THE BLOG
06/09/2012 10:44 BST | Updated 05/11/2012 05:12 GMT

Are You Half Way to Sporting Greatness if You're Privately Educated?

In the wake of London's Olympic Games, debate was raging in the media and through online social network channels about figures published by the Sutton Trust, which revealed that over half of Team GB's winning rowers went to fee-paying schools and our athletes were five times more likely to win medals if they were educated in an independent school.

In the wake of London's Olympic Games, debate was raging in the media and through online social network channels about figures published by the Sutton Trust, which revealed that over half of Team GB's winning rowers went to fee-paying schools and our athletes were five times more likely to win medals if they were educated in an independent school.

But what aspects of an independent school environment could give children the edge when it comes to competitive sport?

Parents who are in a position to pay for their child's schooling expect them to excel in all areas of school life. This means schools are under pressure to deliver on the academic side, while ensuring their pupils have access to a broad range of other activities, including individual or team sports.

The challenge for schools is making sure that their pupils' achievement in one area doesn't suffer at the expense of another.

The most successful fee-paying schools are meticulous at monitoring their pupils' progress in school and use powerful IT systems to help them. Teachers who have access to this technology get a view of each child's timetabled lessons alongside details of the extra-curricular activity they are involved in.

And this makes it easier to ensure the sporting commitments of your potential future Olympic champions are not having a negative effect on their learning.

Pupils in independent schools are regularly challenged to improve their individual achievement in class or on the athletics track, and rivalry between houses or neighbouring schools is time-honoured - think the Oxford/Cambridge boat race (it first took place in 1829!).

It's essential that both the academic and sporting achievements of our future champions are nurtured and protected. And the high expectations of fee-paying parents have helped to ensure that our independent schools continue to deliver - on both counts.