WHEN YOU THINK of British boarding school sports, what immediately springs to mind? Hardy cricketers in white outfits? Muddy knees? Perhaps competitive fixtures?
Traditions never die but British boarding schools are upping their game when it comes to supporting promising national and international level athletes balance their studies with intense training and competition schedules.
Out of the nine schools worldwide accredited by the World Academy of Sport for their ability to support national and international level athletes balance their International Baccalaureate diploma study program with heavy training and competition schedules, three are British.
Ellesmere College was accredited by WAoS last November. It is now an Athlete Friendly Education Centre, a status confirming a school’s permission to be more flexible with how it combines study and training/competition regimes.
The World Academy of Sport also works closely with Plymouth College.
With its IB ethos encouraging students to be high-achievers, Plymouth is a world-leading swimming school with Olympic gold medal coaches.
BTEC diploma in sport
It is not just World Academy of Sport schools that have something to offer. There are now a host of independent schools that offer Sport BTEC diplomas as standalone qualifications.
BTECs provide students with the practical skills and knowledge they require to move on to higher education or straight into employment.
One school that offers the BTEC extended diploma in sport at Levels 2 and 3 is Mount Kelly.
The BTEC Level 3 extended diploma in sport is generally equivalent to three A-levels.
Mount Kelly follows a performance and excellence specialist pathway.
With aspirational athletes studying 19 units over two years, they learn about nutritional and psychological concepts, as well as the acquisition of skill demanded to improve their level of performance in their chosen sports.
Students at Mount Kelly also benefit from a fixed program of outdoor education in collaboration with the Mount Kelly Adventure Centre.
Work experience placements within the sports industries also exist.
Another school that offers the BTEC Level 3 diploma is Millfield.
The school has some enviable facilities at its disposal such as the Millfield Institute of Sport and Wellbeing, which supports pupils in not only athletic and conditioning development, but also emotionally.
Millfield had more Olympic representatives at London 2012 than any other school. It is also supported by numerous Olympic governing bodies and maintains close relationships with the UK’s most prestigious sports universities and professional clubs.
Samuel Chan is a director at Britannia StudyLink