Students are required to participate in sports and activities in every boarding school in England. At Saint Michael’s students can choose from a variety of sports which occur every Wednesday. At some of the more traditional boarding schools in England students are expected to join in traditional British sports such as cricket, rugby and hockey. At Saint Michael’s however, students choose from a wider variety of sports and activities which are popular worldwide. As an international boarding school in the UK with an almost exclusively international cohort of students, the more popular sports such as football, basketball and tennis are included on a list of sport-options alongside badminton, trampoline, golf, gymnastics, swimming, Zumba dancing and boot camp.
During the weekends a number of optional activities are offered which often involve students travelling offsite to try new experiences such as mountain boarding, ice skating, snowboarding, bowling and horse riding. These often unfamiliar sports give students an opportunity to try something they may have always wanted to, in an organised and structured way. This notion of challenge is at the heart of education in international boarding schools in England as they strive to provide similar learning opportunities that students would have in their own countries.
At Saint Michael’s the two major competitive sports are football and basketball. There are frequent sporting fixtures against other colleges and boarding schools in England. Each year these teams travel to a major European city to compete in the ISSA tournament which pits boarding schools in the UK against one another, and against other boarding schools located across Europe. As the main event on the sporting calendar, the fixtures leading up to the ISSA tournament are always very competitive as students need to prove their fitness whilst learning to play together as a team. Although the teams train together weekly, it is the fixtures against other boarding school in England who are equally focussed which provide the real challenge they need.
Simon Price is the coach for both the football and basketball team and his main focus is on improving the students’ fitness levels. Simon is also the catering manager at the school and he understands how important nutritious meals are for athletes when training and although all boarding schools in the UK are required to provide a healthy and balanced diet, Simon goes a step further; advising students which food provides the most energy and which food they should avoid eating in excess.
Simon travels with the teams when they compete in tournaments along with Katie Brick, the Sports & Social coordinator. Both staff members are very proud of the effort each team makes as, although Saint Michael’s is one of the smaller boarding schools in the UK they often win against teams with a larger number of students who have been training together for far longer.