The Importance of Sharing Sports Facilities

Several times in recent weeks I have read that independent school partnerships are ‘just about sharing sports facilities’. I think I know what those who say this mean – they know of and seek much more varied and deeper partnerships like the many we have around Bolton. But language matters and that sharing for sport is far from a ‘just’ – it makes a real difference to young people and it matters.

At a time when we celebrate athletic success on a world scale there have been renewed calls for physical literacy across schools. That requires expertise, space and time, which is exactly what is achieved by, amongst others, the Bolton Sports Alliance. This group (Bolton School, University, Arena, Bolton Wanderers Community Trust, the Anderton Centre and the Lads and Girls Club] are all interested in advancing physical literacy and use their expertise, contacts and facilities so that the young people of Bolton can thrive. Our own fields host the town rugby and football competitions, the Alliance organises the town cross country and many primary schools use contacts from the group to provide expertise in PE lessons.

Just sharing facilities meant that some schools who could not manage swimming lessons did. It meant that a school sports day that could not have happened did happen. It meant that primary school children without a field to run on could do so. This month it has meant a new home for our local hockey club, with many more young people involved in another form of physical literacy.

So whilst we reach for the next stages of deepening partnerships, let us never put a ‘just’ in front of keeping young people active and interested in sport with the attitudes to life and health that brings. It matters to our future more than we can possibly imagine.

About Philip Britton

Philip Britton is the Head of Foundation of Bolton School. He was brought up on Tyneside, took a first in physics at Oxford and did teacher training at Cambridge. He worked as physics teacher, Head of Physics and Deputy Head at Leeds Grammar School before moving to Bolton in 2008. In 2010 he was awarded an MBE for services to physics and is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics where he has been much involved in physics education, encouraging teachers to encourage the next generation of physicists. Follow at X: @Philip_Britton | View X/Twitter archive | Listen at: Exploring Bolton School | Social Mobility, Leadership & Future School Thinking | Strategic School Leadership with Philip Britton | Strategic School Leadership with Philip Britton