Should School Sports Be More Competitive?

In the middle of last year, in the wake of the incredible
displays of athleticism at the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Prime
Minister David Cameron called for changes to be made to school PE lessons “in
favour of competitive sports.”

Saying that the current approach of “all [children] must win
prizes [in PE]” is outdated, he stated that a new primary school curriculum
should be put into place, making children play competitive sports from a young
age, and ensuring that they should be put in touch with local sports clubs “so
they can pursue their dreams.”

But not everyone is completely in agreement with the Prime
Minister. Some people believe that he is effectively reinstating the Labour
Party’s School Sports Partnership programme – the same programme the Tories
scrapped in 2010. Many are of the opinion that forcing children into more
competitive sports will cause a number of kids to be turned off sport.

What do you think? Here are our opinions on the case.


Many people have taken the view that, as life is competitive,
so should sport be. By encouraging children to play competitive sports from an
early age, schools will be preparing them for life in the real world.
Schoolchildren competing against one another (or against other schools) would
teach them the value of working both as a team and alone. It would prepare them
for the competitiveness present in certain areas of life, such as the job

Another thing it would teach children about would be the possibility
of losing. Children are bound to lose in life in one way or another, and the
“win or lose” mentality of competitive sports would help them to experience
disappointment in a controlled environment, meaning they would be better
prepared when they encounter it outside of school.

One final argument is simply that school kids aren’t getting
enough exercise lately – competitive sports tend to be of a higher intensity
than non-competitive, thus meaning they should be getting more exercise from


There are a few arguments against the increase of compulsory
competitive sports in schools, however, as it puts too great an emphasis on the
winners against the losers. It is believed that this would turn a lot of kids
off of sports – how many of you hated rugby at school? – in particular, those
students who are less physically fit than others, or those who are of a lower
athletic ability.

Instead of being forced to compete in sports, many people
think children should instead be encouraged to find a sport that they enjoy
doing, and stick with it.


There is indeed a compromise: make it compulsory to have a
greater amount of physical education, yes, but introduce individual,
non-competitive sports, like yoga or aerobics.

introduction of sports that all children, no matter their ability or even
disability, can do would be a major step forward for inclusivity. Sports such
as cycling, in which children who have a physical or learning disability can
use specially designed cycles, such as those found on

There are a number of options available, and we certainly
agree that schoolchildren are in need of a greater amount of exercise, but
perhaps it should be even balanced between competitive and inclusive. What do
you think?


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