Former GB triple jumper Connie Henry posed a pertinent question in the Sunday Times on 14th October 2018 – Is it too much to ask that in a country like ours, each primary school should have at least one PE teacher?
In deciding on a school for Christian, Henry explored the options in her corner of Buckinghamshire. Financially, the local state primary would have suited her just fine. “It is a very good school and gets good results,” she says. “On the open day I was impressed by pretty much everything but was curious to find out what the school did for the sporting needs of its pupils. ‘One of the dads does football after school, which is proving very popular’,” I was told.
Connie also visited Chesham Preparatory School, an independent where the annual fees begin at £9,270 (nursery) and rise to £14,400 (Years 7 & 8). Chesham has a full-sized sports hall, two hockey pitches and football, rugby and cricket pitches. It employs four full-time physical education teachers and the school is committed to seeing that every pupil plays one team game weekly from Year 3 onwards.
From the time Christian was born, Connie was determined not to stereotype him. Maybe he would dislike sports and if he did, that would be fine. From when he was two she saw it. He loved all forms of sports. Then there was her own life and the PE teacher who helped to shape it. The appeal of Chesham’s PE teachers and all those facilities was irresistible.
“My husband and I sat down and worked it out,” she says. “If he could do more shifts at his job and we could make lots of cuts we would be able to do it.” Christian is now in nursery class at Chesham Prep School and has two PE classes per week.