing upon a palette of open source tools and technologies which included the Python-based Django framework doing the heavy lifting, Facebook’s ReactJS library for a lightweight, decoupled UI, and the Wagtail CMS.  The application integrates with YST’s Salesforce CRM, automatically pulling in data on schools, School Games Organisers and Local Organising Committees via the Salesforce API. The end result is an application which offers a slick and enjoyable experience not only for end users but also for the YST team.

YST school games adding event

Adding events in the Your School Games application

It is easy to add events which is so good - makes it quick. Was initially concerned with schools having to sign up. However, I’ve had loads already, and schools that never engaged with it are re-signing up so brilliant :) Good Job. The reviewing the calendar is so much better! Yes, that schools tab is brilliant - I've been playing with it on my phone, tablet, and computer and it's so easy on all!

– School Games Organiser

School reports to be proud of

One of the biggest wins in the new system is the new reporting functionality. Gone are the days of Excel-wrangling, tears, misery, and the need for constant and expensive third-party support. The YST team are now self-sufficient, and can create custom reports directly within the web app - dynamically compiling exactly the data they need to take along to a meeting, or when visiting a school. The wider implication of this functionality is that it provides the business intelligence YST need to shape the future of the programme, with more insightful reports clearly demonstrating the effectiveness of School Games work for Sport England.


We've created a fully mobile friendly integrated web app and website, built on a fully open source stack. No matter how big they grow, School Games volunteers and administrators now have a one-stop shop that's both actively helpful to them, and a pleasure to use. The Youth Sport Trusthave big plans for the future, and we’re looking forward to moving forward in our partnership with them.

Your school games app

Check this out kids!

I’ve worked with a number of agencies across different projects, and I don’t think I’ve ever worked with anyone that has been so engaged, timely and on the ball. It always felt like you didn’t just consider it a job, you cared about the job. I hope that our relationship will continue for the foreseeable future.

– Glen Harrington - YST

If you'd like us to help you build a winning web app contact Will, our friendly digital consultant.