‘More Olympic medal winners from state schools’

The BBC is reporting that the proportion of Team GB medal winners who were state-school educated has grown since London 2012, according to an education charity.

Just under a third (32%) of Team GB’s medal winners went to private school, down from 36% four years ago, suggests analysis by the Sutton Trust.

The new generation of state-educated athletes is challenging private school dominance, says the charity.

Sutton Trust chairman Sir Peter Lampl described the findings as “fantastic”.

The Sutton Trust, which campaigns to increase social mobility through education, analysed the school background both of medal winners and Team GB members overall.

Fewer than a third of the 130 Team GB medallists at the Rio Olympics attended fee-paying schools.

While the 13 most successful Olympians – those who won multiple medals at Rio – were more likely to come from state schools, says the charity.

More at: ‘More Rio medal winners were state-school educated’

What do you think? Was Rio 2016 a triumph for social mobility in education? Does going to private success give young athletes the best chance of success? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or via Twitter ~ Jon

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  1. Team’ GB’s success could be by a number of factors including the ‘post home nation Olympics effect’ as well as nurturing talent wherever it’s found (albeit rather ad hoc via Lottery grants which depend on a committee deciding which athletes and sports to support).
    The ‘superiority’ of independent schools depended on opportunity and funding: the ‘top’ private schools are likely to have far superior facilities than state ones.  Pupils are also more likely to board – this makes it easier for them to train (no travelling time, for example).
    If GB is serious about the Olympic legacy it means ensuring all pupils, talented or not, have opportunities to do sports (and I included physically demanding activities such as dance).  But cash-strapped councils are closing leisure centres, pools etc.  Even the Don Valley track where Jessica Ennis-Hill trained is to shut.
    Sporting prowess needs investment – that’s declining.  Shame.

  2. Alan OSullivan

    300 swimming pools currently threatened with closure; school playing fields still being sold off; regional advisory health services also targeted with council cuts. 

    When our Olympians return to reality and see how our facilities are increasingly being pared back due to lack of funding, then they might then realise how utterly privileged they have been to receive such generous lottery funding. It is only the elite who are truly prospering whilst they will also garner lucrative sponsorship deals.

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