https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js By Sam Luther
During the unprecedented success of the London Olympics, a curious statistic started to make its way around different news outlets: a third of Team GB’s medallists came from private schools. When you consider that private schools educate 7% of the school population, (in the UK) it’s plain to see that they offer pupils a much better chance to participate and compete in sports. So just why do independent schools do so well at sports?
Interestingly enough, the primary reason private schools do so well when it comes to sport is because they do so well when it comes to the academic side of things as well. This all starts with the fact that private schools have smaller class sizes than their state equivalents. Smaller classroom sizes make lessons more efficient so teachers are able to cover more ground in the same amount of time.
Since more of the curriculum is covered in a shorter space of time, pupils are able to do more extra-curricular activities such as sport. Even if your child doesn’t have aspirations to become an Olympic gold medallist it’s easy to see why this has its benefits. With more children becoming overweight the government has talked about the need for schools to offer more sport, particularly now that we have an ‘Olympic legacy’ to build on. However, opponents of the idea stress that state schools must first of all ensure their pupils can simply read and write well.
Independent schools don’t just do well at sports because they have more time to dedicate to it, however. They also excel because they have better facilities. While the government is quick to sell-off school playing fields, independent schools are keeping theirs, allowing their pupils the chance to develop skills in everything from cricket and rugby to football and hockey. Private schools also allow sport to flourish off the field, often giving their pupils their first taste of a sport such as rowing.
Finally, it of course has to be pointed out that independent schools do better in sports because they can invest in the staff that makes it all possible. Dedicated sports staff that know how to motivate and get the best out of their pupils are just as important as facilities, so it’s no wonder you so often hear sporting champions thank their school teachers. Indeed, private schools can often gain recognition for being a sports school, think of institutions such as Harrow (where squash was invented), Eton (which has its own versions of both Fives and football), and, of course, Rugby with some great looking custom rugby uniforms.
However, it’s not just in areas like sports where private schools excel. Independent schools also offer their pupils a much better chance of learning to play an instrument. Again this is down to the fact that there is just more time to dedicate to music, there are better facilities and there are the staff necessary to nurture talent. While musicians at state schools may not get the respect they deserve, at independent schools there are often assemblies where pupils get the chance to perform a musical piece to the appreciation of their peers.
The final reason independent schools do so well? Their ethos: to help every child, regardless of their background or ability, to do as well as they can in all areas of school life so they can grow up to believe they are capable of achieving anything they work hard enough at.
Image credit: didbygraham
Sam Luther is a copywriter and experienced blogger working with independent schools in the UK.