Comment: "Competitive sport is a necessity, not an option"

Following Sir Michael Wilshaw's announcement today, Jo Robinson, Sports Enrichment Advisor for the David Ross Education Trust, said:
"The David Ross Education Trust's philosophy is that sport has the power to motivate, engage and inspire students. These are values that are at the very core of any outstanding education, which is why competitive sport should be seen as a necessity, not an option.
"Within our network of 25 primary and secondary academies we provide the opportunity for lots of sporting competition. We use the house system and inter-house tournaments as the foundation block, which then develops through local fixtures, Trust-wide events and our All-Stars programme of elite fixtures for the most talented young people.   
"But opportunity means nothing if you don't remove barriers to ensure that more and more students want to take part. Where lessons can be learnt from the independent sector is the profile that sport has in daily school life. How you promote and celebrate sporting achievement and engagement is critical – you simply can't measure success on the number of fixtures a school has.  
"The Trust has developed a programme called Play Your Part. Through rewards programmes, inspirational athlete visits, and making sporting achievement a pinnacle in a child's school life, it provides a platform to recognise both those students who excel and those students who put in the effort to try new sports and activities. 
"On the back of this not only have we seen sporting participation increase and more trophies being won, there has been a correlation in improvement in GCSE performance."
Across the Trust's network of secondary academies, GCSE performance has improved by an average of 14 percentage points since the start of the 2011/2012 academic year, as the number of students obtaining 5 GCSEs at A*-C including maths and English has risen from an average of 52% to 66%. Nationally GCSE results have remained consistent over the same period.
"Whilst it would be incorrect to say that this improvement was solely down to sport, it can not be ignored that there is a link between our improved sporting participation and exam success. It would be fair to say that the motivation, self-confidence and self discipline that young people get from being part of a sporting team have supported other enhancements that are being made in our academies."