A typical pupil in an independent school will do a minimum of two-and-a-half hours of sport a week in school hours, double that of the average state school pupil. This could easily double if the pupil plays in a school team with extra time spent training and playing outside school hours. A pupil who was particularly keen on sport could end up spending 10 hours a week on it.
But even the independent sector no longer offers an undiluted diet of team games. Minor sports, such as volleyball and table tennis, are on offer, as are aerobics and dance.
Hampton School in west London, a school for 920 boys with an excellent reputation for sport, has nearly one-third of its pupils either playing in competitive matches or rowing on any weekend.
Most of its competitors are from the independent sector but it also faces stiff opposition from a handful of state schools who, according to the headteacher, Graham Able, take sport seriously. All the staff are expected to contribute to the extra-curricular programme, whether it be sport, music, drama or some other activity.
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