Year 9 is a big deal. It’s the first year of senior school in the independent sector, a new environment, new friends and new teachers to get used to. For many it’s even their first experience of boarding. So, we asked a selection of Year 9 students, and Director of Year 9, Toby Sawrey-Cookson, for 9 reasons why Millfield offers children the best start to senior school life.
Our extensive and diverse facilities, along with our blend of specialist coaches and teacher-coaches enable us to provide a centralised programme of sport in training and competition, alongside education and other co-curricular activities. The opportunity to engage and sample multiple sports through training and competitive fixtures during the early development years, in one place, provides a special development experience for any child. It also helps reduce the demands on parents who form a critical part of the ‘support team’ around their child.
There is ample opportunity to do sport before lessons, at lunchtimes and after school to provide a very different pathway that allows dual or trial development through the classroom, sport and other co-curricular opportunities such as music, dance, drama and art. At some point in a child’s development, the practicalities and demands mean that some focus and dedicated practice is required on fewer activities and sports as they enter into Sixth Form and beyond.
We carefully design opportunities to allow every student to meet the Chief Medical Officers recommendations for activity of one hour of moderate activity every day, on average, to those already engaged in dedicated practice due to the nature of their sport, which may mean more than 20 hours per week. Throughout the year, students have an opportunity to engage in different ‘seasonal’ sports, e.g. rugby in term one, hockey in term two and athletics in term three; and experience activities and sports they would otherwise not have had the chance to try.
Through our Heads of Sport, we have developed extensive local, national and international networks and connections through sport to ensure those students who show high potential at different stages of their development have the opportunity to engage in the systematic development pathways and processes now in place from many National Governing Bodies or professional clubs in the UK. We are able to work with such partners and ensure the development experience at Millfield is complimentary to these external experiences to provide the dual development pathways that help them succeed in sport. In many cases, immersion and complete dedication into one environment at a young age often leads to burnout or dropout through sport. We actively promote the opportunity to keep education and sport (or other) going for much longer without compromise by providing flexibility in both sport and education. We provide non-traditional approaches to education provision beyond the classic school year, e.g. three-year A levels, to enable students to achieve their best in dual pathways without compromise to either. This provides opportunities beyond sport in later life; and in many cases, the opportunity to keep two pathways open is the reason why a student achieves international success in their sport. Being able to step away from your sport during the development years can be a real strength for some.
Dedicating your life to sport at international level is no easy task, it takes grit, determination and having the right support network around you to succeed. It is essential to have a holistic approach to the individuals’ needs, offering a suitable balance between academic pursuits and sport.
Health and wellbeing are at the forefront of everyone’s minds as we navigate through a global pandemic; our diet has an important relationship with those two things. As an independent school nutritionist with catering provider Chartwells, and the very first to live on a school campus, Millfield’s nutritionist Niall Davison outlines the school’s unique ‘EatToExcel’ initiative and how he is helping students to make healthy choices now and in their lives after Millfield.
Millfield footballers recently took part in a professional development session with former Championship league management duo Lee Johnson and Jamie McAllister. In this video blog, watch the sessions and hear from Millfield's Director of Football, Darren Robinson, as well as former Championship manager Lee Johnson.
Now more than ever it is paramount to ensure that children are thriving, not only in their academic work but in their happiness and wellbeing.
At Millfield Prep School, our pupils’ welfare and happiness is at the heart of everything we do. We have a holistic approach to every child’s care, encompassing expertise from key members of the school community.