The primary purpose of all sports and games is enjoyment. Michael McKaughan, Headmaster of Denmead School, highlights the amazing range of opportunities available to children at all IAPS schools.
Member schools of IAPS strive to produce high quality education across a wide range of platforms. Their focus is not restricted simply to academic achievement. Sport is an integral element in the all round educational provision in our schools. Any IAPS head would comment that one of the fundamental reasons for parents selecting preparatory school education for their children is the provision of sport. The range of resources, facilities and coaching that exist in our schools is of a very high standard and provide a distinctive quality that cannot but help be of great benefit to the children. There exists an intrinsic commitment across Association member schools to provide breadth and depth to their provision to meet the physical needs of their pupils. Like so many aspects of school life, integrating sport is about reaching a balance between academic productivity and physical well-being. Children need to be challenged in physical pursuits just as much as they need to show industry in their studies. School sport plays an important role in preparatory school life. It helps to raise standards, improve behaviour and health, and develop social skills. To quote from the IAPS Sports Handbook, 'We wish to stress as strongly as possible that the primary purpose of all sports and games is enjoyment. They are equally important for girls and boys. In an age when the pressure to win is so strong, and often leads to dissension, it is important that we should seek to instil in our children, and in their parents, a balanced attitude towards winning and losing, and a real enthusiasm for the game itself.' Schools give varying amounts of time during the week to physical activity. This is delivered through timetabled PE lessons, games afternoons, competitive matches against other schools, after school and weekend matches or activity sessions. The breadth of sports is extensive. Whilst most schools offer the major sports for both girls and boys, there exist many less prominent ones that are either of a team or individual nature. Programmes of Extra Curricular Activities provide the opportunity for many of these, but equally, a good number of schools will see one or more as a school specialism. Sport is not only about working within a team. Your child might be happy with team sports, but some much prefer working on their own and setting their individual targets and goals. As a result of sport being an important part of the curriculum, all children of varying abilities are catered for and helped to develop a better knowledge and understanding of the sports played, along with the ethos of sportsmanship and healthy competition. Focus is not simply on the top performers in respective age groups but there is a drive for giving every child an equal opportunity to be involved, to make progress and most importantly, to enjoy physical activity. Through their exposure to sport, children develop many life skills that will stand them in good stead when they move on to their respective senior schools. Here they will have ample options to build and develop on all they have gained during their preparatory school years. They will learn about themselves; their personal attributes and limitations, and their ability to cope and deal appropriately with different emotions linked to winning and losing. Teamwork is another skill area of great significance because it will help them to develop relationships and adapt to different personalities that will potentially shape their futures. They can gain an appreciation for how their individual role, when combined with team-mates, can influence the level of success of the team as a whole. The sports field is the ideal arena for them to learn these fundamental skills. Through the major team sports that are played season by season, to the wide array of individual sports and activities on offer throughout the Association, parents can take a fairly general approach for their children or look to certain schools that offer a specific sport. For girls, netball, hockey, tennis, athletics, swimming and rounders are some of the more universal team sports, whilst for boys the more common ones are football, rugby, hockey, athletics, swimming and cricket. Of the 30 sports and activities listed in the Association's Handbook, others include shooting, judo, golf, table tennis, squash and fencing. In addition to intra school matches, children also have the opportunity of competing at local and national level at annual competitions run by IAPS. IAPS sport provides children with a sound platform from which they can go on to make further progress in the future. They are taught the fundamentals by coaches qualified in their respective sports and who in a good many cases have played to a very high and sometimes the highest level. It is not surprising therefore when looking through the IAPS 'roll of honour' of those who have competed at senior county or international level, to see such a large number of past pupils and such a wide range of disciplines. It all stems from an enjoyable introduction with sound development of basic skills, a healthy degree of competitive spirit and plenty of enthusiasm.
Michael McKaughan is the Headmaster of Denmead School and the IAPS Cricket Representative.
Examples of Sporting High Achievers from IAPS Schools
Rugby: Emily Feltham (England Rugby Captain) Leaden Hall; Tim Payne (England Rugby), Port Regis; Nick Greenstock (England Rugby), Port Regis; Peter Phillips (Scotland Schools Rugby) Port Regis; Alex Goode (plays for England U20s Rugby); John Brake (Northampton Rugby and England 7s International), Millfield; Spencer Davey (England U21 Rugby), Millfield; Matthew Perry (former England Rugby International and British Lions), Millfield; Simon Amor (Cambridge Blue, Captain of England Sevens 2002-2006), Denmead; Alex King (England Rugby Player), St Christopher's School, Hove.
Athletics: Julie Dibens (nee Ricketts) (GB and Olympic Triathlete), Millfield; Adam Duke (former England and GB International Athlete, 1500 and 800m), Millfield; Georgina Harland (Bronze Olympian 2004 (Pentathlon)), Wellesley House; Alistair Brownlee (World Champion Triathlete), Bradford Grammar Junior School; Larry Achike (Triple Jump, 7th in 2008 Olympic Games), Moreton Hall Prep School.
Swimming: Joanna Fargus (GB Olympic Swimmer and Commonwealth Gold and Silver Medallist), Millfield; Euan Dale (Scottish International Swimmer and Commonwealth Silver Medallist), Millfield.
Cricket: David Graveney (former Chairman of England Cricket Selectors), Millfield; Aftab Habib (former England Cricket International), Millfield; Ben Hollioake (former England Cricket International), Millfield; Alex Loudon (Kent/Warwickshire/England), Wellesley House; Christopher Cowdrey (Kent/Glamorgan/ England Captain), Wellesley House; Graham Cowdrey (Kent), Wellesley House; Sir Tim Rice (Past President of MCC - Cricket), Aldwickbury; Clare Connor (England Women's Cricket Captain, Ashes Winner 1999/2000-2006), Brighton College Prep School; Matt Prior (Sussex and England), Brighton College Prep School.
Tennis & Rackets: Andrew Jarrett (former Davis Cup Player, 2008 Wimbledon Championship Referee), Millfield; Mark Hue Williams (World Doubles Rackets champion), Wellesley House; Ruaraidh Gunn, (one of the world's leading Real Tennis players), Wellesley House; James Male (World Rackets Champion 1988-99/2001-05), Aldwickbury.Rowing: Sir Matthew Pinsent (4 Olympic Gold Medals for Rowing), Aysgarth School.
Hockey: David Luckes (former England Hockey International and current member of GB Olympic Committee), Millfield; Richard Mantell (GB Hockey International including Beijing Olympics), Millfield; Simon Mantell (GB Hockey International including Beijing Olympics), Millfield; William Furlong (GB Hockey), Vinehall; Rob Moore (Hockey, current England and GB player (two Olympic Games)), Twyford School.
Football: Frank Lampard (Chelsea and England Footballer), Brentwood Prep.
Gymnastics: Beth Tweddle (Olympic Gymnast 2008), Merton House School.
Equestrian: Zara Phillips (Eventing World Champion), Port Regis; William Fox-Pit (Bronze Olympian 2004 and 2008, and UK's leading three day eventer), Wellesley House; Oliver Sherwood (Leading National Hunt Trainer and leading Amateur Jockey),Wellesley House; Simon Sherwood (Professional Jockey - rode Desert Orchid - 12 wins out of 13) Wellesley House; Sharon Hunt (Bronze Medalist, British Equestrian Team, 2008 Olympic Games), South Lee School.
Other Sports: Pippa Wilson (World Class Sailor), Hordle Walhampton; Joey Barrington (England Squash International), Millfield; Simon Duckett (Welsh International Fencer and Commonwealth Games Silver Medallist), Millfield; Alex O'Connell (GB Fencing team in 2008 Olympics), Brentwood Prep.