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Choosing a boarding school for a ‘sporty’ child

Private boarding schools in England have always had a strong reputation not only for academic excellence but also for supporting those with a particular sporting passion, with ambitions to excel. Whether your child has a passion for rugby, football, riding, rowing or tennis, there are boarding schools in the UK with the coaching expertise and facilities to nurture that talent.

Many schools now offer the opportunity to join specific talented sporting programmes, with access not only to top-class coaches but nutritional advice, as well as physiotherapy, strength, conditioning and fitness programmes, specific to individual sports. Alumni who are household sporting names are often linked to the development of sporting academies and summer holiday coaching programmes.

Significant investment has been made in state-of-the-art sporting facilities which have been creeping up country-wide in recent years. Schools are proud of their sporting traditions- signed representative team shirts for a variety of home nations proudly adorn sports hall walls.

What do you need to consider if you have a sporty child and are looking for private boarding schools in England?

  1. Stating the obvious, the school needs to offer a talented athlete programme for their sport. Not all schools offer football, golf, tennis, rowing, lacrosse, and hockey as major sports within their programme. For example for a footballer, you need a boarding school which has a focus on football, not the more traditional boys winter sport of rugby.

  2. Check the school is right for your child’s academic level and needs. Applying to an academically competitive school if your child would struggle to keep their head above water in lessons will knock their confidence and may even affect their sporting achievement as a result. Apply to schools which support both their sporting and academic capabilities.

  3. Check the school is tolerant of able sporting pupils missing lessons to attend top-level coaching or to represent County or Country. Not all schools will allow leave of absence for sporting commitments so it’s best to check this when you visit.

  4. Sports nutrition, fitness and conditioning are also crucial for top sporting children. If your child will be fully boarding at school and hence eating only food provided by the school, check on their provision for those who are training for high-level sport, as well as their access to expertise in fitness and conditioning training.

  5. Medical support is also crucial. Check what the school will do to support your child if they become injured, for example, if they need physiotherapy. I suggest perhaps a private health care policy might be a good idea in case they need specialist treatment that is non-urgent in the eyes of the NHS!

Choosing the right private boarding school in England for your child

Our consultants are on hand with education advice, when choosing and applying to private boarding schools in England. If you’re looking for extra support or require some expert advice, please get in contact with our team.

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