Sedbergh School is a non-selective boarding school of 560 pupils on the boundary between the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks. Long associated with excellence on the rugby pitch, 2017-18 saw the School realise its ambition to reach the highest levels of participation and excellence across the widest range of sports and activities.
Our starting point is a philosophical commitment to developing the whole spectrum of human character; embracing intellectual, physical, creative, socio-cultural and spiritual characteristics. Sport plays an important role in this that transcends the concept of school “games”.
At its heart, the Sedbergh sport programme draws on the premise that the greatest satisfaction in life is derived from achievements secured in the face of adversity. Thus, our location amidst the Howgill Fells provides us with endless opportunities for mountain running which blends physical exertion with spectacular vistas; every member of staff is involved in our running programme.
In the same way, we recognise that a healthy attitude to competition is an essential part of our educational offering. Pupils have the opportunity to compete at every level; individually amongst themselves, between Houses, with other schools and on the national stage.
Thirdly, sport at Sedbergh instils a lifelong passion. This is achieved through the network of social opportunities presented within our sporting offering, rather than lectures about the importance of physical activity and health. Colourful participatory events are a regular feature of our sporting calendar and often involve parents, staff and the community; the Morgan Run features the country’s top fell-runners alongside pupils’ pet dogs.
The School has never been more successful in its endeavours. ISI inspectors reported that “pupils self-knowledge, self-esteem, self-confidence and resilience are exceptionally well-developed” and that the “extra-curricular programme is instrumental in developing this.” More pupils represented the School in 2017-18 than in any previous year with 85% competing for Sedbergh against other Schools in 36 sports.
The School excelled in national competitions in 2017-18, winning the Daily Mail Rugby championships, Rosslyn Park Rugby 7’s (U18 & U16), the national T20 cricket championship (U18 & U15), national target shooting championships, riding, running and golf championships. Teams have been finalists in national athletics, hockey, netball and riding championships; and won gold medals in national taekwondo championships. Twenty-two pupils represented their countries, 54 their county and four pupils progressed into professional sports contracts on leaving the School.
In addition to providing for its own pupils, Sedbergh School provides facilities and coaching to local primary and secondary Schools; our coaches lead sports clubs in the town and grounds staff prepare local playing fields. During the summer, 900 children participated in sports courses led by world class coaches such as Dean Macey, Hannah Mcleod and Crista Cullen. This year the School opened the Hirst Sports Centre, its first significant sporting investment since 1993. This will enhance the opportunities open to our pupils but serves also to reinforce the fact that our success has been won through strength of character largely forged in the rain on Cumbrian hills.
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