I’ve got a bit of a bee in my bonnet. In my Utopian society everyone would be equal and we would live in a true meritocracy. It saddens me that children are denied opportunities because of money. As a comprehensive teacher I am fully aware of both material and cultural deprivation. I like to think that inequality stops the minute a child enters their state school. There have been attempts to address this gap in Education there is a pupil premium that provides extra financial support to some children. If only throwing some money at a problem would help alleviate the gap. However we all know it takes more than money alone – but hey it is a starting point.
However I have realised that the inequality of opportunity is rife in sport too. I have a teenager who is naturally very sporty, she plays all sports going and has the injuries to prove that! Her comprehensive school put her forward for district hockey. She was selected and we were thrilled for her. I was a little surprised to find out I had to pay for the training sessions – but didn’t mind. However I remembered when I played for the district team there was no cost. The teen performed well and has now been selected for the county squad. A great achievement for her and her sports teachers. Little did I realise that this meant I would now be required to pay for more training, a hoody that is personalised and a hockey shirt that is again personalised. We can afford this but I wondered if there are others, just as talented as my daughter, others that show potential but would be put off with the costs associated. Chloe now has her eye on being selected for the regional team – I wonder what this would cost? Obviously they are hidden costs and I am sure Hockey is not the only sport to have these costs.
When you look at the socioeconomic makeup of girls that have been selected, Chloe is one of the few from the state school sector. Most of her teammates are from the private schools. This again highlights the inequalities in sports – especially at county level. I have no problem with private schooling and when I was a school girl it was much the same. I was one of the minority coming from a comprehensive school. I am just surprised that it hasn’t changed much. It seems to me that there needs to be more done for state school students to gain access to higher levels of sport.
The Olympic legacy promised more access to sports and I can’t see where this is happening in Education for the masses.