School sports day: A tradition to keep, or to be binned?

A VPN is an essential component of IT security, whether you’re just starting a business or are already up and running. Most business interactions and transactions happen online and VPN

The sun’s come out and we’re in the final stretch of the school year. This means one thing: across the land schools are holding their annual sports day.

sports day, egg and spoon raqce,dad blog uk, dadbloguk, dadbloguk.com, school run dad, school, education, development, sport, healthy children
Don’t get in my way during the egg and spoon race.

Actually, it means two things. It not only means that schools are holding sports days, it means the Annual Sports Day Debate has got underway.

I’ve seen blog posts and social media chatter from those who think it places undue stress on kids and is a tradition that should be binned. Curiously, however, I have noticed some movement in the other direction.

I saw a news report in the Sunday papers explaining that some state schools, after years of holding non-competitive sports days, are re-introducing the competitive element. There was a concern that today’s youngsters don’t have the skills to deal with competition and so schools are once again allowing kids to win and lose on sports day.

The worry, as described in this post on the Daddy Poppins blog, is that some kids have little or no confidence when it comes to sporting events. Taking part in a sports day could damage their confidence further.

I think my daughter’s school has adopted a very sensible approach. The school is split into four houses and the houses compete against each other. The winning house receives a cup at the end of the competition, not an individual.

It is also rather sad that schools feel the need to step in and teach children about competition. I expect an element of competition in school, be it awards and certificates for producing good work or sports day, but such lessons have to come from home as well.

I’ve also heard the idea expressed that sports day should be scrapped because it alienates kids who don’t enjoy sports. If you go down that route, you have to scrap spelling bees for kids who don’t like literacy, history-themed costume days for kids for kids who think the subject is boring and so on.

I think one of the greatest benefits of sports day is a less obvious one. It’s not so much about sporting success or prowess, but giving kids a lesson in failure and disappointment and how to deal with it.

It maybe sounds counter intuitive, but kids have to lose from time to time. That way they learn resilience and learn how to pick themselves up off the floor, dust themselves off and carry on.

We all spend time teaching our kids to work hard and to do their best so they can be successful. You obviously want your kid to cross the finish line first, but if they are last every now and again, well, maybe it’s not such a bad thing. Do away with sports day and you do away with one more opportunity for your child to learn a valuable life-lesson in coping with failure.

I was at my daughter’s Sports Day just yesterday. I’m sure there were some kids in among the crowd who were hating every minute of it but the majority of them seemed to be having an amazing time.

I think sports day has to stay. It shouldn’t be treated like the Olympics or European Championships, but a little competition, well, it’s part of growing up.


3 thoughts on “School sports day: A tradition to keep, or to be binned?”

  1. I am glad I read this tonight … partly as it has suddenly reminded me about the sports day tomorrow at my youngest’s school that I had completely forgotten! Our primary school do the same as your school and although I hated sports day as a child, being more studious than energetic, I love sports day now.

    It gives the children who may struggle with their school work but, who are great at sports a chance to feel pride in themselves. Our school tries to make it fun for everyone and I have never noticed a child looking worried about the whole thing. In fact the parents usually cheer the loudest for the child at the back in races at our school, whether that’s their child or not.


    1. Well done on remembering sports day, even if a little late in the day! Hope your kids do well.

      I do see quite a bit of “what about the kids that doesn’t ;like sport” but you raise a really interesting point. What about the kids that don’t necessarily like sport, but don’t excel in the classroom? Why shouldn’t they be given the opportunity to try something else?

      Love the fact the parents cheer for the kid at the back. Great community spirit.

  2. Just had ours last Monday. We loved it! Similar to you, the school was split into 5/6 teams and they all completed various things together. At the end was the class sprints and then the adult races. That’s always a bit cringeworthy for me but each to their own! All in all, sports day has to stay!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top