A London independent school has announced that all pupils are to be offered access to all sports, regardless of gender.
The gender-neutral sporting model will be introduced at St Dunstan’s College, Catford, from September.
“Gender cannot be a barrier to any individual getting access to a sport they love,” said Rebecca Watkins, director of sport. “Sport that falls within curriculum time must provide equal opportunities for all pupils and therefore every student will get access to rugby, netball, football, cricket, swimming and hockey.”
The new policy will build upon, rather than diminish, the competitive element of its sports offering, insisted the school.
“We will continue to promote our existing competitive programmes that we hold in such high regard,” continued Watkins. “We believe that opportunity for all will not only support our existing provision, it will continue to push it from strength to strength.”
Traditional constructs of sport, sex and gender risk reinforcing stereotypes, and subconscious and conscious bias and prejudice – Nicholas Hewlett, head, St Dunstan’s
Her words were echoed by the head of St Dunstan’s, Nicholas Hewlett, who added: “Traditional constructs of sport, sex and gender risk reinforcing stereotypes, and subconscious and conscious bias and prejudice.”
Daniel Gower, assistant head co-curricular at the school, said the school has been moving towards “a more inclusive approach” to sports for the last six years.
He said: “The sporting landscape has quite rightly changed, and schools have a responsibility to lead the way.
“The curriculum has to prioritise sport for all, with every child, regardless of ability and gender, benefitting from the same opportunities; positive early experiences for the many, and not the just the few, leading to lifelong participation in sport and physical activity for all.”
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