Friday, June 20, 2014

All must have prizes

For a long time now the policy in state schools by those whose allegiance to the left both in government and in teaching has been to downgrade sport. They followed a policy (however idiotic) that competition was somehow denigrating to those who did not win and this somehow damaged them.. Rather than assisting them to understand how the real world worked with winners and losers, they went for an all must have prizes groupthink which as kids are not stupid simply meant that the brighter and better ones simply didn't bother to apply discipline in sport to themselves and those who couldn't thought they were better somehow than they were.
Too many state-school pupils are denied the chance to take part in competitive sport by head teachers who treat it as an "optional extra", says Ofsted.
Schools where pupils lack opportunities to excel in sport tend to have worse academic results, says a report from the watchdog.
It explores why so many top athletes are from private schools.
The National Union of Teachers said Ofsted's comparison between state and private school sport was "ridiculous".
The report, Going the extra mile: Excellence in competitive school sport, was commissioned after the 2012 Olympics to explore why so many Team GB athletes had been educated in private rather than state schools.
The report finds that in the most successful schools, both state and private, heads recognise that competitive sport can help build an ethos and boost grades.
Strong teams rely on teachers prepared to dedicate time and energy before, during and after school, as well as at weekends, say the authors.
Staff need to be able to identify talented pupils for extra coaching and ensure matches are accessible to everyone else, they add.
Not every state school of course, but the majority simply fail to see sport as a necessity in developing the children in a positive way. Nor does the NUT's bleat about  State schools having neither the same facilities nor time and space in the curriculum for sport as independent schools hold much water either, facilities possibly, but time? I'm pretty sure that independent schools teach the same curriculum generally as the state ones, though perhaps without the namby pamby leftard nonsense like climate change and multicultural bullshit.
A lot of this is down to political meddling with the curriculum in the past and no doubt future politicians will try to get into the act as well. Yet education is far too important to leave in the hands of anyone who has an agenda other than producing a bright and well educated next generation. Playing political skittles with kids brains to try to be fair to those who don't do so well has been a disaster, kids generally don't think like that anyway and so switch off from the process.
The ethos of all must have prizes needs to go and be replaced with a competitive edge. Sure there will be some who fail, but the winners will gain self confidence and the losers will develop mechanisms to cope and succeed in other ways.
Don't hold your breath on things changing soon though, those who believe that all must have prizes are too well entrenched in education to let go easily.

5 annotations:

Longrider said...

I was forced onto the playing fields as a child. It ingrained into me a lifelong loathing of football, rugby, cricket, athletics and, frankly, sport in general.

So that worked out okay, then...

Quiet_Man said...

At least you had the chance to find out.

Longrider said...

Forcing children into sport is just as bad as never giving them the opportunity. It should be entirely voluntary. Literacy and numeracy are essential life skills. Sport is not.

Quiet_Man said...

Sport teaches teamwork, application and dedication, owing to the problematic situation we have with a lot more fat kids around due to a more sedentary lifestyle, then a little exercise might not be a bad thing.
Granted some will hate it, but it's not going to do them any real harm either.

Longrider said...

Sport teaches you nothing if you detest it. That's the problem. It is not an essential life skill. I'm sorry, but kicking a ball around a muddy field teaches nothing of any value - it simply doesn't. I've managed perfectly well without it and have learned all that teamwork stuff without going near a ball. When forced onto the football pitch, I was disruptive and walked away from the ball when it came towards me. To say that I despise ball games forty years later would be an understatement. At the time, I spent the school week dreading the two sessions of double games. So what good did it do? Nothing. Absolute nothing. What harm did it do? It made my school life a bloody misery.

I learned the other stuff, such as problem solving and application through academic studies. No, do away with PE lessons entirely and allow children the option to take part in extra-curricular activities. Exercise is not a role for the state or the school to become involved in.

Those who think that sport is anything other than a leisure activity are fooling themselves with excuses. We don't need it and it should not be compulsory in school.