It is amazing where the game of football can be found.
This week our senior students have been competing in the annual ISST Football tournament. Teams from around Europe have joined to compete and enjoy each other’s company; an example of how football can bring people together. While in Ypres/Ieper yesterday with the Year 9 Battlefields Trip I saw a football in the excellent In Flander’s Fields Museum. This ball had been given to British troops to kick over no man’s land which their commanders believed would be ground over which they would stroll or enjoy a kickabout rather than fight at a time when even football could do little to bring the nations together.
The British approach to education gives weight to the experiences that students have outside of the classroom almost as much as the lessons they experience within. The term co-curricular is one that we here at the BSP have become more familiar with. The idea that what we learn though competition and co-operation cannot be relegated to being an extra, it runs alongside the taught, formal curriculum. If we are to be successful in our aim to shape well-rounded, capable young people then this is an important experience and the School offers many opportunities both sporting and otherwise We acknowledge the importance of what was once a “hidden curriculum”; the lessons of being part of a squad, learning to win and to lose and beginning to appreciate the lifelong bonds fostered by membership of team or orchestra or dramatic company. As Headmaster I hope that every student gives themselves the opportunity to take part. Whilst we should play sport to win, no-one actually loses in the long run if we accept that it is the experience that counts.
Tomorrow a dedicated group of parents will take to the Junior School pitches and will run football sessions. Today I had the pleasure of seeing our students supporting others playing soccer in Bougival and I like others was eagerly awaiting news from our team playing in Surrey. Yesterday I was with students looking at an artefact in a museum describing a period in history that we would do well not to forget. Johan Cruyff perhaps summed this up most succinctly when he said: “It’s like everything else in football – and life. You need to look, you need to think, you need to find space, you need to help others. It’s very simple in the end.”
We should remember that and we will remember them.