This last week sport has very much being on my agenda. One of my roles as a Head is to represent the Eastern region on the GSA Sports Committee. The Committee meets termly and discusses a variety of sporting issues, but it is primarily focussed on raising awareness of women’s sport and encouraging girls to continue with sport once they reach their teenage years.
The meeting last week was no exception. We are working closely with UKActive who are trying to get more people, more active, more often. Physical inactivity associated with a sedentary lifestyle has been described as the ‘biggest public health problem of the 21st century’. The Lancet recently described it as a public health pandemic and is now the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality. UKActive are linking with major sporting organisations, health centres and schools to ensure that every child leaves school physically literate. At BGS we are ahead of most schools; all our girls continue with physical education lessons till they leave school at 18 and the majority of our girls take part in competitive sport but there is always more we can do. UKActive are working closely with local health centres to link them with schools encouraging girls to use their local gym, take part in fitness classes and form a union that continues long after they have left school. At BGS we are looking at how we can form this link.
The following day I attended the annual Head’s conference at Brighton College. In the afternoon Sport was again the theme. Ben Cohen, former England rugby union international player, spoke about his charity, the StandUp Foundation which raises awareness of the long term damaging effect of bullying and raises funds to help do something about it. His message was clear, a school needs to cultivate a culture of kindness and understanding, and individuals need to be upstanding by standing up for those who cannot stand up by themselves. To do this requires courage, boldness and integrity. Our GLG are leading the way in this with their campaign of a culture of kindness. He also felt that elite athletes in whatever sport needed to be exceptional role models, it was their duty to promote fair play as their behaviour was modelled every day in the playground. I could not agree more.
My sporting week ended at the 149th Bedford Rowing Regatta where I proudly watched our rowers, rowing successfully in difficult conditions and challenging circumstances. When they won, they won gracefully and when they didn’t they supported one another and looked at how they could do better next time. Sport plays a vital role in schools and I am glad that at BGS we do all we can to promote it.