How private schools became football's new production line
6th March 2019
The standard of independent schools football is improving – and fast observes Ian Clarkson “It’s on a huge upward curve” the former Birmingham City captain who is now Master in Charge of football at Foremarke Hall, the preparatory school for Repton in Derbyshire explains.
One only needs to look at the shifting demographics of the Premier League to realise the truth of Clarkson’s statement. According to ISFA [the Independent Schools Football Association] there are now more than 40 former independent schoolboys playing professional football.
So far, only a handful have made it to the very top, the likes of Fraser Forster at Southampton (RGS Newcastle), Chelsea’s Victor Moses and Callum Hudson-Odoi (both Whitgift), Liverpool’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (St John’s College, Southsea) and Everton’s Michael Keane (St Bede’s College, Manchester). But the numbers are growing all the time.
If football is more gentrified, independent schools are certainly less elitist, and more into football than ever. The sport, which was of course invented by public schoolboys in the first place, was shunned by many independent schools after it went professional. Some, such as Shrewsbury, Repton and Charterhouse, remained football schools.
ISFA now has 350 member schools and tournaments ranging from under-11 to under-18 (compared with 40 member schools and one tournament 20 years ago).
Many of those schools offer football scholarships in a bid to recruit the top talent, and all of them provide highly qualified coaches. It explains why former players such as Clarkson are being recruited, alongside Barry Horne at The King’s School, Chester, David Howells at Charterhouse, Colin Pates at Whitgift, Paul Bolland at Queen Ethelburga’s and Luke Webb at Bradfield.
Dead male poets are out and strong women are in, as the independent school’s pupils vote for new house names
Pupils at Burgess Hill Girls have voted to rename their school houses in honour of inspirational women.
Among the shortlist for the new house names, compiled by the girls, were Nobel Peace Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai; American civil rights activist, Rosa Parks; aviation pioneer, Amelia Earhart; and Florence Nightingale, a founder of modern nursing.
After all the votes were counted, four clear winners emerged: Harry Potter film actress and activist, Emma Watson; world-renowned novelist, Jane Austen; Emmeline Pankhurst, who played a key role in the struggle for women’s suffrage; and Serena Williams, who has dominated women’s professional tennis for nearly 20 years, and is a vocal campaigner on feminism and race.
Head of the independent school, Liz Laybourn, said she felt the previous house names – honouring poets WB Yeats, John Milton, Edward Thomas, and Robbie Burns – had served their purpose, and there had been a consensus among students and staff that it was time for a change.