What will be 2019’s landmark sporting events at your school?
We always look forward to hosting one of our sports tournaments for the International School Sports Association (ISSA). Last year we hosted a two-day golf tournament. This year we will host the annual girls’ basketball tournament. Teams travel to London from all over Europe to participate. 2019 will also see our school joining a new international school sports organisation, the International School Athletics Association (ISAA). We are lucky to be a part of two highly competitive organisations focused on friendly competition and cultural exchanges.
What are your goals for the year?
Over the past few years, we have worked to increase participation in our extracurricular sports programmes. We wanted to be able to run a minimum of two teams per sport offered. Having met that goal, we are now focused on sustaining numbers and eventually increasing our sport offerings. Our girls are focused and committed. Their tireless efforts have yielded amazing outcomes internationally.
Tell us about any sporting trips planned and their hoped-for outcomes?
Marymount London girls enjoy a broad range of sporting opportunities, competing locally and around the globe. This year, our grade 6 to 8 students will travel to Rome to participate in an annual three-day sports competition against schools from our RSHM Global Network, including Paris, Bogota, New York, and Rome. As members of ISSA and the ISAA, our high school teams participate in end-of-season tournaments in Barcelona, Lisbon, Madrid, Scotland, Austria, the Netherlands and London. These experiences provide wonderful opportunities for our girls to experience different cultures, and compete in supportive environments.
How do you see PE and school sport contributing to wellbeing in your school?
Sports and physical education are integral components of a well-rounded Marymount London education. The original mission of the RSHM was to support girls as they grow; mentally, spiritually, and physically. As a committed IB school, our students learn the importance of perseverance, teamwork, and respect, while enjoying a wide range of opportunities for friendly competition. We are devoted to helping each student establish life-long, healthy habits, which focus on a commitment to exercise and fitness, nutrition, body image and self-reflective practices.
What do you see as the current challenges of providing high quality PE and sport?
Teaching in an all-girl school can provide a variety of challenges, especially in terms of physical education participation. In the UK, there is a need for a varied and diverse curriculum where girls feel challenged and supported. Often, girls come to us out of primary school with anxiety about physical education. They have been made to feel as if they are failures because they are not the fastest or sportiest student. Our departmental mission is to change the culture of girls’ sports, helping all girls to feel a sense of accomplishment and empowerment in their ability. Thankfully, through a balanced IB curriculum of dance and sports, and an established extracurricular programme, our girls learn to embrace their strengths, work on their weaknesses, and ultimately feel inspired to achieve.
Lauren Gregory is athletic director at Marymount International School London