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Sunshine, Sports Day and Competition

Last week the sun shone (almost too brightly!) and the school was bathed in warmth and the feel-good factor which having a whole school event always brings.  It was Sports’ Day, and children from Pre-Reception through to Year 6 were taking part in all manner of running, jumping and throwing activities, equipment ranging from sponge javelins and dressing-up hats, to eggs and spoons and relay batons!  In the upper part of the school, the children were arranged in their three Houses, named after the many trees which form the boundary of the site, and which gave welcome shade and cool air in the heat of the afternoon sun.  House Captains stood ready to cheer and encourage on their respective teams, and parents lined the track; excitement and anticipation filled the air!  Race after race rushed by in a whirl as House Totals grew, until finally, a winner was declared!  A table, laden with trophies and medals, was brought forward, and awards were given amid cheers and the clicking of many phones and cameras!  It was a wonderful day, enjoyed by all, participated in by all although, of course, not won by all.  Should this be the case?  Should Sports’ Day perhaps be a non-competitive event? 

At Sherborne House, our over-arching aim is for each child to feel included and successful, which some would say could not possibly fit with our highly-competitive sporting programme, exemplified by Sports Day.  However, what was clear was that the children who took part had a wonderful afternoon, and were hugely proud of their achievements, whatever their final finishing place.  Competition is a fact of life, and in shielding our children from it, we set them up only to find life a great deal more difficult in the future.  Competition is not the issue in itself - it is about how it is managed which is so important. Having a mixed programme of individual and team events, so that the focus is on everyone having a part to play for the whole team, is one very successful way we have found of doing so, and watching the House Captains running alongside the track and congratulating their teammates on their performance, whatever the result, was proof of the success of this approach.  During PCHE lessons and assemblies, we also discuss how to win respectively and fairly in all aspects of school life, without making others feel second-best.  We also talk about the need to view either winning or losing as a learning experience, a means to gauge how one can improve next time and move forwards.  In short, we want to encourage a ‘have-a-go’ attitude, the confidence to take risks and the resilience to be able to deal with disappointment and turn it into a positive.   As in all things in life, a balanced approach is the key to success, and on Sports’ Day at Sherborne House, the children exemplified it brilliantly!

Heather Hopson-Hill, Head Teac​her



Published on 30/06/2017