Like many of you, I am sure, I was absolutely enthralled by this summer’s Olympic Games and the quite outstanding results from our athletes. For a country the size of Great Britain to finish second in the world in the medal table is an extraordinary achievement and one that cannot but inspire our children to go out and emulate these people in years to come.
32% of those athletes went to independent schools, meaning that our top Olympians are four times more likely than the population at large to have been privately educated. This is particularly true in certain sports. For example, more than half, 52 per cent – of the British medal-winning rowers attended fee-paying schools, as did 50 per cent of the winning women’s hockey team.
There are any number of reasons for this, including the amount of time we spend on sport, the variety of sporting opportunities that we provide for our children, the quality of the coaching and the facilities in our schools and an emphasis on the importance of healthy competition.
Interestingly exactly the same percentage of MPs were privately educated and the proportion of privately educated Bafta winners currently stands at 42 per cent. To me all of this exemplifies what we are trying to achieve. The length of our day makes it possible for us to get the children involved in archery, clay pigeon shooting, drama, music, art and more sports than you might reasonably expect to shake a stick at. The quality of the facilities is great and moves up to another level when the children transfer to Denstone or whichever other senior school they move on to.
In assembly earlier this week, we discussed the age range of our medal winners – from 16 – 58. I told them that there was no chance of me standing on a medal winners’ podium in Tokyo, but in eight or twelve years’ time there is absolutely no reason why one of our children could not be celebrating this sort of success. All it takes is a bit of talent, a bit of luck and a great deal of hard work, which sounds like the recipe for success in any walk of life!
9th September 2016