Some pupils / parents come out with the line that they are very sorry but they cannot take part in a school sports fixture or even practice because they have to study for their exams. Apart from the fact that it is extremely unlikely that the child would spend all the time they should have been at sport studying (they would ‘waste’ the vast majority of that time sleeping in late, communicating on social networks, playing computer games, watching television programmes, talking with friends) it has to be argued that it is imperative that they continue with their sport.

Parents know all too well that ATS schools are committed to the holistic education of their child and that sport is integral to their education, teaching vital lessons that cannot be learnt in the classroom. That does not change when exams come along! In fact, it is even more important that they continue with the sport and cultural activities when examinations come along. This is for a number of reasons:

  • Sport keeps our children physically able to do much more. A healthy body leads to a healthy mind. After sport, the blood is circulated more quickly and leads to  greater concentration levels. After sport, the child will sleep well at night.
  • Sport keeps our children focussed on their studies. People cannot sit in front of books for long, long periods so a break is vital – the right sort of break. Sitting in front of a television or computer screen is not a break and will turn the brain off rather than stimulate it.
  • Sport provides a necessary break to be refreshed. It changes their interest for a while in a positive manner.
  • Sport teaches our children about determination, perseverance, commitment, patience and more, all of which are equally vital for examinations.

There is absolutely no need for any pupil to complain of being asked to do sport when examinations approach as they know well ahead of time what is required. If they study throughout the year, with some revision done during holidays, they will not need to come up with stories that they suddenly need to revise; if they work through the year, continuing with sport and culture activities, they will be fine.

There is no denying that it requires an element of sacrifice but that is what examinations are about – it is only a matter of what is sacrificed. For a short period, it is better to sacrifice some social interaction for healthy activity for the best results to be gained.

It is perfectly possible, reasonable and appropriate to continue with all those things that we believe makes up education even when examinations come along. Our children can do their studies and their sport, easily, fruitfully and successfully. Doing so is their greatest examination.

Please do not think of asking for a special reprieve for your child from sport or clubs at any stage throughout the year. Schools stop sport when study leave starts in third term, only because different pupils will be at different exams, not because they do not think it important. Pupils are still free, and encouraged, to continue with sport and exercise even when there are no official practices, as it will help them greatly.