The Swanbourne Spirit: Evolving Sport
“Perseverance in sport is key – and we teach that to all our pupils” explains Mr Paul Burton-Pye, Director of Sport at Swanbourne House.
“Persevering, as both an individual and as part of a team, is what drives both personal and sporting success. The exposure we can give to such a wide range of sports and activities means each child can discover their physical strengths and talents, whilst developing mental and physical resilience.”
Mr Burton-Pye joined Swanbourne House in September last year, and has been hard at work in taking steps to drive forward sporting excellence at the school. Mr Burton-Pye has 25 years teaching experience and achieved a number of nationally recognised coaching badges.
He has played numerous sports at different levels and his current passion is ultra-marathons and Ironman. “I believe in a positive, dynamic and energetic approach to the teaching of sport at Swanbourne. We’re creating a stimulating learning environment that celebrates the achievements of every individual and enables them to reach their full potential in all aspects of their development. We have a competitive approach but it’s not a ‘win at all cost’ mentality, my approach is this – if you’re more skilful than your opponents, you should win, if you’re fitter than your opponents, you should win.
If we don’t win we congratulate the other team, we’re gracious in defeat. We go away, reflect, improve and come back stronger and hungrier – winning and losing are life skills and we teach our students how to deal with both equally.”
The facilities at Swanbourne include a cricket pitch with pavilion, a 20m indoor pool, all weather tennis and netball courts, astro-turf hockey pitches, a dance and gymnastics studio, football pitches, indoor basketball courts, indoor and outdoor cricket nets, a rugby pitch and a 6 hole golf course.
The extensive sporting facilities are complimented by a talented and experienced Sports Department that takes in both permanent full time teachers and professional coaches that come in to teach specific sports. There are external coaches for rugby, netball, cricket, football and hockey in lessons, and opportunities for specialist additional coaching in tennis, golf, swimming, fencing amongst others in clubs and enrichment programmes.
The sporting calendar is traditional in terms of summer and winter sports, however with the facilities and coaching opportunities available, most sports are played in some capacity all year round – not just in their traditional season.
Although sport is taken seriously, enjoyment is vital for Mr Burton-Pye.
“We have a broad range of sporting activities on offer and we ensure they are all done in an enjoyable environment that allows all children to develop an interest and enthusiasm for sport that will carry with them throughout their life. The rationale around this broad selection of activities is based not only on the school’s aims but around published research that suggests variety, not specialisation, is the most beneficial approach to children’s sporting and physical development.”