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Mo Farah wins gold 2012 London Olympic Games

Does competitive sport in school do more harm than good?

With so much of the curriculum already target driven, journalist Matthew Jenkin questions whether the incentive to win in PE is either necessary or effective

D ouble Olympic champion Mo Farah’s athletic talent was spotted at an early age by his physical education teacher at Feltham community college in west London. Alan Watkinson was instrumental in channelling Farah’s energies into athletics and says this also helped the young athlete focus on his studies.

But not everyone shares Watkinson’s enthusiasm for competitive sports, least of all students. According to a survey by Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and the Chance to Shine charity, almost two thirds (64%) of eight to 16-year-olds said they would be “relieved, not bothered or happier” if winning or losing were not a factor.

Childhood obesity is worryingly high in Britain and it’s hard to find an argument against the need for students to engage in strenuous physical activity during physical education (PE) lessons. But with so much of the curriculum already fiercely target driven, why must these sessions include an element of competition?

The incentive to win gives students the motivation for taking part in the physical activity or games, says Chris Tully, head of PE at a secondary school in west Yorkshire. It’s a belief shared by 22% of parents, questioned in the survey above, who said they would have less interest in watching school sport if it was not competitive.

While Tully sympathises with children who may have less interest in or talent for sport, the answer is not to abolish the competitive element but to apply a more tailored approach to teaching according to each student’s needs.

He explains: “Some children are more introverted and less inclined to want to compete. That doesn’t mean, however, that we should just sit back and let them opt out. There should be careful management to encourage them into some element of competition.”

At Tully’s school, teachers make sure students are matched appropriately and fairly to activities and competitors according to ability. The result is that no girl or boy plays against a peer who is much more physically developed or experienced. It wouldn’t be beneficial for either pupil, he says.

Students are allowed to choose activities that suit them, whether it is team games such as football, netball and hockey or fitness-based things such as boxercise or circuit training. They also offer more creative options such as gymnastics, dance and trampolining.

The competition element, however, does not always involve going up against peers. Tully is keen to encourage the idea of personal bests, asking students to reflect on their own performance and how well they did in this lesson compared to the last. Making comparisons with others can be demotivating for some pupils.

Gareth Hamer, a PE and maths teacher at Stourport high school and sixth form in Worcestershire, agrees that competition is healthy. He adds that physical education has the ability to offer so much more than the experience of winning and losing. Lessons also look at technical, physical, social and psychological aspects.

Competitive sports, Hamer says, can teach you how to keep your temper and how to respect others: “It helps students become good people who can contribute to the community in a variety of ways, whether that is in leadership roles or supporting others. PE is obviously not the sole contributor to these skills, but it is definitely something that can bring all of those qualities out.”

The key is helping pupils understand why they are playing a particular sport. Students need to understand the point of what they are doing and the value of the lesson. Competition, Hamer insists, is a crucial element in every adult life, whether it’s going for a job or buying a house.

Young people need to know what it’s like to succeed, but equally how it feels to fail. Jon Clack, headteacher at Great Ponton primary , in Grantham, Lincolnshire, set up a charity called Inspire Plus to encourage sport in his small rural school and the local community after the government cut its school sports partnership funding. Since then he has been working to ensure PE is a bigger priority.

He recently started a football club and invited children as young as six or seven up to the age of 11 to join. Instead of the older students using it as an opportunity to show off and the younger children crumbling under the weight of failure, he says, the more mature players showed a genuine concern for their junior peers – supporting them and helping them enjoy a fair game.

Failure, Clack reveals, is almost an expectation at his school of just 70 pupils. If you are playing in external competitions against teams which have been chosen from a much wider pool of talent, there is a strong possibility of losing. It’s therefore important that the students set themselves their own individual goals, such as aiming to score at least one goal. Clack says the students recognise that failing is a fact of life and so they see it as a learning experience.

“A little bit of failure is good for you,” says Clack. “In every lesson it is better to give a wrong answer rather than nothing at all. In PE, everyone has to have a go. Competitive sports helps students learn what can go right or wrong and arms them with tactics that they can use to do better in the future.”

He adds that it doesn’t matter about your age or your skill, competitive sports give students the opportunity to explore the standard of their skill versus others’ because many are much better than they think.

“The key thing is developing the whole child who is prepared for life and work,” Clack says. “Win, lose or draw – your life will never pan out like you expect it to, so you need to be prepared.”

The PE and school sports series is funded by the Youth Sport Trust . All content is editorially independent except for pieces labelled “brought to you by”. Find out more here .

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Why Make Sport Compulsory at School?

sport should be compulsory in schools essay

Sports professionals, such as AOC president John Coates, advocate the introduction of compulsory sport (excluding PE lessons) in schools, claiming that the lack of emphasis on sport in the curriculum contributed to the disappointing performance of Australian athletes in the 2012 Olympics.

However making  School Sport  compulsory is not about creating great athletes. It’s about making sport accessible to, and enjoyed by all students. Just because a student is not good at sport does not mean that s/he should not play. Unfortunately the cult of having many professional sports players in Australia can lead to a nation of sport watchers rather than sport players. It is a double edged sword. It’s up to our education system to teach all students to play sports, in the same way we teach them the academic curriculum. We don’t give students the option of dropping out of academic studies simply because they are not good at it.

Mandatory participation in at least one sport is the norm for some schools, such as The Scot’s College and The King’s School in Sydney. The advantage of making Team Sport compulsory is that everyone has to play. There are teams suited to all abilities. Less gifted students are not discouraged by having to compete with more talented students. They succeed at their own level. In Schools in which  School team sports  are compulsory, students do not have an easy excuse to give up. This avoids students dropping out of team sport because they think they do not measure up, as frequently happens. It’s unfortunate when this happens because these students do not gain the many benefits of playing a team sport.

Students benefit from involvement in physical activities regardless of whether they have the aptitude or inclination for it.

The Benefits

  • Exercising regularly increases an individual’s fitness level, lowering the risk of medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease and obesity. Obesity is on the rise among children and adults – according to a 2016 Courier Mail report, 27% of Queensland children were obese.
  • People are more likely to get into the habit of playing sport and exercising if you start young, and build those neurone connections that turn repeated experiences into a lifelong fitness habit.
  • Playing sport develops transferable competencies such as teamwork, a sense of fair play and responsibility, self-esteem, organisational, time management, and leadership skills.
  • Physical activity and sports teach the value of discipline, commitment, and hard work. Individual progress can be measured and improved upon through training.
  •  Positive, non-judgemental competition encourages respect of others’ abilities, strengths, and weaknesses.
  • Compulsory school sport  forces you to re-evaluate the misconception that you have to be good at something to enjoy it. This is not necessarily true, particularly in a positive environment where the emphasis is not on victory at all costs, but rather on having fun and improving your skills.
  • Parents and students may be concerned that less able players risk being bullied for their lack of skill. Coaches need to reinforce that bullying is unacceptable and that every student’s effort and contribution is valued, regardless of skill.
  • In team sports, if students are matched with players of similar ability, they will feel more confident to extend  their sports knowledge and skills.
  • For those who don’t have sporting ability and who are intimidated by comparing themselves to others, the emphasis can be on achieving personal bests rather than victory over opponents.
  • Sport helps students develop resilience and coping strategies to face failure and navigate competitive situations which are part of life.
  •  Although students may be introduced to different sports or physical activities in PE class, these lessons are too short for students to discover whether they enjoy them or are good at them. If students choose one sport per term within a compulsory sports programme, and then switch to another one, they will be exposed to a range of activities during their time at school. This broadens their learning experience.
  •  Knowledge of a range of sports can help students connect with others.
  • Sport creates opportunities for students to interact with their peers and form strong friendships while pursuing common goals.
  • Compulsory sport reinforces the idea that different types of knowledge and ability are valued, apart from academic ability.
  • Studies suggest that  involvement in sport improves concentration levels  and academic achievement. A study of 9700 students aged 14 to 18 conducted by researchers from Pennsylvania State University and the University of South Carolina found that adolescents who belong to school sports clubs, rather than drama or debating societies, are more likely to complete their education and go to university.
  • School Sport  encourages teacher-student bonding outside the classroom.
  • Compulsory participation can make playing sport less expensive for students, as some schools provide equipment, playing spaces, and transport to and from venues at subsidised prices.
  • Gifted players don’t have to carry the entire responsibility of a match on their shoulders in competitions, because even if their peers are less talented, the less able students can still support them and contribute to the team’s performance.

Well managed compulsory team sport is a beneficial to the overwhelming number of students, There needs to be elements of choice and a positive approach. Students should be free to discover  a sport they enjoy  in an atmosphere which encourages them to reach their personal best and respect each other, regardless of skill levels. Sport should be accessible to all students, not only to those with natural sporting ability. Making sport compulsory in Schools removes the hidden inaccessibility.

“ Do Australian schools need more sport? ”  The Good Schools Guide .  Good Education Group . 2018.

“ Should school sport be compulsory? ”  The Scots College Blog . 17 October, 2017.

Jenkin, Matthew. “Does competitive sport in school do more harm than good?”  The Guardian . 29 January, 2015. (accessed 23 April, 2018). < https://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/2015/jan/29/competitive-school-sport-harm >.

Lang, Kylie. “ Sport should be compulsory in schools. ”  The Daily Telegraph . 15 April, 2016.

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Should Schools Suspend Sports? The Debate Is Getting More Tense

sport should be compulsory in schools essay

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Debates are roiling across the country over the role that high school sports should play as schools reopen during the coronavirus pandemic.

Decisions handed down from state capitals and state athletic associations on when and if students should play have created a fractured landscape for high school sports—and a debate over whether schools that opt for distance learning should be playing contact sports.

In states such as New Jersey and Oklahoma, high school sports will be allowed on campuses this fall, when in many cases, classes may not be.

Out West, states such as California and Oregon have postponed all high school sports until at least 2021.

And in Iowa, sports will proceed as usual, for some. Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds has mandated that students should return to the classroom at least part-time this fall; if school districts defy Reynolds’ order and opt for all-remote learning, sports practices and games will not be allowed.

The National Federation of State High School Associations has encouraged state-level organizations to work alongside governors’ offices and state health departments to guide decisions on when sports should return. However, that has not always worked out.

Tensions have boiled over in Pennsylvania, where Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has recommended that schools suspend high school sports until January. For instruction, the state is allowing individual districts to decide whether to do it remotely, in-person, or a mixture of both.

Leaders of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, a governing body for high school and junior high school sports, are considering authorizing sports against Wolf’s wishes—and the organization has the support of some Republican state lawmakers.

Republican State Rep. Jesse Topper introduced legislation that would allow students to repeat a year of school if they missed out on a year of sports or if their parents think they are dissatisfied with the education they are receiving. Companion legislation would allow local school boards and superintendents to decide whether their schools should play sports.

“There is no foolproof plan. There will be kids who get COVID. There’ll be teachers who get COVID. There will be coaches,” said Topper, an assistant high school coach in Bedford, a small town in southern Pennsylvania. “We understand that. Are we not as a society going to move on with our lives and say, ‘Look, these are the people at risk, and this is how it spreads, but at a certain point, we’re turning the lights on?’”

In Bedford County, where the state health department indicates that there is moderate risk of community coronavirus spread, classes will begin this fall with a hybrid schedule, with students splitting their time between in-person and online classes.

A report from the American Academy of Pediatrics released earlier this month indicates that severe illness due to COVID-19 is rare among children, but the relationship between children and the spread of the disease remains unclear.

Return-to-school guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued in early August recommends limiting or canceling participation in co-curricular and extracurricular activities where social distancing is not feasible.

Playing it Safe?

At least 17 states and the District of Columbia have canceled the fall high school football season with hopes to resume practices and games in the winter or spring of 2021.

Twenty states have taken less drastic steps, pushing back the start of all fall sports even as COVID-19 cases surge in some communities.

In 14 states, spread across the Southeast, Midwest, and Rocky Mountain regions, high school sports will proceed as planned.

One of those states, Utah, hosted its first week of sanctioned high school football games with fans during the pandemic—with temperature checks at the gates and masks and social distancing in the stands. COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to drop in the state, but some schools fared better than others as the season got underway.

Herriman High, a 3,200-student school in Salt Lake County—where the mayor instituted a public mask mandate—hosted the first football game without a hitch. The school used an online lottery to determine which students won the chance to buy tickets to the football games.

“We’re trying to do what’s best by the kids and for the kids,” said Stewart Hudnall, an assistant principal at Herriman High. “There are only so many hours in the day that we can try to facilitate the unknown. In this new world we live in, are there going to be mistakes? Absolutely.”

Six miles away in the same school district, Bingham High, was forced to cancel its first game after three players tested positive for COVID-19.

Both schools are in the 56,000-student Jordan School District, which will have in-person classes on campuses Mondays through Thursdays starting next week, with online instruction on Fridays. But about 1 in 5 families in the district have opted for all-online learning.

In Oregon, state department of education guidance urges schools to carefully weigh public health recommendations when deciding how to return to school. Ten percent of COVID-19 cases in the state are in children. The state has postponed sports until January, but guidelines allow for schools in communities with low transmission rates to host in-person practices and training sessions.

“If we can’t invite these students into our schools for a full day of learning, maybe we should really think hard about whether it’s safe for them to be out there, especially with those full-contact sports,” said Peter Weber, the executive director of the Oregon School Activities Association.

“How do you balance those opportunities? In some of our districts, a family would be questioning ‘Why am I not able to have my students come in for math class?’ Yet, we’re having practices and things like that. Those are difficult conversations.”

‘A Lot of Uncertainty’

The National Federation of State High School Associations’ Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, a 15-member panel of medical doctors, certified athletic trainers, high school coaches, state athletic association executives, and officials, released guidelines that identify the potential infection risk by sports, labeling the most common high school sports as lower-, intermediate, or higher-risk. Football is considered a higher-risk sport, for example, while golf is deemed a lower-risk sport.

Two major college athletic conferences, the Big Ten and Pac 12, ruled out all fall sports because cardiologists are concerned that coronavirus infections could cause heart complications that lead to abnormal health rhythms or sudden cardiac death in athletes.

Over the summer, schools in dozens of states temporarily suspended sports activities after players or coaches tested positive for COVID-19 during training sessions, but the push to find ways to play did not let up.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty,” said Topper, the Pennsylvania state representative. “There’s no magic pill out there that’s going to be ready or a vaccine of some kind that’s just on the horizon. If we’re talking three years down the road, what happens to these kids if we don’t come up with a way to make sure” they have the opportunity to play sports.

Texas is among the states pressing ahead with fall sports amid questions about safety and COVID-19’s long-term health effects on youth athletes.

Bob Wager, the head football coach at Martin High School in Arlington, Texas, has hosted roughly 400 students each weekday for strength and conditioning camps since early June. Students worked out in 12-person pods with the same coach supervising them daily. Over the past two months, the school recorded two positive coronavirus cases—and Wager required the students and coaches in the same practice pod to quarantine for two weeks.

The Arlington school system began classes online this week. Health authorities in Tarrant County, where Arlington is located, announced this month that all public schools there must go to online-only classes for the first six weeks of the school year, until at least Sept. 28, because of a spike in coronavirus cases.

The state, which has about 170,000 students play football each fall, has pushed back the start of football for its largest schools until late September, the weekend before students are scheduled return for in-person classes.

“The risks and concern over COVID-19 and running a huge camp during a pandemic aren’t lost on me,” Wager said. “I don’t claim to be an expert on viruses. What I do claim is to be an expert on high school kids and what I’ve seen is happy kids for two hours a day.”

In Utah, where the first football game was held, sports such as cross country, golf, soccer, tennis, and volleyball started weeks ago. Under state guidelines, schools must notify their county health department when students test positive for COVID-19.

The state is also taking other precautions to prevent another widespread shutdown of sports: Schools in counties with the highest risk of coronavirus transmission will not host home football games. Officials in two neighboring states, Colorado and Nevada, have pushed football to the spring, with Nevada shutting down all sports until January.

“We still have contingency plans in place because things could change hour by hour,” said Rob Cuff, the executive director of the Utah High School Activities Association. “Our message to schools is, ‘Don’t let down your guard. Stay attentive. Make sure that we’re ensuring safety every way we can.’ We definitely want the reward to outweigh the risk.”

A version of this article appeared in the September 02, 2020 edition of Education Week as Should Schools Suspend Sports? The Debate Is Getting More Tense

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Pros and Cons of School Sports

sport should be compulsory in schools essay

A large, academic-looking building full of the pursuit of knowledge, lies overshadowed by the sprawling gym building. The gigantic football field, surrounded by the track, abruptly interrupts rolling lawns of beautiful green grass. Across the street, the soccer field with its two goal nets sits expectantly, waiting for a crowd of excited students. 

This is the picture of America’s schools, where academics and sports coexist.

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 1991-2019 High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data , about 57% of high school students played on at least one school or community sports team in the past year,” EducationWeekly tells us . 

School sports are important to many schools, students, and their families. Surprisingly, they can also be a somewhat controversial topic. For an activity that over 50% of high school students participate in, you would think that school sports would be an accepted part of life. 

The shocker is that it’s not a settled issue.

“Participation in sports offers students a number of benefits,” SportsRec suggests . “Sports helps students stay in shape, learn to work as a team, and enhance their attractiveness as college applicants.”

On the other hand, an opinion piece from the New York Times counters, “Competitive sports is not about exercise. If it were, we’d have the fittest kids in the world. It’s about a fantasy with a short shelf life. If we want to build school spirit and teach kids about grit, hold a pep rally for the debate team. Those kids are training to rule the real world.”

As the debate rages on, what are the pros and cons of school sports? 

Those in favor of school-based sports teams and events tend to be rather passionate about the subject, and rightfully so. We Americans love our sports! 

What are some benefits of school sports?

1. One obvious item in the “pro” column is student health . Who can deny that exercise has health benefits? Aside from physical health, there are mental and psychological benefits to regular activity. 

“As the issue of childhood obesity takes on more prominence, sports provide a way for kids to get the exercise needed to stay in shape,” SportsRec weighs in . “It offers students the opportunity to build confidence and leadership skills, and can encourage students to spend time with other students they don’t otherwise associate with. School sports can also be more affordable than those run by outside organizations, giving more students an opportunity to participate.”

Psychology Today also has some insights . “Too many tweens and teens are unable to handle the rigors of school. They are easily overwhelmed and crumble when they do poorly in class. In fact, parents often protect their children from defeat by fiercely advocating for them….Youth sports provide a nice balance since parents can’t protect athletes from defeat and hardship. It’s good for your kids to learn how to both lose and win.”

2. The Public School Review suggests , “Learning to work as a team is an invaluable skill no matter what your age or occupation. Sports are all about working together as a team to accomplish a common goal—winning the game. Not only must students work together, but they also need to learn how to communicate effectively.”

The community and teamwork inherent in sports offer students real-world skills. 

“Kids who play team sports show increased cooperation and teamwork and foster a sense of community.…” explains ActiveKids . “Teammates learn to support each other through good games and bad, something that might be most important during a losing streak.”

3. For many kids, sports are a way to blow off steam, get away from a bad home situation, or even discover themselves . “Football offers kids from difficult economic and social situations a way out,” says Dr. David Gerier . 

Students, especially teenagers, experience a lot of growth and changes. Sometimes they need an anchor, something to focus on, and a way to connect to others. Sports can offer that. 

“Athletics offers teens a physical outlet to exert their troubles, anger, and emotions,” states the Public School Review , “As hormones alter teens’ moods and thoughts, competition fosters an opportunity for teens to interact with fellow peers, coaches, and mentors, while helping them understand their own abilities and talents.”

4. Studies have consistently shown that athletic pursuits and physical exercise can benefit students academically . 

Edsys weighs in on this benefit : “Studies have shown a positive connection between sports activities and improved memory and cognitive functions of the brain. This means that students can perform better in academics if sports are made a part of their routine.”

A recent study by the University of Kansas indicates a link between physical activity and enhanced academic performance, according to the Public School Review . 

“…the results of the study showed that student-athletes had higher GPAs and a 10% higher rate for graduating high school,” notes the Public School Review . “It is unclear exactly how physical activity boosted academic performance, but it could be increased blood flow to the brain.”

5. Playing school sports can teach life lessons . School sports offer students the opportunity to learn and practice traits that will come in handy not only in their immediate school life, but also later on in life.  

Psychology Today agrees . “Combining sports and school requires an ability to self-regulate. Getting to practice on time with the proper equipment helps student-athletes learn to organize themselves and say no to other activities….Learning when to say no is a great skill to carry over to adulthood.”

Edsys notes that sports teach quality life lessons such as mental, physical, and tactical discipline. Students must learn to follow rules and experience practicing restraint. They also have to master obeying the coach and respecting decisions. All of these are good life lessons that can propel them toward real-life success. 

1. School sports dramatically increase the chances of students suffering injuries or other negative sports-related effects . 

Azcentral comments on this : “According to the National Center for Sports Safety, over 3 million children under the age of 14 incur some type of injury as a result of sports. These may occur as a result of practice or a competitive event.”

The fact of the matter is that students are young, and their bodies are still developing. Sports Empire notes , “The rigorous cycle of training, workout, and competitions provide stress to the body, leading to bodily injuries. It’s common for athletes to develop injuries because they tend to overwork their muscles and bones. Impact and trauma also play a huge role in obtaining sports injuries.”

2. School sports is mostly an American phenomenon . Other countries prefer students to focus on their academics. 

“Sports are a big part of American school culture….” the Mountaineer tells us . “In Europe, sports are not tied in with the school….While here, sports play a major role in our education, social life, sometimes even a student’s future.”

With over 50% of students participating in school sports, American schools heavily invest in their athletic departments. Meanwhile, American students are falling behind on the global academic scene , according to Pew Research. 

In the words of The Atlantic , “The United States routinely spends more tax dollars per high-school athlete than per high-school math student—unlike most countries worldwide. And we wonder why we lag in international education rankings?”

3. Many opponents to school sports think they bring the wrong focus to the school atmosphere. 

The New York Times explores this idea , saying, “By mixing sports and academics, we tempt kids into believing that it’s O.K. if they don’t like math or writing — that there is another path to glory. Less obvious is that this path ends abruptly, whereupon they get to spend 50 years in an economy that lavishly rewards those with higher-order skills and ruthlessly punishes those without.”

The Times sees it this way : “Imagine if medical schools dedicated hours of every day (and a chunk of their budgets and staff) to the culinary arts — to perfecting tiered wedding cakes and artisan breads. We could argue that this approach keeps med students from dropping out, but we would sound insane.”

4. Many experts are concerned with the undue emotional and mental pressure that school sports can place on children’s minds, especially in their younger years. 

Psychology Today explains , “The weight of expectations is a crushing burden on the shoulders of young athletes. Imagine your children having to put on a 50-pound weight vest when they enter the field of play and you’ll get a sense of what they feel and how it will make them perform.”

According to Active Kids, when it comes to school sports, most kids start early . By the age of six, 60% of boys and 47% of girls are on a team. Competition, parental pressure, and the desire to please are driving factors for young athletes. Overuse, or pushing their bodies farther than they should, is becoming a common problem.

“An overuse injury is microtraumatic damage to a bone, muscle, or tendon that has been subjected to repetitive stress without sufficient time to heal or undergo the natural reparative process….The incidence of overuse injuries in the young athlete has paralleled the growth of youth participation in sports. Up to 50% of all injuries seen in pediatric sports medicine are related to overuse.” This excerpt from a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics outlines the serious concern that medical professionals have concerning this issue. 

5. Cost is one of the biggest factors that concerned citizens bring up in relation to school sports. In many districts, the spending for athletics exceeds the budget for other school activities, including classroom time. 

A report by Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics found, “Median athletics spending per athlete at institutions in each major athletics conference ranges from 4 to nearly 11 times more than the median spending on education-related activities per student.”

Cost is an issue for students too. The Public School Review points out that some schools require students to buy the uniforms and equipment needed to play. Some families simply can’t afford this. Many concerned citizens think that sports, as a publicly-funded school activity, should be open to all students. U.S. News notes , “Only 30 percent of students in families with annual household incomes of less than $60,000 played school sports, compared with 51 percent of students in families that earned $60,000 or more a year.”

Where We Are

School sports are an incredibly entrenched American institution that will probably not be going anywhere for a while. But, as with many traditions of education, “it’s always been done” isn’t a great reason to include anything in our students’ lives. As we examine the evidence, it’s essential to consider a sensitive topic like this from all angles. To make the best decision for our children, we must set aside our preferences and think objectively. 

After all, isn’t all of this for them?

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IELTS essay, topic: Some people think that sport in schools is a waste of time and resources, while others believe it is a vital part of education (opinion)

  • IELTS Essays - Band 9

This is a model response to a Writing Task 2 topic from High Scorer’s Choice IELTS Practice Tests book series (reprinted with permission). This answer is likely to score IELTS Band 9.

Set 2 Academic book, Practice Test 8

Writing Task 2

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Some people believe that having sport in schools is a waste of time and resources, whilst other people believe that sport in schools is a vital part of education.

Discuss both these views and give your opinion.

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your knowledge or experience.

You should write at least 250 words.

sport should be compulsory in schools essay

In most education systems around the world, physical education is one of the components of the syllabus. However, this is a controversial topic, as it has been argued that sport as a school subject is unnecessary. Opposing this is the view that physical education is a vital aspect of the education.

Physical education was introduced into schools to promote a healthy lifestyle by exposing students to different types of sport and ensuring that those who are not naturally sporty are exposed to exercise and its benefits. For students who are already very active, having a sports lesson might be unnecessary, but those who are not given the opportunities or who are not from active families depend on schools for exercise. Furthermore, a school is supposed to educate on multiple levels, a key aspect of which is healthy living. It is not sufficient to discuss exercise in class; students must experience the effects that ensue. One of these benefits is that exercise enables people to concentrate more efficiently and work more efficiently, meaning that having sport as a subject is beneficial to other subjects as well.

On the other hand, exercise to some degree is a personal matter and forcing students to exercise in class can then have the opposite effect. This feeling can lead to students not pursuing any sports later due to negative experiences and memories connected to it. Another argument is that exercise is a leisure activity and therefore not school-related and should be practiced outside of school.

In conclusion, while negative results can be caused through physical education, it is vital for students to take part in it. Some students are only exposed to a healthy lifestyle in schools and therefore there is a responsibility to educate individuals in this area.

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6 thoughts on “IELTS essay, topic: Some people think that sport in schools is a waste of time and resources, while others believe it is a vital part of education (opinion)”

This is really good as well as it is quite helpful for me. Thank you🌹

I’m so glad this helps! Thank you for your feedback.

I’m glad this helps!

These are helpful. Please evaluate my writing. Question- Today the quality of life in large cities is decreasing. Discuss the causes and solutions. Answer People come to metropolitan cities in search of a better life. However, large towns have now become unfavorable places to live in, due to the fact that, they are over populated. In the following essay, I will discuss the top two challenges that make living in a city difficult; subsequently, I will provide solutions that I assume will help to solve them. The first reason people despise living in a city is the traffic jam; as there are as many cars as there are people, people find it difficult to be punctual. For instance, in Addis Ababa, a person needs to get up very early in the morning, if he or she wishes to get to work or school on time, as there are long queues for public transportation. Even if you are driving, the crowded streets make your morning miserable, killing your time and draining your energy before the day even begins. The second reason is housing. Renting or owning a house is extremely expensive in such cities. Residents allocate more than half of their monthly income on rent, which hinders them from saving as much money as they thought they would, making it unbearable to live in the city.

In my perspective, the following solutions can make humans better tolerate city life. First of all, the government should construct alternative roads and underground train railways. Second, the national government should build condominiums or affordable apartments to tackle the housing shortage. And there should be strict laws against sound and air pollution, especially in residential areas. In a nutshell, I believe if the abide mentioned measures are enacted, it will make living in the city pleasant, affordable, and convenient.

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IELTS Essay: Compulsory sports in school – agree/disagree?

Writing task 2 You should spend 40 minutes on this task. Write about the following topic: Health and fitness levels of children and teenagers are declining these days. Therefore, physical education and sport should be compulsory for all students in all schools. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant example from your own knowledge or experience. Write at least 250 words.

Sample Answer

Most countries across the globe are witnessing an alarming decline in the overall health and fitness levels of school-aged children. Health experts propose that participation in sports and physical education should be mandatory for all able-bodied school students. I completely agree with this idea as this practice will not only develop beneficial exercise habits in students but also mould their personalities.

Sport is a powerful medium which can teach children valuable life lessons. It teaches them concentration, discipline and a good work ethic. We can be successful only if we train hard, stay focused and exercise self-control. Behavioural development in another positive aspect of sports. Students learn how to behave, or how not to behave in defeat. They learn to maintain composure in the face of disappointment, a life skill which is worth mastering. It also improves their ability to recover quickly from setbacks.

Undoubtedly, sport inculcates a competitive spirit but it teaches us restraint too: a player has to stay calm to cope up with the intense pressure to have a chance of winning. This ability can also be very helpful for students in their academic exams. Furthermore, team sports teach children how to work as a team and be respectful to others. Being a ‘team player’ is highly valued by employers and behavioural skills like communication and cooperation not only prepare us for the workplace but for the rest of our lives.

To sum up, sport definitely has a place in the school curriculum. Active participation in school sports will make our children fit and active. They will also learn important life skills. Therefore, the practice of mandatory physical education for all children who are physically able should be introduced.

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Is that required total 5 paras in part 2 that is essay… My tutor said for agree and disagree type essays the format should be like Para 1_Intro and question paraphase Para 2_ passage supporting agree statement Para 3_ same as above Para 4_disgaree statement and Counter statement Para 5_conclusion

Is that mandatory to write it as 5 paras and to include disagree statement even though i agree to the given question

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It depands.

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Ielts exam preparation for a higher band score., games and sports should be made compulsory for students.

IELTS Essay Topic:

Do you believe games and sports should be made compulsory for students? Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience. You should write at least 250 words.

Model Essay: I am quite positive that physical activities and brain teasing games should be made mandatory for students. One of the reasons that I have this opinion is because physical exercise helps students to make better and faster decisions. A related reason is because exercise has an effect on the overall health of the brain. Most physical exercise involves games and other activities that require action, and sometimes performing a task or answering a question.

Sometimes, we participate in activities that require a strong memory and the use of intelligence. For example, games such as puzzles are a good way to start the day. The brain will start to work properly with the aid of these types of games. It will work to full capacity while solving puzzles and will then be ready to move on to something else, like lectures or other academic activities. “A healthy mind is a healthy brain.” This is a quote that we often hear from the elderly. If we immediately start the day with academic activities, it will be difficult for the brain to properly function.

However, if we begin the day with physical exercise, it will be easier for us to switch from enjoyable activities to more serious study. A perfect way to start the day at school would be to begin with 20-30 minutes of physical activity. After participating in some games involving exercise, students will be more relaxed and ready to apply themselves to their studies. They will learn faster and will be able to retain knowledge better.

Just as the body requires physical exercise in order to perform to its optimum level, the brain also benefits from regular physical activity. It is my firm belief that students must give equal importance to the value of the effect that physical exercise has on the brain as well as it does on the body.

[ Written by – Busra Cangut ]

17 thoughts on “ Games and sports should be made compulsory for students ”

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In general, it is believed that being physically fit is good for health, especially for children and teenagers. Hence sports and physical education should be a part of the educational curriculum in all schools. This essay would discuss the pros and cons of it and emphasis on why exercise is very important for children and teenagers.

Introducing physical education and sports into the course is an excellent approach towards creating that habit in the young blood. Having said this, making is compulsory for all can disrupt the purpose. As generally accepted, forcing something to children might make them hate those things the most. Sports and related education can be an optional activity with a merit attached to it. For instance, achievers to get 15 marks bonus in the final mark sheet could be an excellent way to motivate students to take part in physical activities while they are on schools premises. This would not only encourage them but would push them to put in their best at sports also.

Regular exercises not only keep a person fit but also make them confident, energetic and fresh for the rest of the day. It keeps the body flexible and the heart healthy. This would in a way be beneficial during their older years. Besides, team sports teach pupils how to work in a group and achieve a common goal. Furthermore, many sports and games help children develop their cognitive abilities. This is why undoubtedly sports and games should be a part of a complete education in schools.

In conclusion, it is a great idea to exercise regularly. But, to achieve that, compulsion may not be a correct route. Instead, building that willingness and passion for doing well in sports also should be the alternative and that should start tight from the early stages in a person’s life.

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Motivates the children that learn by enjoying.

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Genesis Global School

Why Sports Should Be Made Mandatory for All Students

sports education in India

Weren’t those days the best when children used to play in the park, giggling with happiness and their faces glowing with energy? Nowadays, technology is overpowering the fun time of our children. Video games and smartphones are making them inactive in their daily routine. It not just hampers their overall health but also affects academic performance.

In such a backdrop, sports is one such thing that can aid in offering a holistic development of students. In fact, as per our philosophy, all students should take active participation in sports activities. Sports education in India is now a big thing, and everyone should adopt it as a tool to make students active individuals.

Here are some reasons why sports should be made an integral part of the school’s curriculum:

Teaches Essential Life Skills

Students may learn about the great poets of English Literature or how force is directly proportional to acceleration, but these things won’t teach them essential life skills. They will not learn how to interact with people or feel confident while giving a presentation. However, if they play sports, opportunities to learn these things will knock on their door every day.

While participating in sports, they will get the chance to develop their reactions to a situation and must act quickly by analysing and examining the facts. All such activities tend to improve and build strong life skills that can be of great help in the future. Some common skills that get a boost when students play sports include:

  • Social Skills
  • Self-Esteem
  • Strong Memory

Improves Academic Performance

‘ How sports benefits education ?’ – This is one of the most common questions that parents ask when we talk about sports in school. Well, studies have suggested that physical activities play a vital role in the development of the brain. Sports not only reduce stress but also lead to improved creativity and better concentration power among students which automatically is reflected in their academic performance.

If students constantly focus on studying and do not involve themselves in stress-busting activities, it can affect their academic performance and also exhaust their mind.

Boosts Health

Modern day’s lifestyle has made our kids inactive. They are so used to comfort that even picking up the TV remote seems a big task for them. Such inactiveness and sluggish behaviour leads to health issues – with obesity topping the list.

By playing sports, students can achieve a healthy lifestyle that further improves their overall health and maintains body weight too.

Bigger Opportunities

While many people still don’t understand what is sports education , we at Genesis Global School realise its potential and help our scholars make most of the available opportunities. Be it Delhi Olympic Games, Jaypee Open Tennis Tournament or Fox Golf Junior Tournament; our scholars have participated in various national and international tournaments.

To name one such achievement , our talented scholar Samayara Panwar recently achieved the first rank in Under 13 Girls Badminton and will now receive training from National Badminton Coach, Gopichand. Safe to say, sports not only improve students’ health but also offers them golden opportunities to achieve success in life.

“Play a sport. It will teach you how to win honourably, lose gracefully, respect authority, work with others, manage your time and stay out of trouble.”

Whoever said these words certainly understood why sports education is important . At our school premises, we offer a wide range of sports activities to cater to the diverse interests of our scholars. We offer world-class facilities in 21 different games and sports such as shooting, horse riding, fencing, golf, football and others. To know more, visit our campus soon.

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Why Sports Should Be Made Compulsory In School

beatc 1 / 1   Sep 24, 2012   #1 You have been asked to write an article entitled "Why Sports Should Be Made Compulsory In Schools" for your College bulletin. Using information from the two reading passages, write an article of about 300 - 400 words to support your views. Include three main ideas with supporting details in your article. Nowadays, sports are very important as education itself. Deputy Prime of Malaysia, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin suggested that the education policy need to be revised in order to give importance to sports. This is to ensure that the students are able to excel in academics as well as in sports. Unfortunately, most students care less toward sports which in turn will lead to the cause of indiscipline in school. Nonetheless, sports should be made compulsory in schools at all cost. First and foremost, sports can help to develop not just physically but mentally as well. Sports consist of various types of vigorous activities ranging from the traditional like jogging to new modern favorites such as skateboarding. All of these activities are able to remove unwanted toxins from the body through increasing the circulation of blood, boosting metabolism and so on (Robert S. Griffin, 2010). With a healthy body, come with a healthy mind as well. When students engage in sports actively, they are able to develop a sense of increased alertness (Kyra Nova, 2008). This, in return can stimulate the brain and help students in their studies. Besides that, sports can cultivate the importance of cooperativeness among students. Nonis (2005) stated that children will be more ready when they learn the importance of cooperating with their friends. This can help to overcome their shyness and be extravert to their surrounding, which is essential for their future. Hence, in order to emphasize the importance of cooperativeness, students should be motivated to participate in team sports (Stern, Bradley, Prince & Stroh, 2003). Furthermore, having sports compulsory can increase the possibility of getting college sponsorship. It is very difficult for some students who come from the lower income families to continue their education due to low financial problem. However, students who participate in sports can give them a chance to further their studies through scholarships sponsored by few of well known college. Though, not every is into sports and not sports-minded (Robert S. Griffin, 2010). Nonetheless, sports are indeed, can help those who are needed to be able to afford their education. In a nutshell, sports should be made compulsory in school. Without sports, students will become unhealthy, introvert, individualistic and so on. In addition, discipline problems will arise among students when there is no focus on sports in school. Therefore, sports are necessary for development and the better future of student

Murko 2 / 3   Sep 25, 2012   #2 When I strated reading your essay, I liked the way being. However, in 2nd para and thereafter I found too many quotes. First of all, I am not sure whether they are correct.. second of all, I do not want to verify it. There might be an evaluator like me... so it would be good to make your own argument keeping only few quotes where it is absolutrly needed. Though, not every one is into sports and not sports-minded (Robert S. Griffin, 2010). Nonetheless, sports are indeed, can help those who are needed to be able to afford their education. Your idea is good and am sure, couple of more posts, you will improve considerably.

OP beatc 1 / 1   Sep 25, 2012   #3 Thank you for your feedback. I really appreciated it!!! Sorry, i forgot to post the reference list. Anyway, I just need feed-backs about my essay whether there is something wrong with or not. I'm happy that you like it. Once again, thanks!

sport should be compulsory in schools essay

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It Is Generally Accepted That Exercise Is Good For Children And Teenagers

by Manjusha Nambiar · Published June 8, 2023 · Updated March 8, 2024

It is generally accepted that exercise is good for children and teenagers. Therefore, physical education and sport should be compulsory for all students in all schools. What do you think?

Here is a band 9 IELTS essay on this topic written by one of our students. Need help with IELTS writing? Get your IELTS essays, letters and reports corrected by me.

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Some people insist that physical education should be an integral part of all school programs because exercise is beneficial for children and adolescents. I agree with this view.

Children, these days, lead a sedentary life. They spend a lot of time in front of computers or television and hardly ever flex a muscle. Consequently, lifestyle ailments such as obesity and diabetes are common even among young people. If physical education is made a compulsory part of education, this situation will change and children will have to get physically active. This will not only improve their overall health but also help them achieve higher grades. Studies have shown that physical activity boosts brain function in both children and adults. Consequently, physically active children tend to be more alert. Their concentration levels and overall sense of wellbeing are high and hence they tend to do well in their studies. They are also less likely to fall ill or miss school days.

Making physical activity a mandatory part of school curriculum also helps children overcome boredom. Learning subjects like science or mathematics for hours on end can be boring even for the most studious student. If they get to play a sport like football or badminton for an hour or so after spending hours in the classroom, they will definitely enjoy it. There is yet another advantage to making sports a part of school programs. Some children have a natural talent for sports and athletics. If spotted early, this talent can be honed more easily. While most children will only gain recreation and health from playing a sport, some of them will be able to build a career out of it.

In short, there are several benefits to making sports and exercise a compulsory part of education. It compels children to be physically active, improves their overall health and fitness and even benefits their academic performance.

Do you have an essay on this topic? Submit it below in the comments for a free band score estimate.

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sport should be compulsory in schools essay

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Sport Should Be Compulsory In School. To What Extent Do You Agree Or Disagree?

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COMMENTS

  1. Sports Should Be Compulsory For All Students In All Schools

    Here is a band 7.5 IELTS essay on this topic submitted by one of our students. ... By making physical education and sports compulsory in schools, the government can encourage students to engage in physical activity which will benefit them in the long run.

  2. IELTS Essay # 1403

    It is widely acknowledged that exercise is beneficial for the youth in various ways, including promoting physical health, fostering social skills, and enhancing cognitive development. Therefore, I firmly agree that physical education and sports should be compulsory for all students in schools. In this essay, I will elucidate the reasons behind ...

  3. Does competitive sport in school do more harm than good?

    The incentive to win gives students the motivation for taking part in the physical activity or games, says Chris Tully, head of PE at a secondary school in west Yorkshire. It's a belief shared ...

  4. Sport Should Be Compulsory In School

    Discuss both views and give your opinion. Some individuals argue in favour of incarcerating all criminals, while others believe that more effective alternatives exist for people with minor offences. In this essay, I will explore both perspectives and express my opinion, which aligns with the latter viewpoint. 7.

  5. Physical Education And Sports Should Be Compulsory For All Students

    For these reasons physical education and sport should be compulsory in all educational institutions for every student. In conclusion, exercising is an important factor in one's life. This essay discussed the various benefits of exercise for both children and teenagers and explained why physical sport and exercise should be included ...

  6. The Importance Of Sports In Schools

    This is an important argument because it can change lives and has both positive and negative effects on young athletes. Sports should remain in schools for many reasons. The most significant of these include exercise, friendships and teamwork, and academics. Exercise is vital to the health of all animals, including humans, and sports provide ...

  7. Why Make Sport Compulsory at School?

    Sports professionals, such as AOC president John Coates, advocate the introduction of compulsory sport (excluding PE lessons) in schools, claiming that the lack of emphasis on sport in the curriculum contributed to the disappointing performance of Australian athletes in the 2012 Olympics. However making School Sport compulsory is not about creating great athletes. It's about making sport…

  8. Should Schools Suspend Sports? The Debate Is Getting More Tense

    The Debate Is Getting More Tense. Debates are roiling across the country over the role that high school sports should play as schools reopen during the coronavirus pandemic. Decisions handed down ...

  9. Pros and Cons of School Sports

    5. Playing school sports can teach life lessons. School sports offer students the opportunity to learn and practice traits that will come in handy not only in their immediate school life, but also later on in life. Psychology Today agrees. "Combining sports and school requires an ability to self-regulate.

  10. IELTS essay, topic: Some people think that sport in schools is a waste

    Some people believe that having sport in schools is a waste of time and resources, whilst other people believe that sport in schools is a vital part of education. Discuss both these views and give your opinion. Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your knowledge or experience. You should write at least 250 words.

  11. IELTS Essay Compulsory sports in school

    To sum up, sport definitely has a place in the school curriculum. Active participation in school sports will make our children fit and active. They will also learn important life skills. Therefore, the practice of mandatory physical education for all children who are physically able should be introduced. Feel free to call for suggestions and ...

  12. Sport Should Be Compulsory In School

    Sport is becoming more and more popular discussion topic among the public, which argues whether it is important lesson for young learners in school. So, should it be obligotary for pupils in the curricullum or should we remove the lesson anytime soon? I completely agree that physical education lessons should be compulsory in schools, answering on this question | Band: 5

  13. Games and sports should be made compulsory for students

    Model Essay: I am quite positive that physical activities and brain teasing games should be made mandatory for students. One of the reasons that I have this opinion is because physical exercise helps students to make better and faster decisions. A related reason is because exercise has an effect on the overall health of the brain.

  14. Why Sports Should Be Made Mandatory for All Students

    In fact, as per our philosophy, all students should take active participation in sports activities. Sports education in India is now a big thing, and everyone should adopt it as a tool to make students active individuals. Here are some reasons why sports should be made an integral part of the school's curriculum: Teaches Essential Life Skills

  15. Why Sports Should Be Made Compulsory In School

    Nonetheless, sports should be made compulsory in schools at all cost. First and foremost, sports can help to develop not just physically but mentally as well. Sports consist of various types of vigorous activities ranging from the traditional like jogging to new modern favorites such as skateboarding. All of these activities are able to remove ...

  16. Sports should be compulsory in school

    Band 8. Sports should be compulsory in school. To what extent do you agree or disagree. # sports # school. Being physical is an essential component of good health which is why most people often debate whether play should be part of. school. basic programs. I completely agree with the above statement and will discuss my reasons for taking that ...

  17. It Is Generally Accepted That Exercise Is Good For Children And

    Most of the schools do not appoint sport counselors. Hence, a child's confidence may get impacted permanently if not addressed by the counselors. Hence to encourage a child's well being both mentally and physically and prepare him or her for a healthy future, physical education and sport should definitely be made compulsory in all schools ...

  18. Sport at School Should Not Be Compulsory Free Essay Example

    Views. 6429. Sport at school should NOT be compulsory. Sports training and PE take up time that could be better spent learning other subjects, and PE and Sport are not as important as other subjects like maths, science etc. It is also my belief that it students should have the right to choose whether or not we do sport/PE, because we are ...

  19. Why Sports Should Be Made Compulsory in School?

    Nonetheless, sports are indeed, can help those who are needed to be able to afford their education. In a nutshell, sports should be made compulsory in school. Without sports, students will become unhealthy, introvert, individualistic and so on. In addition, discipline problems will arise among students when there is no focus on sports in school.

  20. PDF Argumentative essay on sports should be compulsory in schools

    Aside from these essential skills for success, having compulsory sports can also promote social interaction among students across all ages and backgrounds—making schools more inclusive places for everyone. Physical activity is beneficial for both physical health and mental well-being. Studies have shown that regular exercise promotes better ...

  21. Sport Should Be Compulsory In School

    having. a nice condition for their hearts. In conclusion, nowadays whether. sport. should be compulsory in. school. or not remains a controversial issue, however. , I completely agree with the statement that having a.

  22. Sport Should Be Compulsory at School

    If sport was compulsory at every school, students would be healthy, active and have more concentration at school. They wouldn't be sitting down doing work the whole day, but they would go out and play sport. They will have a break from work and have fun running around and playing sport. Then everybody would be healthy and fit.

  23. Why Should Sports Be Compulsory For All Students?

    In such a milieu, sports is one of the few things that can offer holistic development to students. De facto, based on our philosophy, we believe that all students should participate in sports activities. Sports education in India is the need of the hour. Therefore, every school must embrace it as an instrument to make students active individuals.

  24. School Uniform Should not Be Compulsory

    In conclusion, school uniforms should not be made compulsory as they stifle individuality, hinder creativity, and impede self-expression. They do not guarantee improved academic performance or discipline and can inadvertently perpetuate social inequality.