A recent Cambridge University study found that students who took part in sport were more likely to achieve a first class degree than their counterparts who focussed solely on academic work. I firmly believe that the same can be true here.

It's not just about catering for the masses, we cater for the individual.

Everybody gets the opportunity to be involved in sport at Bradfield. In a school of over 800 pupils, getting everybody playing sport, competitively or not, is no mean feat.

A diverse offering is the key to it and with over twenty different sporting activities in which the College plays competitive fixtures there is a good chance for pupils to find a sport in which they enjoy competing. For me, that enjoyment is paramount because, when they leave, I want them to continue playing and develop a passion for life. At Bradfield, that process starts with our first years in Faulkner’s.

Our Major Sports provide myriad opportunities for pupils to take part in team sports. Last year every single girl either picked up a hockey stick in the Michaelmas Term or tried out for one of the netball teams in the Lent Term.

It is crucial that pupils enjoy the sports they play in order to develop key skills that will help them in all aspects of a Bradfield education. Committing to a sport and dedicating time to it are two traits that our pupils often utilise in the classroom as well.

We hope to repeat that with the boys this year as we have tweaked the football programme so that every boy is able to play either regular competitive football with other schools or recreationally but semi-competitively within the school should they want to. We recognise that not every pupil will want to play one of the Major Sports. It’s not just about catering for the masses, we cater for the individual.

This year we have introduced a sports questionnaire for new pupils which will help inform us what sports they have done in the past and what they are interested in pursuing more at Bradfield. Pupils can tell us they would like to have a go at rifle shooting or basketball or badminton as soon as they arrive and now we will try to cater for that.

It is crucial that pupils enjoy the sports they play in order to develop key skills that will help them in all aspects of a Bradfield education. Committing to a sport and dedicating time to it are two traits that our pupils often utilise in the classroom as well.

Pupils in positions of leadership within the school, and those who achieve the top grades, are invariably pupils who have played sport to a high level or have excelled in another area of co-curricular life, be it music, drama or another pursuit.

We want more pupils to take up leadership positions. That is why we have rethought the way we coach our sports.

Our coaches are now creating the structure of their session for the pupils to be involved in running it as much as possible, to become good communicators and good leaders. Coaches will communicate less so that pupils can communicate more. Coaches will organise less in order for pupils to organise more.

We will aim for every pupil in every session to have opportunities to take on leadership roles and responsibilities. That can be anything from having pupils set up a small grid to use as part of a warm-up right through to pupils leading elements of the sessions or videoing training and leading an analytics session.

More than encouraging pupils to become good leaders and good communicators, we want to provide them with new opportunities to develop into well-rounded young adults and that is why we have an extensive programme of mixed-gender sports.

When you educate in a mixed-gender setting it makes sense for as much of your sporting offering as possible also be in a mixed-gender setting.

Our pupils are flourishing across a range of sports. Our badminton team is one of the few schools that plays mixed-gender competitive fixtures. Our senior mixed doubles tennis team reached the national finals of their cup competition and in rifle shooting last year, two boys and three girls represented Great Britain on international tours following great success for the College. We hope the recent introduction of a girls’ golf team will pave the way for golf to join the list of mixed-gender team sports very soon.

It is not just in competitive sport that we are encouraging pupils to take on more responsibility; we are expanding our recreational sport opportunities in a way which will enable pupils to do this.

Sport is booming at Bradfield and our pupils are at the centre of it. By being leaders on the sports field, they can become leaders in the classroom and beyond.

While we cannot provide enough staff to ensure each individual has a one-hour coached session in a sport every day, we can give them the ability to organise recreational activities themselves. Pupils can take on the responsibility to book a court for a game of badminton with a friend, book the fitness suite to work on a personalised fitness programme or organise a game of football on the All-weather Pitches.

Sport is booming at Bradfield and our pupils are at the centre of it. By being leaders on the sports field, they can become leaders in the classroom and beyond.

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