Allow a celebration of the best in physical ability

25th August 1995 at 01:00
Why is it that, in physical education alone, the success and achievement of children of an above average ability, should not be celebrated and encouraged?

It recent years, Great Britain has enjoyed some of the limelight from the athletics world, with Linford Christie, Sally Gunnell and Jonathan Edwards being a few examples of now-household names of whom as a nation we are undoubtedly proud. I would hope that our future athletes are being given the opportunity, in school, to develop and explore their natural talent, alongside their fellow classmates. Why shouldn't they have a taste of success in an area of the curriculum in which they can confidently perform, be it not necessarily in the classroom?

I do accept that, in some cases, failure to perform in sports may be a traumatic experience for a child. Such is the case in any area of the curriculum. However, sports day, handled sensitively, is an opportunity for a school to meet as a whole, and can be an enjoyable experience for all concerned. At no point should a child have to hide "from everyone's gaze". Employing such tactics surely goes yet further to undermine the child's confidence.

I am proud to say that in the last week of term my school hosted a most successful sport evening, a lot of the work and organisation having been done by the children. We had around 400 parents and friends of the school, a range of races, from the sprint to the potato race, and a barbecue. As far as I am aware, the event was enjoyed by all, and gave a tremendous feeling of unity.

All I ask is that before you damn such events, consider the children, for whom this may be their only opportunity to shine. Please don't take that away from them.

KERRY BRIDGES

Teacher responsible for PE Southgate Middle School Crawley West Sussex

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