Excellence in Competitive School Sports

Ofsted Reprot – “Going the Extra Mile

A few quotes from the recent Ofsted report:

In independent schools, competitive sport isn’t an optional extra; it’s a key component in building self-esteem, confidence, school ethos and academic excellence. The drive to compete and excel in sport shapes a youngster’s character, binds the school together and reinforces the drive to compete and excel academically.

As this report makes clear, it is not resource that is the key to independent school success but attitude. Children are expected to compete, train and practise secure in the knowledge that teachers will go the extra mile to help them.

They use competitive sport to energise the entire school culture; their leaders understand its value and continually promote it. Pride in a team, the thrill of a new challenge, encouraging every pupil to have a go all pay academic dividends. As a result, attainment across these schools tends to be high

As things stand, many state schools treat competitive sport as an optional extra or fail to offer it any meaningful way. They get on the bus but fail to turn up on the pitch.

Children enjoy competition. It pushes them to do better and try harder. Of course, it also carries with it the risk of defeat, but how better to prepare pupils for the setbacks that life will inevitably throw at them? Not every child can or will go on to become a world champion, but every child will experience victories and defeats. And every student, wherever they are educated, deserves the opportunity to have their sporting passion identified and nurtured

the real value of competitive sport is the positive effect it has on education. Schools that win on the field win in the exam hall

A variety of other interlocking elements underpin sporting success in these independent schools. Investment in excellent sports facilities and effective coaching staff is a key component. However, the expectations placed on students and staff to participate in competitive sport is also crucial in delivering success.

In 15 of the maintained schools and academies we visited, competitive sport flourished largely because the headteacher and governors value it. Simply put, these schools were successful because headteachers and governors put in place the people, time and facilities to develop and maintain the school’s sporting traditions.

In the most successful maintained schools and academies, well-qualified coaches are employed, often on a permanent basis, to work alongside teachers in lessons and to coach school teams. Maintained schools and academies that employ sports coaches in this way place emphasis on both maximising participation and achieving high standards of performance.