Schools that offer more activities outside the classroom get better GCSE exam results from their pupils, the Independent Schools Council has recently claimed.
In a recently published report the ISC has shown that there is a direct correlation between exam success and the number of opportunities for children to excel in non-academic activities such as sport, music and drama.
The Independent, picking up the same story, stresses the evidence that sport is the key to success for boys, quoting the Master in charge of Harrow’s 1st XI cricket team. It seems that even if they miss classes due to a full diary of fixtures, the feel-good factor of sporting success boosts them also in their academic work so that they outperform their classmates.
One interesting point struck me, especially as we have recently resurrected our whole-school table tennis league. According to the Independent article, table tennis is one of the most IQ-enhancing ball sports. It improves hand-to-eye co-ordination, using both upper and lower body and ensuring players engage different areas of the brain. Juggling is also excellent as it uses both sides of the brain.
Here again, researchers picked up key differences between boys and girls. as one Headmaster put it: “Boys really want a hinterland to their studies. They don’t want to work in a vacuum and need a sense of life beyond the classroom to make the classroom more palatable.”
“Girls,” according to Andrew Halls, head of King’s College School for boys in Wimbledon, “tend to weather tedium better than boys. If their lessons are boring, girls will compensate for that, whereas with boys it explodes in your face a bit.”
At our school (www.chavagnes.org) , we find that daily sport (and also an attempt to provide some variety in it, so that different boys find what they are good at) makes a big difference to morale.