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Sport enjoys a pre-eminent role in life at Brooke Priory and is a crucial vehicle in the delivery of the School Values. Confidence, teamwork, resilience, respectfulness and honesty are all developed on the sports pitches, not to mention the visible pride and joy of pulling on the school’s jersey each Wednesday. We offer games lessons twice-a-week in the Prep School, alongside their weekly swimming, tennis, P.E. lessons and fixtures.
We strive to ensure our competitive sport is inclusive for all levels of confidence and competence, while at the same time providing opportunities for our elite performers to excel. Uniquely, Brooke Priory will provide all children with the chance to represent the school at sport. Our pupils embrace competition, not shy away from it; they learn how to meet with triumph and disaster, and treat those two imposters just the same!
From developing motor skills in their first years at school to preparing elite athletes for scholarships in Form VI, the range of sports at Brooke Priory is inclusive and unparalleled. Alongside each term’s major sports (rugby, hockey, football, netball, cricket, athletics), pupils have the opportunity to explore, and compete in, other pursuits and passions: racket sports, swimming, horse riding, gymnastics and martial arts. We have a strong record of success at County, Regional and National levels across a variety of sports.
Whatever the outcomes of our extensive fixture list against other schools, we welcome and appreciate the huge level of parental support on the side lines – we win and lose as a team.
Brooke Priory Competitive Fixtures Ethos
During competitive fixtures at Brooke Priory our aim is that the children will have the confidence to express themselves on the field, playing without any fear of failure due to the supportive surroundings and ethos created by the school as a whole. This will come as a result of the developmental and reassuring environment coming from all on the sidelines.
During playing time the input and feedback that staff provide is predominantly encouragement, with some reinforcement and prompts related to tactics and strategy that have been developed and discussed beforehand in games lessons and ‘team talks’. For example, ‘remember your defensive line’ or ‘make sure all of their attackers are being marked’. Verbalising complex feedback related to technique and tactics will be left until between matches, intervals in play (such as at the end of a quarter or a half) or until the next games lesson. Attempting to impose an on the spot decision onto a child, for example shouting ‘dribble’, ‘pass’, shoot’ or something similar when a child receives the ball, is not encouraged. Empowering the children to make their own choices on the field of play develops their individual decision making, and encourages communication among themselves on the field.
At Brooke Priory we will always encourage the children to set themselves high standards and to try their best to be successful; and in terms of sport, strive to win any match or competition that they take part in. Indeed, it is great when the children are victorious in a match and experience this achievement. However, it is vitally important that we don’t use this to measure the overall success of fixtures. Did you enjoy it? What did you learn? What might you do differently next time? are questions we look to ask the children, rather than simply ‘did you win?’ During primary school, the enjoyment and reward that the children get from playing, along with the overall learning experience will always take priority over any result. For this reason, many of the fixtures the children play won’t necessarily have results recorded. Most, if not all, of the schools that we play with and against in these fixtures have the same approach, reinforcing the aim of creating the optimal learning experience for all.
As indicated above, at Brooke Priory we believe that sport fixtures are not solely about developing a child’s sporting ability, it is largely about developing them as an individual too. Our competitive fixtures programme provides a healthy balance of successes and setbacks, this is of course important in the overall development of any individual, particularly as a child gets older and moves into secondary school. Being gracious and reflective in victory and defeat are a huge part of the Brooke Priory ethos.
Triumph over adversity, supporting and encouraging team mates and adopting leadership roles are all examples of the personal development that goes with sporting fixtures and are individual qualities that can subsequently cross over to other elements of their education and development. Meeting new people and as a result showing respect for opponents through sportsmanship and mutual appreciation are also huge benefits of our fixtures programme.
Finally, it is always wonderful for the children to see their family and friends supporting them from the sidelines. We ask that supporters provide encouragement, but to refrain from providing any tactical input, as this may confuse the children who may be under instructions from the teacher to do something different. Many thanks for supporting us with this and reinforcing our ethos from home. As I’m sure you understand, this is all to optimise the learning experience for the children.
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Brooke Priory School, Station Approach, Oakham, Rutland LE15 6QW
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