From Personal to Professional: Why Sporting Heritage in Schools Really Matters...

Derek Peaple, c 1980
Derek Peaple, c 1980
Year 9 Legacy Gallery, 2012 | Courtesy of Park House school
Year 9 Legacy Gallery, 2012
Courtesy of Park House school
Peter Norman, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, 1968 Olympics
Peter Norman, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, 1968 Olympics

That’s me. c.1980, Southern Boys’ Cross-Country Championships at Parliament Hill Fields, spiritual home of the sport.

Perhaps even then I was destined to become a History teacher and, more latterly, passionate advocate for the wider role that sporting heritage can play in engaging young people in truly great learning. Because ever since joining Reading Athletic Club as a thirteen-year-old, I was fascinated by context. Provenance. I wanted to know about the history of the club and sport, so I could better understand my place in its present. The greats. The memorable races. The apocryphal stories of legendary performance. I read and researched voraciously. Back copies Athletics Weekly, the sport’s bible, biographies and autobiographies. No quick internet searches then!
Fast-forward forty years and, as a Headteacher, I have the privilege of shaping an over-arching culture of learning around values and themes drawn from the sporting past. This might mean…

Using iconic Olympic or Paralympic moments to inspire Year 9 artists to research the most appropriate genres for a 2012 ‘Legacy Gallery’…

Or assembly themes on the power of friendship based on stories like that Peter Norman’s ‘I will stand by you’ commitment…

And most recently the opportunity to work with Lewis Moody to produce a ‘Rugby Remembers’ documentary, filmed by A-Level Media students and featuring members of the Sixth Form ‘Mad Dog’ Academy, combining their A Level studies with a specialist Rugby coaching programme…

So, this is personal; and it’s professional, as wonderfully captured in the brilliant 2018 Conference podcasts …

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