While league tables and facilities might be some of the most obvious things to consider when choosing a school for your child, pastoral care, wellbeing and mental health provisions are ever more at the forefront of parents’ minds.
It’s something that Rendcomb College in Cirencester is well aware of, and alongside its brand-new sports facilities which opened in autumn of 2018, the school takes its pastoral responsibility very seriously.
Speaking to Matt Walton, head of sport at the College, SoGlos discovers why sports education is at the heart of Rendcomb’s wellbeing programme.
For us, participation is what we’re all about. We want to make sure that all our students get something out of doing a bit of sport, and it’s not just about the top players performing well.
We want to encourage those that might not be so keen on sport, we want to deliver the same level of programme to them as we do to the better sporting athletes in the school.
We want everyone to gain something from the experience, so we can promote a lifestyle of sport and they can then continue playing sport and keeping fit after they leave Rendcomb.
Wellbeing is something that’s very important here at the school. We have to look after our students pastorally, and care for their health, mental health and their nutrition.
So, it can be things like making sure they have a balanced diet, ensuring they’re getting enough sleep, that they’re setting themselves achievable goals – not just sporting ones.
Other things are healthy eating, mental aspects like how they will improve themselves, and it’s our job to help encourage them to take on that responsibility, while we guide them in the right direction.
If we can achieve that the students, and sports athletes will gain more as they’re more equipped for life than if we as adults just forced them down a certain path.
It’s worth noting that there’s also has an important link between keeping well and doing well in the classroom, too.
It’s clear that people getting a bit of exercise, eating well and sleeping well also benefit in the classroom – they work better and can concentrate better too.
It’s all dependent on your child, and you’ve got to find the best environment for your child to be the best that they can be.
We would like to say that we can offer an all-round education in terms of lifestyle, wellbeing, pastoral care and on the sports field, as well as academically.
I’d be looking at a school which measures success on how much they improve, rather than how many games of cricket they win, for example.
It’s very much a personal choice dependent on the child though, so it’s hard to pinpoint.
We’ve got two new sports facilities actually, our AstroTurf was relayed in the summer which has enabled us to deliver a better programme for hockey, and for tennis in the summer. That’s a huge bonus that now hockey can be played more often, so students can improve their game.
We’ve also just introduced a performance gym and we’ve employed a strength and conditioning coach who has been employed to deliver a programme to all our students as we recognise that’s an important part of development for sportspeople and athletes right now.
Gym is massive now, and it’s something that more and more people are into, so Rendcomb has recognised that to help people operate competitively this gives them the best opportunities to improve and compete.
I think it’s important that throughout a student’s life there is a good routine with good patterns. So that’s going to bed at the same time each night. Some people do need more sleep than others, so obviously it’s individual, but it’s important that a good routine is stuck to.
Helping children to understand the right things to eat so that they’re well fuelled to succeed in the academic or sporting arena is important, and also encouraging them to set up time for homework, or a time to set their own future goals. It’s always important to encourage this to come from them, rather than forcing them into it.
Monday 11 March 2019
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