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WEEK 34 - Friday 17 June 2022

Sports day is something of a ‘Marmite’ event; students and parents love it or loathe it, in equal measure. For those who look forward to it, their children might be particularly athletic; bursting with sporting potential. Understandably, for these children, it’s an important day to add to their sporting CVs. For others, it can simply be a day out to have fun, support their friends or ‘House’, and try their best, when they do compete.

The meaning and significance of sports day is in the eye of the beholder. In large part, the attitude that children bring to the event is determined by parents. As hard as it is, I would encourage you to think about the positives that your family can extract from the day. List out which aspects might be enjoyable. Sitting in the sun? Preparing a lovely picnic? Chatting to other students and teachers in a different environment? How can you influence the extent to which your family makes the most of the day? 

I think it is a mistake to remove a child from any school experience because you anticipate failure. It’s an important life lesson to realise that there will always be people who are smarter or sportier than us! However, with every life experience, there is something meaningful and educational behind it. One of the most powerful messages that you can bring to sports day is the importance of ‘giving things a go’. When children recognise that parents celebrate their effort rather than their performance, it can be a game changer. If they know that we are truly proud of their ‘get stuck in’ attitude, it gives them the moral courage to compete.

For our children to grow up emotionally and physically resilient, every little school event, whether it is sports day, getting up on the school stage or participating in an assembly, is preparing them for the future. Each experience helps them to navigate a range of thoughts and emotions, and builds their emotional literacy. As counter-intuitive and uncomfortable as it may be, we do have to watch them learn (and sometimes fail) from the side lines. What matters most is reframing each loss as a learning experience and opportunity to grow and do better next time. 

Sport is not just confined to football, cricket, rugby, swimming or athletics. There are literally hundreds of activities which children and young people can try. I truly believe that one day, your child will find an activity that they enjoy and where they can truly shine. Our role as parents is to be as imaginative and innovative as we possibly can, valuing challenge, cultivating a ‘courage culture’ at home and showing our children that we believe in them and in their physical potential. 

Our sports day is on Thursday 21 July. Students are signing up to the events in tutor time. It is always a fantastic day, not solely focusing on sporting prowess, but being part of a whole school event supporting each other in a positive environment. 

If you have any concerns or questions please contact me at hoyyear9@hessleacademy.com 

Mr Leckenby

Head of Year 9