Overall we found Sports Day to be alive and well in UK Schools with 98% of schools having one.
We are, obviously, very interested in rewards. Both the actual rewards and the reward process. 20% of schools only award the winners, 70% award winners and participation, 10% only award participation. The majority of teachers like to reward both winners and participation.
Sports Day policy is a challenge as all Schools have to balance a number of competing goals: They want to help motivate the sports starts of the future (which supports an argument for rewarding winners); they want all pupils to engage in sport and life a healthy lifestyle (which supports participation); and they want to support their school community (which suggests team rewards or competitions). It is a tricky balancing act. The absolute favourite answer was for schools to respond to that challenge with a mixed answer. Rewarding pupils for winning positions, but also rewarding all pupils for participation (with stickers at the event for younger pupils or certificates at the end of the day for older pupils), and ideally run a team event alongside. Those schools with houses passed individual achievement into house points – creating a team motivation.
Every school is unique and the right conclusion differs from community to community but overall the vast majority of teachers consider sports day to be an great part of school life. So the only real losers are the unfortunate 2% (c.500 schools) who don’t have a Sports Day.