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AIBU?

What's the obsession with private school parents & sports? Seems to be a deal breaker in choosing a school..

134 replies

Ewetoo · 06/09/2022 12:40

We know many parents with girls & boys ar private schools. They are all obsessed with their kids sport & the school sports facilities, teams etc.. Cross Country, athletics, rugby, football, netball, hockey even yoga gets touted... These schools also provide lots of homework... State school parents aren't nearly as bothered by school sport or aibu..

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Ewetoo · 06/09/2022 17:09

@Newgirls where are you based? Your dc's school sounds fantastic. My dc's school (outside Newcastle) have nothing similar, parents even have to arrange lifts to the local AstroTurf for the afterschool soccer...

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gogohmm · 06/09/2022 17:17

If I was able to afford to pay for school I would be a lot fussier about the facilities! As it was I took the least worst comp in the area

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Newgirls · 06/09/2022 17:21

Ewetoo · 06/09/2022 17:09

@Newgirls where are you based? Your dc's school sounds fantastic. My dc's school (outside Newcastle) have nothing similar, parents even have to arrange lifts to the local AstroTurf for the afterschool soccer...

Hertfordshire

most of the state secondary schools near here have large grounds for sports. One in St Albans town centre doesn’t but they all walk to the grounds. It’s a boys school and they are amazing at sports so they seem to manage.

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Newgirls · 06/09/2022 17:27

I know kids in state and private in Herts and I know it’s anecdotal but the ones who are in county teams and national teams seem to be in the state schools. I can think of tennis, skiing, swimming, triathlon and cycling off the top of my head. Surely if a school doesn’t offer this they are at clubs anyway?

Most school pools won’t be offering daily swim sessions for a committed swimmer? Dancers surely go to dance schools? Any school will only get you to a certain level and then it’s clubs anyway?

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Testina · 06/09/2022 17:30

I’m a state school parent and I am just as bothered about sport.
But I can’t afford private.

In Y6, my daughter’s friend moved private.
She had a fancy netball dress, played every week in Games and after school club. Had multiple friendlies against other schools, and a tournament. The school had amazing dedicated courts.

Back in my daughter’s state school, the playground had the court painted on. It was worn off in places, and about 10sqm of the court was missing where a building had been put on top. They owned one broken net. No bibs. They went to one council organised tournament (and great they had that!). They did bench ball instead, only for 6 weeks.

So you’d see me as a state school parent not bothered about sport… but it’s just there’s nothing (via school) for me to go on about!

Sport faculties, time, focus and attitude is absolutely once of the reasons I’d pay if only I could.

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Newgirls · 06/09/2022 17:36

Testina · 06/09/2022 17:30

I’m a state school parent and I am just as bothered about sport.
But I can’t afford private.

In Y6, my daughter’s friend moved private.
She had a fancy netball dress, played every week in Games and after school club. Had multiple friendlies against other schools, and a tournament. The school had amazing dedicated courts.

Back in my daughter’s state school, the playground had the court painted on. It was worn off in places, and about 10sqm of the court was missing where a building had been put on top. They owned one broken net. No bibs. They went to one council organised tournament (and great they had that!). They did bench ball instead, only for 6 weeks.

So you’d see me as a state school parent not bothered about sport… but it’s just there’s nothing (via school) for me to go on about!

Sport faculties, time, focus and attitude is absolutely once of the reasons I’d pay if only I could.

That’s sad to hear. It as years ago but when mine were in primary they played netball against other schools most weeks. It was quite a commitment. They all had nice kit and perfectly nice netball posts etc

i was relieved every school was no more than 20 min away. My friend had a dd in private primary and they used to drive miles at the weekends to fit in matches as the private schools were further away.

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NeverDropYourMooncup · 06/09/2022 17:48

State schools very often have almost non existent sports facilities. The roof leaks, the equipment is from somewhere around 1987 and therefore likely to be off limits as it's unsafe, there's no money for the minibus to take kids to fixtures and, worst of all, PE is frequently treated by SLT as the place to push all the kids of lower academic ability for GCSE - sometimes with a hint of stereotyping in the process. And because most of the kids haven't really got that much of a choice whether they go there or not, as it's a matter of being the closest, there's not much need to put anything into it beyond the bare minimum budget.


But a well funded private school needs to attract the new customers - a gleaming sports facility, great pool, professional coaches, wide variety of opportunities, fleet of minibuses, ten foot long trophy cabinet - gives the impression that 'Your child can be a winner with us' in a way that 'Best results again' doesn't. They could go anywhere and get great exam results because there's no mercy for crap teachers or disaffected kids - but does everywhere else have the fully equipped gym with comprehensive fitness analysis, somebody who may have good contacts at a particular sport's top teams and will be able to ignore attendance figures in a way a state school just can't get away with.



There are obviously exceptions to that - and those state schools/Academies that specialise in sports to a high level are also very popular - but the rest of them are making do with a bunch of underinflated footballs and making kids run around rather than learning to ski, dive or take part in trials for county sports.

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Stationsofthecross · 06/09/2022 18:17

Ours do alot of sport - rugby, running, archery football, swimming and soon gym - we didn’t ask them to do it - they naturally picked it up from school/friends. As lessons, they do baking, home economic, language classes etc. When they move to secondary school - the schools we will look at will defo be schools that have sports that they play, as they like it. One school we are looking at has multiple football pitches. It’s what the children like (for us)

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Emanresu9 · 06/09/2022 18:19

Yes I agree and think it’s a real shame that state school parents don’t become more bothered by it.

it’s so, so important for life skills, discipline, fitness, mental health, camaraderie, friendships, challenges, coordination and learning about rising from defeat.

bravo private school parents.

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blameitonthecaffeine · 06/09/2022 18:55

I'm a dance teacher in a private school. I'd say parents value sport and the arts equally but yes, both are highly scrutinised by parents and they are extremely involved. I think it's natural, tbh. We have amazing facilities and do a huge amount of high quality stuff. It's a key reason why parents choose independent. You can get a good education in most schools. It's the extra curricular you can't get in a lot of state schools.

NewGirl Your state schools sound fab but most of Hertfordshire is far above the average area, esp if you're around St Albans.

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365sleepstogo · 06/09/2022 19:01

Snipdog · 06/09/2022 14:32

And regarding my post I am based in London.

Wales - thank god - actually are more inclusive with rugby. It gives me hope.

But for state schools it is unfair. That is the issue with private schools. I get you can pay for what you want. You can pay for the entrenched privilege while others don't get the opportunity.

But we are talking children here. Why should not sports and arts provision be something that is core to the lives of children whatever their parents background?

It is deeply unfair.

Yes, it’s deeply unfair

  • there is no equality in education: you need money to either pay for education or buy in catchment area.

    State schools (and smaller privates) will struggle even more than ever with fuel bills, cost of equipment, catering, paying for maintenance and repairs etc.
    I can only see the gap widening.
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Ragwort · 06/09/2022 19:03

Private schools just do 'do' sports so much better ... my DS went to the local comp .. he loves cricket and <sorry for the boast> was/is good at it. He got to county level and was the only one who wasn't at private school Sad ... many of his school friends dropped out of cricket along the way ... he has kept it up and now playing for his Uni team ... mostly ex private school students.

Did anyone watch Freddie Flintoff's programme about cricket and getting under privileged kids involved?

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Ewetoo · 06/09/2022 19:08

Even though DH & I were effectively excluded from the conversation I found it fascinating.. To have so much choice, we pay alot for our dc to do lessons at a local leisure centre (7 in a group), the private schools have pools. The ski trip talk was another eye opener, our school even haven't done local field trips in a long time...

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kimchifox · 06/09/2022 19:21

Well, it's a bit rude to exclude you from the conversation for a significant period.

There are plenty of community sports clubs that coach to a good level - if your DC were interested and you had the resources. Mine have done cricket / football / rugby / swimming / tennis / netball for little cost at weekends and holidays as well as school.

My Comp offered a ski trip in the 80s until the year above ruined it by getting so pissed and out of control that the teachers refused to run it ever again - learnt to ski at 30.

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mathanxiety · 06/09/2022 19:42

The problem isn't that private school parents are so enthusiastic about sport. The problem is that the same opportunities are not available in all schools.

My kids went to a public (i.e. state) high school in the US where a vast range of extra curriculars are available. Far fewer options and far more shabby facilities were available in the local private schools.

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Londoncatshed · 06/09/2022 19:52

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Snipdog · 06/09/2022 19:57

Newgirls yes a wide range of people get into football but there are academies for young people and this starts at a young age whether private or state.

The reality is if you don't pick up a sport like cricket and rugby at school and don't have parents who can pay for the extra gear and courses abs ferry you around then you can be very limited. I know kids are primary school who have just a small concrete outdoor area and they do not get sports days persee.

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365sleepstogo · 06/09/2022 20:06

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Based on my limited experience, I think this is probably more the case in all boys independents and less so in girls and mixed schools where music and drama seem to be equally valued.

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Ewetoo · 06/09/2022 20:39

kimchifox · 06/09/2022 19:21

Well, it's a bit rude to exclude you from the conversation for a significant period.

There are plenty of community sports clubs that coach to a good level - if your DC were interested and you had the resources. Mine have done cricket / football / rugby / swimming / tennis / netball for little cost at weekends and holidays as well as school.

My Comp offered a ski trip in the 80s until the year above ruined it by getting so pissed and out of control that the teachers refused to run it ever again - learnt to ski at 30.

I think that's why I'm pissed off too, we're uni friends & hadn't met up properly in 18 months... The whole afternoon was spent chatting about sports & comparing notes on each others private schools. There was no snide comments made about state school however no attempt was made to include us in the chat.
The kids all played away together oblivious 🤣

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GarlandsinGreece · 06/09/2022 20:44

I’m a Brit in the US, and the obsession with youth sports is next level, in large part because it’s a good way—sometimes the only way—to get into a competitive college. I live in a town where kids are playing multiple sports from a very early age, and where—I kid you not—it costs thousands to secure a spot on a roster. Rowing, lacrosse, football and baseball are all huge in my town.

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GarlandsinGreece · 06/09/2022 20:45

^^These are public school (state school) kids.

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ballroompink · 06/09/2022 20:49

Not obsessed but at my DC's state school there were zero opportunities for sport outside the weekly PE lessons. When I was at primary school (early 90s) my school had a football team, netball team etc. and inter-school matches were often talked about. Inter-school athletics too. I wasn't sporty so was never involved but it just struck me how there has never been any of that for my DC who has just switched from state to private for Y6. There were a handful of after school clubs pre-Covid but like others have said, they finished at 4pm and as we work full time we couldn't do pick ups. DC's new school offers a range of sports in three PE lessons a week plus after school clubs that don't cost extra and finish at 5pm. We won't push our DC into sports for the sake of it (he already swims for our local club) but they do help with many different skills.

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Ewetoo · 06/09/2022 20:51

@GarlandsinGreece interesting, I have cousins on the East Coast (New York, New Jersey & Conneticut), they do all the sports mentioned above, obsessed with academics on top of the sports & are quite snobbish about people & things they perceive as "white trash" 🙄 My female cousins & their husbands are very preppy in their appearance & look like they're straight out of a Ralph Lauren advert...

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illiterato · 06/09/2022 20:52

Most school pools won’t be offering daily swim sessions for a committed swimmer?

I'm in Dorset and there are a couple of private schools which are tied in with the regional/ national swim programmes (one also with the national tennis programme) so some kids go there at least in part due to the swim/ tennis programmes. They are allowed to miss some non core lessons to train.

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GarlandsinGreece · 06/09/2022 21:02

@Ewetoo, I try and actively avoid those types of people, but it’s not easy.

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