Competitive Sport - Head's Blog

Posted on: 23/06/2017

I am still buzzing after the excitement of all our Sports Days. Following the Foundation and Pre-Prep Sports Day last week, on Thursday we had the most incredible event at Hillingdon Athletics track where pupils from Year 3 to Year 6 had us all on our feet cheering for them, congratulating them and in awe of the incredible skills (not only of the sporting sort)  that were demonstrated. 

Over the years there has been so much written about the place of competitive sport in schools and the debate will surely continue, but I for one certainly am an advocate of competition from a very young age. It nurtures the growth mindset that underpins how we teach the children and supports our pupils to deal with failure (FAIL; First Attempt in Learning). It further encourages the children to strive even harder to continue to practise and understand the concept of ‘mastery’ in their learning. 

In the lead up to Sports Day  the children were keeping an eye on the sports boards, looking at the previous records which had been set by ex-pupils and setting themselves goals to try to break those records. And boy, didn’t they smash some of those long standing records! Zoe even beating one record set by her sister, who was in attendance as a Sports Leader! Good, positive sibling rivalry!

Many of the pupils spoke to me directly about how they were intending to use their mindfulness practices before their events to overcome their wobbles, worries and nerves. It is so wonderful to hear from the pupils in Year 4 and 6 how they are engaging with using some of the tools they have been equipped with in their .b and paws b mindfulness learning.

The Year 6 Sports Captains and House Captains spoke so eloquently and with confidence. The pupils really did sum up why we feel so proud of your children for the values and character traits that they demonstrated not only on the day but in the preparation for the event. They were living embodiments of the Olympic and Paralympic values:

·  Respect – fair play; knowing one’s own limits; and taking care of one’s health and the environment
·  Excellence – how to give the best of oneself, on the field of play or in life; taking part; and progressing according to one’s own objectives
·  Friendship – how, through sport, to understand each other despite any differences
·  Determination – the drive and motivation to overcome both physical and mental barriers in order to achieve your goals.
·  Courage – having the self-belief and confidence to overcome adversity and face difficulty.
·  Equality – showing respect and humility towards all those around you in the spirit of fair play.
·  Inspiration – being motivated by the achievements and actions of others and being a positive example to others.

It is no wonder that we have so many former students returning to us year after year to be part of our annual Sports Days as Sports Leaders. These Old Helenians hold onto the values which were so much part and parcel of their life when they were pupils themselves at St. Helen’s College. Their contributions on Sports Day are a testament to the school; they have grown into responsible, independent young men and women and are now actively giving back to their community, as well as consolidating and developing further skills and attributes in preparation for what lies ahead for them as members of our workforce in the near future.

I feel truly honoured to have experienced another of my firsts this year – one of the best Prep School Sports Days that I have ever witnessed!  Congratulations TEAM St. Helen’s College!

Mrs. Drummond