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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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illiterato · 06/09/2022 21:08

I think this is an area where "sludge and nudge" theory are really relevant. Private schools remove barriers to participation (nudge) because the sports tend to be free and included within a long day that works for working parents. Therefore even if your kids aren't hugely keen, they just have to do it because it's not a club- it's part of the school day. My DC get on the school bus at 7.30 and come back 6:30 having done at least 1 hour of sport (rugby/hockey/cricket for boys and hockey/netball/ cricket for girls) and their homework. It would be hard to facilitate that sport outside school at young primary age as it tends to start really early the parents are at work (sludge). We used to live overseas where sport is basically all outside school and it was a massive ballache getting them around and ended up taking up the entire weekend. Mine do still do club sport but now at an age where it tends to start later so I can manage it. Also, DS's club's winter cricket training happens at school as his club use the school's indoor nets so massive win there.

Basically, I don't think state school parents are less keen. Its just a massive amount of extra effort vs private school parents, and your kids need to be keener to get involved. DD is "it's ok" about hockey, so she probably wouldn't proactively join a club but she plays at school without complaining.

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PopPopPopP · 06/09/2022 21:11

So my son loves sport. The provision in states schools is (on the whole, but appreciate this is a generalisation) crap.

My son adores swimming. At his state primary they offer 4 or 5 swim lessons a year (all in the summer term) in an outdoor 15m pool that is shallow enough that it comes just above his knees. There is no rugby. There is no cycling, cross country, athletics (ie. Javelin etc..)

If I could afford private I'd send him simply because of the sports opportunities on offer

(Son is in a local swim club. He is massively disadvantaged compared to his privately educated peers who practice three or four times a week in 50m pools at their school, in addition to the club sessions he attends).

The only reason I'd send a child to private school is for the extra curricular opportunities such schools offer. I cannot fathom why state schools don't bother with sport. Drives me crazy.

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Forestgate · 06/09/2022 21:12

sports are life mind and body enhancing. The only people who don't see that are the ones never given a chance to participate in a well run sports programme

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TurquoiseDress · 06/09/2022 21:46

I went to the local state secondary school and played lots of sports, many of them in teams and even went to national finals in one of them

I loved sports at secondary school, still have memories of matches, great friendships & team bonding

Also I played sports outside of school

It was a huge part of my life and still is, even on the other side of 40

My DC are at state primary & will continue to state secondary/selective schools

Sports on offer & the facilities will definitely be high on the list, as well as academics & pastoral care, of course

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GreenGreenGrassBlue · 06/09/2022 21:51

TurquoiseDress · 06/09/2022 21:46

I went to the local state secondary school and played lots of sports, many of them in teams and even went to national finals in one of them

I loved sports at secondary school, still have memories of matches, great friendships & team bonding

Also I played sports outside of school

It was a huge part of my life and still is, even on the other side of 40

My DC are at state primary & will continue to state secondary/selective schools

Sports on offer & the facilities will definitely be high on the list, as well as academics & pastoral care, of course

Priorities were different then for schools, more funding. It’s not like that anymore even in the most selective schools.

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Ewetoo · 06/09/2022 23:00

I didn't realise just how much was on offer until last Saturday. Obviously I knew private schools offer a variety & have much better facilities however I didn't realise how invested the parents would become in the activities!
I feel guilty with my kids missing out, I would love for them to be able to do such variety (the yoga sounded great)We just can't afford it. I'd send them in a heartbeat if I could & yes I'm a tad jealous but the families are all good folk who work hard to provide it.

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Ewetoo · 07/09/2022 06:53

@PopPopPopP that's true about the swimming & it makes me sad I can't offer my kids more. They do 30 mins once a week in a local leisure centre in groups of 7, its expensive & they're progressing slowly even though they love it. Pool is full to capacity for lessons so I know we're lucky they have a slot. We have no local pools to bring them for a fun swim as all the time slots have gone to swim schools to deal with the backlog post covid..

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hendown · 07/09/2022 07:22

justaladyLOL · 06/09/2022 13:43

Sport also teaches kids that life is hideously competitive which is a good lesson to go into the workplace with

What part of life is 'hideously competitive' for the average person?

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CruCru · 07/09/2022 07:50

I think many people assume that people choose private schools solely for the academics, which is not necessarily the case. If a school has a fantastic playing field (or several) then sport will be a big feature.

Someone upthread said that it seemed as though their children spent longer in the school day on academic work than those in the private school. This may well be the case.

A private school that prides itself on its breath of offering will have lots of sport, music, drama and dance (with specialist teachers).

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adamanti · 07/09/2022 08:04

Because it makes you well rounded. Surely you can see that? Team work, commitment health and fitness and mental wellbeing. Opprtuniti3s to meet people and make new friends, opportunity for scholarships later on. Presumably parents care more.because they have taken the rouble to remove their children from a crappy state system where its all about assessment grades and enjoy their child geelong nurtured and calm whilst being allowed.to experience as much as possible. So many parents in low grade private schools are champagne socialists. In my experience, you only aren't bothered until.someone offers your own kid this opportunity and rhen you swallow the bitter pill and.pop the Cork 😀

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Imissmoominmama · 07/09/2022 08:06

We chose a private prep school with excellent sports facilities because our son has adhd. He then went to a state high school with just as good facilities.

Primaries in the area didn’t have what he needed at the time. The rules in team sport helped him with impulsivity and made him feel safe. He’s also a natural athlete and sportsman.

I feel that a state school would’ve offered a good academic education, but because of his need to move he may not have accessed it fully. Perhaps the private schools which excel at sport have cottoned onto this.

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Newgirls · 07/09/2022 08:17

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.

Yes it does sound like Herts is doing well for sports! Surely other areas are too. I know Berks is good for sports in state. The state boys school in Windsor has good sports facilities as you can see them during past. Apparently they also used to beat Eton at rugby until that was stopped 😂 parents prob didn’t like that

Dont forget the top private schools in London don’t have sports facilities - no outdoor space.

it seems like geography has as much impact as other factors

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Newgirls · 07/09/2022 08:23

Another Herts thing!

the two local private schools have amazing swimming pools. The various state secondaries also have pools though they are no where near as smart.

but you know what? The private school kids still have a rota so swim once a week for a term each year.

by y6 kids are going to local swimming clubs in the sports centre and uni pool and do regular training there. So the most able kids swim together whatever school they are from. There is no advantage 🤷‍♀️

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365sleepstogo · 07/09/2022 09:29

Newgirls · 07/09/2022 08:17

Yes it does sound like Herts is doing well for sports! Surely other areas are too. I know Berks is good for sports in state. The state boys school in Windsor has good sports facilities as you can see them during past. Apparently they also used to beat Eton at rugby until that was stopped 😂 parents prob didn’t like that

Dont forget the top private schools in London don’t have sports facilities - no outdoor space.

it seems like geography has as much impact as other factors

i am pretty sure many of the top private schools in central London will use the London parks and have excellent facilities. I can’t imagine those parents paying huge amounts will accept anything less.
This of course should be the same in the state sector but what powers do parents have when funds are so limited?

The schools in zone 2 and beyond will have acres of land, their own pool, sports courts (indoor, outdoor) etc

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Ewetoo · 07/09/2022 09:42

CruCru · 07/09/2022 07:50

I think many people assume that people choose private schools solely for the academics, which is not necessarily the case. If a school has a fantastic playing field (or several) then sport will be a big feature.

Someone upthread said that it seemed as though their children spent longer in the school day on academic work than those in the private school. This may well be the case.

A private school that prides itself on its breath of offering will have lots of sport, music, drama and dance (with specialist teachers).

But then it seems private school children have much more homework... Is this due to actual teaching time in the school day being given to sports?

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CruCru · 07/09/2022 10:17

I think a lot of the time homework is given because parents expect it (at least in prep school). Some independent schools have relatively long days - my son often does his prep during a daytime “prep session”.

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Ewetoo · 07/09/2022 10:24

The families at the weekend were also saying the school gave work & projects over the holidays also..

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sunflowerdaisyrose · 07/09/2022 10:31

I'd love my children to have better facilities!

What I wouldn't like is a lot of the private schools around here have compulsory matches for all on Saturdays, even if the children are no good. One friend's child has left her Saturday theatre group now she's in year 5 and school sport is compulsory. She's pretty good at sport but (in my opinion) she'd be much better off staying at the activity she loves (and is also good at) and mixing with different children.

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MsTSwift · 07/09/2022 11:13

You can try to replicate it as a state school parent but it’s a real effort! One Dd is in a very well organised team sports club with training once a week and Saturday matches which is great but lots of driving for parents who also need to know the club exists and ensure their child is good enough to get in their trials etc. Funnily enough the club is full of private school children! Still worth saving thousands on private school fees I guess!

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Blueeyedgirl21 · 07/09/2022 11:21

So annoying because the private school kids get the chance to get better coaching facilities etc end succeed at say, cricket, when they’re absolutely in no way more naturally talented or hard working than a kid off an estate who wants to play but can’t afford club fees or a pair of cricket shoes. Despite what mummy and daddy think their kid isn’t actually special they’re just privileged!

IMO this is why mostly working class boys succeed in football - and therefore middle classes see it as ‘common’. If you’re talented you will be picked up even playing under 8s for a local team where it costs £2 a session and the coaches let the fees slide sometimes when mum can’t afford it (happens in poor areas all the time). Get under a big club’s academy and kit etc is provided, they sometimes even feed the kids and you even get your backpack and drinks bottle provided. People see football as full of hooligans and not rights but it can give boys from single income and disadvantaged families a real chance if they are naturally talented and hard working, which is refreshing seeing as mostly it’s how rich your parents are in this country that equals how well you do.

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SparklyLeprechaun · 07/09/2022 11:34

Most private schools we looked at for the kids were similar in terms of academic achievements and pastoral care, so it made sense to choose one that on top of that also had excellent sports facilities (and a swimming pool on site). My kids are active, but they are never going to be competitive in any sport, I simply liked the idea of them being able to try lots of different things and maybe find something they liked.

Also, teaching time is not impacted by sports. They have 2 PE classes a week, like everywhere, the sports are played after school and on Saturdays.

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Ewetoo · 07/09/2022 11:47

Would love to provide the same for my children, I guess as my friend said it helps them become more rounded & accomplished I guess.. A swimming pool must be a huge draw for parents.

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XelaM · 07/09/2022 12:09

Kids who do a whole lot of sport are often just too busy to get up to much mischief tbh.

This. My daughter spends all her free time on the livery yard 😃rather that than anything untoward

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CruCru · 07/09/2022 13:01

Ewetoo · 07/09/2022 10:24

The families at the weekend were also saying the school gave work & projects over the holidays also..

Yeah, I wouldn't like that much (unless it was optional). What if they've gone abroad? Lots of children go to visit grandparents in the summer.

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Ewetoo · 07/09/2022 13:09

I've no ide.. the only mention of abroad in relation to the schools was the midterm ski trip & which schools were going to France or Italy, one school hasn't announced the fine details yet... Obviously we couldn't join in!

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