Sharing facilities is an excellent idea and only fair for independent schools to retain their charity status. It is worth stating that many city-based independent schools have no facilities at all so the arrangement should be reciprocal. I worked at an independent school London that used Hyde Park for its games lessons.
In order for state schools to encourage pupil participation in sport there are two key elements that need to be in place; funding and teacher time. Since the withdrawal of the School Sport Partnership funding, finances are extremely tight.
The present structure of state education is so filled with red tape and bureaucracy it gives teachers precious little time during school hours to devote to extra-curricular activities like sports matches.
In essence teachers need more time and resources to produce future gold medallists!
For anybody who has visited a large private school – as I have (attending a wedding – not as a student) the disparity between facilities and opportunities against state education is vast. The school I visited had two golf courses! This of course is not necessarily typical but it shows clearly that this problem is down almost entirely to funding.
At my school in the West Midlands in the mid eighties the equipment we possessed was woeful – no high jump mat thicker than six inches, only four cricket pads and two bats, one (maybe two) javelins. I could go on.
It was only in a quiet moment years after leaving school that I realised that the four hundred metre track marked out for sports day each year was done by an aging caretaker who definitely did not have the acumen to do it properly – if you think about it, it’s actually very hard. I always thought that running almost sideways around the bends was just not right!
This is down to money – if we want successful sports men and women coming out of state education the government needs to invest heavily. The teachers can only work with what they have.