More Than Just Exercise: The Holistic Benefits of School Sports

Children playing football pexels-kampus-8813570

Sports and activities are an integral part of your child’s education. With the Paris Olympics 2024 starting at the beginning of the summer holidays, plenty of families are likely to be enjoying watching, and maybe being inspired by, the variety of sports.

Not only can sport be beneficial for your child’s physical health, but it has a variety of benefits for their mental health, social life, and development.

Mrs Sharon Schanschieff, the Headmistress at Abbot’s Hill, an independent girls School for girls aged 4 to 16, situated between Kings Langley and Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire, says: ‘Physical activity is not only about improving your child’s, and family’s health, but also about helping support your child’s confidence.

‘Whether they’re training in tennis after school or getting the most out of their PE classes, sport can have benefits, both inside and outside the classroom.

‘At Abbot’s Hill, we recognise the importance of creating a sense of team, and striking the balance between achieving academically, and mental health. Participating in all sport, whether that’s lacrosse, swimming, athletics or skiing, helps our students focus, and forge strong relationships with their peers.

‘We are very proud that we are able to include swimming lessons every week as part of our curriculum, from Reception and beyond. Additionally, we have forged strong links with the local community and have partnered with  Watford Swim School to further enhance opportunities for our students in swimming.’

Encouraging sports at an early age

According to  Sport England, less than half of children (47%) nationally, get the recommended average of 60 minutes a day doing physical activity. Encouraging further activity and exercise is important for both the physical and mental health of your children, as well as their education.

Miss Molly Fielding, Head of PE at Abbot’s Hill, ‘With only 64% of girls enjoying PE, compared to 86% of boys, there’s a way to go when it comes to encouraging young women into sports. The more we can do to make all genders feel comfortable during physical education, and enjoy their sports activities, the better we can build a healthy routine around education, eating, and exercising.

‘In addition to after school sports clubs, students at Abbot’s Hill participate in 3 hours of time tabled sport per week.’

This level of enjoyment has dropped since 2016, with 74% of girls enjoying PE eight years ago. Encouraging better engagement in PE and other physical activities means ensuring that awareness and comfort are improved when it comes to women in sports.

Focusing on period health and awareness is one way we can encourage more young girls to participate and enjoy their sports again, as well as creating a considerate and comfortable environment for students to explore sporting interests.

Benefits of sport in school


Sport has many benefits for the body, including physical. Not only can frequent exercise help your child grow stronger, but it can also help regulate weight, hormones, and moods.

If you’re looking to improve the overall health of your family, making sure your child is getting the recommended 30 minutes of exercise in school each day, and an additional 30 minutes of activity outside of school hours, can improve their health and fitness.

Undertaking a physical activity as a family can be a good way of encouraging your children to partake, while improving the health and bonding of your family as a unit. Whether you’re choosing to go on daily family walks for some fresh air or learning a new sport together, it can be a great opportunity for connection.


Just as exercise can have a positive influence on adult mental health, it can also benefit your child’s. Regular exercise can promote the release of endorphins – making your child feel happier.

Exercise can also be a great way to boost your child’s self-esteem, improve confidence, and reduce stress. This can be particularly useful during stressful times such as exam season, but keeping a maintained routine of exercise can help your child manage their stress during any time of the school year.


Sports and physical activity can also help improve your child’s social life – helping them build confidence and connections both inside and outside of school. Team sports, such as football, netball, and cricket, can get your child standing up and speaking up in front of a group of their peers.

It also works on their team-building skills, as they use communication, problem-solving, and quick thinking when in competitive environments such as sports games.

Attitude to learning

Physical education benefits the mind through bettering your child’s mental health, but it can also be highly beneficial for their education inside the classroom. Whether it is focusing during maths or strengthening their confidence for public speaking in class, ensuring your child is partaking in physical activity has its benefits.

Sports activities can also better teach your child discipline, respect, and concentration, which are vital skills for the classroom. Sports are beneficial for your children and play a crucial part in your child’s education. PE on the curriculum helps improve social abilities, such as communication, as well as building stronger physical and mental health. Encouraging your children into sports, both inside and outside of school, can help develop healthy routines and build better relationships.