“We want our pupils to take from School the attitudes, knowledge and enthusiasms that will support a happy, productive adult life and this as true of sport as it is of other aspects of their education. For some, this will be the experience of being part of a team and representing the School in a sport that really matters to them. For others, it will be in reaching an elite level of competence and representing School, club, county, region and country before moving on to a career in sport. Supporting competitive team sport and elite individual sportsmen and women is a core responsibility of sport and requires both expert coaching and a wide range of appropriate, multi-faceted facilities.
“We also have a responsibility to ensure that all pupils leave school with a positive experience of exercise and of one or more sports or activities which they will pursue into adulthood. The link between good physical and mental health is well established yet very few health-conscious graduates play rugby, hockey or netball in their spare time. Many more play squash, badminton, tennis, row, sail, cycle, run, dance, practise yoga or go to the gym. Facilities and a sports offering that support the physical education and mental fitness of pupils beyond the narrow confines of team competitions will ensure that sport is part of an education that will enhance pupils’ lives long after they have left School.”
“Children who love games will entertain themselves for hours with a ball and a patch of ground. However, to settle for basic provision is to miss out on the opportunities for growth and inspiration that top-quality facilities make possible: a wide sports curriculum, appropriate support and high expectations.
“Thoughtful design of modern facilities supports sport at a top competitive level whilst catering also for a multitude of sports and leisure activities at all levels. Elite school sport requires strength and conditioning training, with facilities such as performance analysis suites making a significant difference to pupils. High-quality fitness suites are at the heart of any modern sports or leisure centre and support the needs of the many pupils who are not elite sportsmen and women. It is important that all facilities are genuinely multi-purpose: flexibility enables a greater number of activities catering for a greater number of pupils. Expansion across girls’ team sports, especially football, cricket and rugby, also requires facilities to be more adaptable and flexible in order to offer true co-educational sporting opportunities.
“Finally, I believe that independent schools also have a duty to the greater community of which they are part. Modern sports centres with commercial offerings enhance links with local communities and open up the opportunity of sport not just to their own pupils but to others across the community and beyond.”Oundle School Sports Centre