Logo

Headteacher of Hampstead private school says sport should engage the majority rather than burnish the few

PUBLISHED: 10:30 01 October 2016 | UPDATED: 10:55 03 October 2016

Ashley Uzochukwu playing basketball for Greig City Academy. Credit: Alen Mousley

Ashley Uzochukwu playing basketball for Greig City Academy. Credit: Alen Mousley

Alan Mousley

The headteacher of a private school believes that sport in school should be used to engage the majority rather than burnish the few amidst reports that not enough young people are doing enough exercise each week.

Despite the flurry of gold medals at this summer’s Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics which produced a packed roster of sporting role models, doubts remain over whether young children will be inspired to get active.

Results from 2014/205 show that more than a third of children aged between two and 15 were classed as either overweight and obese, with the British Heart Foundation fighting a yearly battle to encourage healthy lifestyles among the young.

But with the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation reporting that 76 per cent of teenage girls want to do more exercise, appetite does not appear to be the problem.

Jonathan Taylor, who is headteacher at North Bridge House, believes that all senior schools – be they in the state or independent sector – need to adopt a more inclusive approach with PE lessons.

“Most teenagers won’t learn to enjoy sport unless they get to play one they actually like,” he said. “Teenagers often hate sport because they have never been especially good at it.

“They never get picked for a team and they get tired of always being overlooked. They’re not engaged with sport because it doesn’t engage them.

“The problem is many teenagers hate sport. They aren’t going to skip off gladly to the gym or playing field simply because the latest research suggests it’s good for them or because their head teacher thinks it’s a brilliant idea.

“Schools and parents can proselytise endlessly about how good it is for them, but many teenagers will roll their eyes and do everything they can to avoid it.

“They turn off, zone out and find imaginative ways to skip PE.”

Mr Taylor’s senior school, which will open its doors to Year 7 pupils from September next year, makes sport compulsory but gives teenagers a variety of different activities in six-week blocks, including judo, volleyball, tennis, rock climbing, sailing and aerobics.

He says that as a result his teachers aren’t bombarded with dodgy sick notes or faced with sullen and very reluctant players.

“Everyone finds something to like in at least one of those activities – and they don’t get bored,” he said.

“Rock climbing and sailing are particularly popular.

“Students who love competitive sports have extra-curricular clubs for the usual football, basketball and athletics to choose from. Sport is good and students should play it.”

Alex Atherton, who is headteacher at Quintin Kynaston, also believes in the value of sport for everyone, with the Marlborough Hill school expanding its provision year on year.

He said: “The programme of sport at the school begins at 7.30am and many students are still engaged until hours after school, either on site or in fixtures around Westminster. We now run a series of teams on Saturdays too.

“It is so important that students enjoy their PE provision, and see the benefits that getting involved beyond their lessons has on their health, wellbeing and academic performance. Team sport teaches young people a lot about life which will only benefit them in the workplace.”

Greig City Academy is another school which believes in offering a range of activities, such as yoga, dodgeball, dance and handball, on top of their core team sports.

Daniel Bowmaker, who is head of PE at the Hornsey school, said: “Sport and physical fitness in general are essential elements of our healthy living policy and practice.

“We promote active lifestyles in and out of school and aim to make sure students’ experiences of physical activity are positive.

“We have basketball teams who regularly take gold in national championships and some of our alumni have played for England.

“However, our focus is on getting all students involved in sport – we stress the benefits to them in terms of reducing the chances of obesity and conditions such as diabetes – this through PE, science and personal development lessons.

“The aim is to develop young people’s knowledge, understanding, experience and attitudes in respect of health and participation in physical activity.

“Recognising and celebrating both achievement and participation through assemblies, ceremonies, and displays also helps improve participation.”

Latest Hampstead & Highgate education news

From maths mystery to maths mastery: Coldfall Primary School teacher on enlightening trip to Singapore

A group of teachers from a Muswell Hill school paid a visit to Singapore over the Easter break in a bid to expand their outlook on the teaching of maths.

Get inspired to put pen to paper by performance of Suddenly at Cockpit Theatre in Marylebone

A theatre company is hoping that children who come along to their latest production will be inspired to put pen to paper.

Parents missing out on National Offer Day due to high demand for ‘outstanding’ primary schools

We spoke to London Metropolitan University’s head of subject for health and childhood Kelly Cooper about her experience of National Offer Day...

Advice for Camden, Haringey, Barnet and Westminster parents on what to do if your child misses out on top primary school place

Families in Camden, Haringey, Barnet and Westminster found out yesterday whether their children had bagged their top choice of primary school.

More Barnet children set to attend primary school of their choice in September

More Barnet children will be attending the primary school of their choice in September.

Camden and Haringey 2017 primary school places allocated

Parents across Camden and Haringey have found out today which primary schools their children will be going to in September.

Campaigners call on Haringey parents to come up with summer term plan of action against funding cuts

Campaigners are calling on parents to help them come up with a plan of action in their fight against funding cuts to schools.

Controversy over private girls’ school teacher taking part in Miss Universe contest

A teacher from top private girls’ school Channing has hit tabloid headlines after announcing she is entering the Miss Universe GB competition.

North London Conservatoire expanding innovative music school for young children to include Hendon

An innovative music centre which provides young children with a wealth of musical opportunities is expanding its school to include Hendon.

Children tumble into world of Alice in Wonderland at Highgate United Reform Church

Children have been tumbling into the topsy-turvy world of Lewis Carroll as part of a action-packed project to teach youngsters how to perform.

Q and A: UCS Hampstead student, 17, creates app to help fellow pupils struggling with GCSEs revision

An app creator at the age of 17, we spoke to UCS Hampstead student Jonny Boone about why he took it upon himself to help fellow pupils with revision for their GCSE exams.

Portland Place School students walk, run and hop for charity in Regent’s Park ‘bunny run’

Students at Portland Place School walked, ran and hopped on a charity ‘bunny run’ to raise more than a thousand pounds for homeless charity Shelter.

St Anthony’s School for Girls students enjoy action-packed Easter celebrations

Students at St Anthony’s School for Girls had a cracking good time celebrating Easter at the end of the term.

Students at St Michael’s School parade Easter bonnets in Highgate

Students at St Michael’s School put their Easter bonnets on display during an annual parade in Highgate.

Highgate Primary School’s bid to build amphitheatre boosted by Bellway Homes

Highgate Primary School’s bid to raise £65,000 to build an amphitheatre in the playground has been boosted by the involvement of a housing developer.

Changes to free nursery places in Camden revealed

Changes to free nursery places in Camden have been revealed.

Whittington Trust launches competition to showcase work of budding artists in Archway hospital

An Archway hospital trust is launching an art competition designed to seek out budding artists from across north London.

Barnet parents encouraged to sign petition calling for fairer school funding

Parents across Barnet are being encouraged to sign a petition calling for fairer funding to schools across the borough.

Creativity is order of day at St Saviour’s Primary School

Creativity was the order of the day at St Saviour’s Primary School as students let their imaginations run wild.

New skipper appointed at Haverstock School ahead of headteacher’s retirement after 17 years of service

A new headteacher has been appointed at Haverstock School for the first time in 17 years.

Portland Place School deputy head gives her top 10 revision tips ahead of GSCE and A-level exams

Julia Findlater, deputy headteacher at Portland Place School, gives her top 10 tips for revision success.

Mother’s Day breakfast to raise money for chosen charities at St Anthony’s School for Girls

St Anthony’s School for Girls held a special Mother’s Day breakfast to celebrate their loved ones and to raise money for their two chosen charities.

Camden Council pledges to put mental health at forefront of agenda for young people living in borough

Camden Council has pledged to keep the subject of mental health at the forefront of the agenda in its bid to improve the wellbeing of young people living in the borough.

Army of kids take part in fun run to help secure future of Highgate Primary School family centre

The future of a family centre which is battling a lack of funding is closer to being secured after 127 children took part in a fun run.

Former MOBO award winner takes part in five-hour drumming marathon at King Alfred School

A former MOBO award winner took part in a five-hour drumming marathon at King Alfred School to raise money for Comic Relief on Red Nose Day.

Column: Hampstead couple talk through their experience of home schooling

Hampstead couple Haleh Babavand and her husband Ash Parsa spoke to the Ham and High about their experience of home schooling.

Henrietta Barnett School students reach final of competition to find codebreakers of future

A team of Hampstead schoolgirls have beaten 8,000 rivals to reach the final of a competition to find the best code breakers of the future.

St Anthony’s School for Girls students build robots and rockets as part of STEM week

Students at St Anthony’s School for Girls embraced new technology by building robots and rockets as part of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) week.

Fearless Coleridge Primary School students crowned public speaking champions

A group of fearless Coleridge Primary School students have taken a public speaking competition by storm.

Channing School gets dads on board as part of campaign to eradicate gender inequality in workplace

Channing School has been getting the dads on board as part of an awareness campaign to eradicate gender inequality in the workplace.

Campaign to address gender gap in apprenticeship schemes

A trust which supports young woman who are struggling to make ends meet is campaigning to address the gender gap in apprenticeship schemes.

Q and A: St Anthony’s School for Girls headteacher on her first year at helm

We spoke to St Anthony’s School for Girls headteacher Laura Martin about her first year at the helm.

Portland Place School students pay tribute to Jane Austen in year which marks 200th anniversary of her death

Students have paid tribute to pioneering author Jane Austen in the year which marks the 200th anniversary of her death.

Study: The rise of home schooling in Camden

A study looking into the growth of home education in London has revealed a 582 per cent increase in the number of children being taught at home over the last 10 years.

St Anthony’s School for Girls launches mindfulness initiative as part of focus on mental health

St Anthony’s School for Girls has launched a new mindfulness initiative to teach the pupils the importance of looking after their mental health and wellbeing.

Union calls on Theresa May to back up pledge to transform mental health support on offer in schools

A union has called on the government to back up its mission to change attitudes towards mental health issues suffered by young people.

Freedom Charity founder speaks to Haverstock School about fight to end practice of FGM

Education is the key to ending the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), according to the founder of an awareness charity.

South Hampstead High School teacher’s legacy celebrated by ex-students and colleagues

A South Hampstead High School stalwart has been celebrated more than 40 years after she retired.

Camden School for Girls student running debating programme to ensure state school kids get voices heard

A 15-year-old girl is running a debating programme to ensure that state school kids get their voices heard.

Animation encouraging children to talk about mental health launches in Primrose Hill

A short film to encourage children to talk about their feelings in the classroom was shown today at Primrose Hill Primary School.

Hampstead and Highgate duo on mission to talk to teens in schools about sex, likes and social media

A determined duo from across the pond who brought up their children in north west London are on a mission to encourage healthy relationships among young people and teach them about the many pitfalls surrounding social media.

Interview: Fiona Millar delves into her time at Camden School for Girls

We spoke to writer and education journalist Fiona Millar about her time at Camden School for Girls (1968-1975).

St Michael’s Primary School finds creative way to protest against Haringey funding cuts

Parents, students and staff at a Highgate school have found a creative way to protest against funding cuts across Haringey.

Crouch End families come together to spruce up area as part of Great British Spring Clean

The ‘Crouch End tidy up’ was in full swing on Saturday as families came together to spruce up the area.

PICTURE SPECIAL: Camden and Haringey schools celebrate World Book Day

Schoolchildren across Camden and Haringey have been sharing their love of fiction on World Book Day.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

2017 © Archant Community Media Ltd

Terms and conditions | Cookie policy | Jobs at Archant