Some of the more frequently asked question from prospective parents with boys since we announced Knighton House was becoming a coeducational school, have been around our provision of sport when boys arrive: ‘Will boys be playing sports with the girls? Will you have mixed teams? Will boys and girls play the same sports?’
My answer to all the questions have been emphatically that coeducation at Knighton House will mean coeducation in the broadest sense in and out of the classroom. We will embrace coaching boys and girls together and support putting out mixed teams against other schools (when post pandemic times finally allow) whilst accepting participation in some regional and national competitions will continue to be gender specific.
Our boys and girls should feel they have just as much right as each-other to play cricket, hockey, football, netball and/or rugby and to be selected in the same school teams together. By sending out the message to the wider community that there is absolutely equality of opportunity for boys and girls for sport participation and selection for teams at Knighton, we believe this is the right way.
In a competitive sporting sense, boys and girls can learn a great deal off each-other. Having them playing on the same pitch will strengthen their understanding of one another’s strengths and weaknesses and show them how alike they are. As coaches we need to get the best out of any children we are coaching regardless of gender.
We already believe in a ‘sport for all’ approach so having boys join teams will be a natural extension of this. Various schools’ associations – like the Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS) and The Independent Schools Association (ISA) – confirm that mixed teams are on the rise and that interest is growing. According to Fran Hide, Sports Event Coordinator at IAPS, “we’re getting more and more enquiries”. The ISA is opening up more sports to mixed gender teams and introducing new events like an U.10 rugby festival that includes a mixed gender touch rugby competition.
Fran Hide at IAPS foresees a time when mixed teams for a range of sports and age groups will increasingly become the norm. Local prep schools to us already play a mixture of mixed teams as well as girls and boys only teams. We will be looking to secure mixed team fixtures with our local schools wherever possible whilst accepting there may still be the necessity to put out gender specific teams.
The answers to all three questions is most emphatically a yes.
Gender will not matter. What counts is the player’s interest, enthusiasm and attitude to improve. Having talent is one thing, but how they work hard and commit to training and demonstrate they can compete will be the deciding factors whether they play or not. Coeducation for Knighton House will mean boys and girls playing on the sports pitches as equals and as competitors together.
— Written by Mr Robin Gainher, Headmaster —