Last week I went to watch my younger brother compete in his school’s sports day. There weren’t any winners announced or any awards given (I assumed this was because they were aged between 4 and 7), but all the kids had a go at each event and had fun.
As I watched my brother I began to think about my own sports days. I had never really considered them to be of any importance: from the age of about 12 until last year I was a dedicated couch potato and couldn’t see the point of participating in my school’s sporting events. I was awful at most (if not all) sports and wouldn’t put in the effort to better myself at them because I was lazy and also for fear of embarrassing myself in front of my classmates.
Since our PE lessons weren’t assessed and didn’t contribute to any grades, my school never pushed me to try any harder. At the time I was glad, I thought of myself as an academically geared person and believed that I should just focus on other studies.
Now when I look back I have a different opinion. Schools in the UK need to push students to be good, consistent, well rounded people. They shouldn’t say to pupils “You’re good at maths, just stick to that and physics” but encourage them to stretch themselves in all areas of school. In this terrible economic climate employers are looking for people who have a wide range of skills and who can adapt to different tasks. At University I’ve become friends with many students from the US who have told me that at their schools focused on making their students good all-rounders. I could see from them the benefits of this system – most of my American friends were healthy, intelligent and could easily talk to a wide range of people because they had good knowledge on literature, history, sciences and sport.
Another important reason why schools need to encourage sports is because as a nation we Britons are getting bigger. Obesity and obesity related health problems are on the rise and our National Health System is already struggling to cope with the rise in patients. Promoting healthy lifestyles from a young age is key to helping curb this pending epidemic.
I have a lot of respect for teachers who I believe are working hard to ensure their pupils receive the best education, especially with poor pay and the vast amount of quick changes that Education Minister Michael Gove is trying to make to the schooling system.
I hope that our education system here can become more like the American one which strives for well-rounded and successful students, not just for the sake of our NHS or economy, but also for the benefit of the younger generations themselves.