At a time of widespread concern over obesity and lack of wellbeing amongst young people, the inaugural national sports survey of HMC schools in the UK reveals that:

  • Independent schools are leading the way in keeping today’s children fit and healthy, with 5.4 hours a week on average played in over 40 sports. This includes games, PE and practices.
  • Independent school pupils do on average  double the amount of sport compared with pupils in state schools according to figures from the Youth Sport Trust (less than two hours a week)
  • Team sport is alive and well with a huge 30,000 fixtures a year in the 169 HMC schools surveyed – that’s nearly 1,000 a week involved almost 10,000 pupils
  • Of the 169 schools, a remarkable 1400 pupils had played for their country, around eight per school. 7,000 had represented their county
  • Leading independent schools maintain interest in sport from girls and boys throughout the teenage years, with consistent participation across gender, ages and day and boarding schools
  • Health based facilities and activities are on the increase alongside consistent provision of a wide range of team sports played at all levels.

The survey was carried out by the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference amongst its 260 members, which include a wide variety of day and boarding schools across the UK. Responses were received from 169 schools. (raw data available on request)

Chair of HMC Sports Committee and Chief Master of King Edward’s School Birmingham John Claughton said:  “We commit huge time and effort to sport every day, not just because we always have done or even to get gold medals. Sport teaches our pupils how to win, how to lose and the courage to persist through teamwork and personal resilience.

“We are also committed to helping increase the amount of sport for state school pupils and have asked the Department for Education to better support and facilitate an upscaling of the significant partnership work which is already taking place.

“This is crucial for all pupils as we know from experience that sport can be a driver for healthy lifestyles as well as promoting social inclusion and developing leadership qualities and self-esteem.”

King Edward's School runs a number of sports partnerships including with 14 local primary schools. Details of this and other initiatives run by HMC schools, an interview with John Claughton and other Head Teachers and a background briefing from the data analyst are available on request.

For further details please contact:

Sue Bishop, Director of External Relations, HMC

07787 294808