Choosing whether to send your child to an independent or a state funded school is a difficult choice for any parent. There are many factors to take into consideration, not least of which is the cost involved with independent schools, but one of the main advantages offered by these schools is the long history and traditions of sporting excellence and as such the sporting facilities that reflect this. In an age when parents are increasingly concerned with the lifestyles and health of their children, these facilities combined with the culture of encouraging sporting success, can be a huge factor in the final decision on where their child should be educated.
The sporting success of independent schools at producing world class athletes has been highlighted in recent years with the success of privately educated athletes at the Olympics. In Beijing over 50% of Team GB's medals came from athletes educated at independent schools meaning that despite just 7% of the UK population being privately educated, they equated to over half the total medals. This trend was again apparent at the recent London Olympics with nearly 50% of the gold medallists being an independently educated athlete.
For Scottish athletes specifically this figure is slightly more balanced but again the trend of sporting success for independently educated athletes was reflected in that, while fewer than 5% of Scottish children are being educated at independent schools throughout Scotland, 30% of the Scottish medallists in London were (including triple gold medallist Chris Hoy).
While many may decry this disparity in sporting achievement, and should attempt to address this imbalance by improving sport in public schools, it is a clear indicator of the sporting benefits currently offered by independent schools in Scotland.
Although these statistics only highlight the benefits at the very top end of sporting achievement, in general independent schools (by offering a wide range of sports, the best facilities and passionate coaching) encourage children to reach there sporting potential at whatever level that may be. Most independent Schools will have their own indoor sports halls, Astro Turf pitches, football, rugby, cricket and hockey pitches. Many can also have their own swimming pools and some, even their own golf courses.
There are currently 104 independent schools in Scotland all of which can offer a whole range of facilities.
If you are interested in sending your child to an independent school in Scotland, most offer information on facilities, courses and fees online but make sure you also take advantage of open days and fully explore your options.