Our aim within the MCM games programme is to support each pupil’s health and wellbeing by using exercise as the vehicle. We offer every pupil the opportunity to participate in an activity of their choice that will provide the opportunity to improve both their physical health and their understanding of a ‘Healthy Body’. Furthermore, backed by empirical evidence, a focus on physical health has a positive effect on the individual’s overall wellbeing. This will, in turn, lead to pupils establishing and fostering positive approaches to studying and relationships within the busy and vibrant environment here at MCM.
In recent years we have developed an exceptional culture of morning exercise by offering a multitude of activities within the sports programme. Pupils can access swimming, basketball, tennis and/or a derivative of physical conditioning, with daily sessions involving: Speed (Pace), Strength (Beast mode; Fortius), Power (H.E.A.T), Girls-only sessions (Sweat) or Boys-only sessions (Gainz).
Whilst morning clubs are a small part of the overall sports programme, it does carry significant importance in an attempt to start the day with a positive mindset. The opportunity to release feel-good chemicals, endorphins can set you up for a great day ahead.
Tommy (Remove Pupil) – “I attend the ‘Pace’ and ‘Heat’ morning clubs and although getting out of bed can be a challenge, they both put me in a great mindset to work just as hard throughout the day.”
Jemima (Shell Pupil) – “Every Tuesday I attend ‘Pace’, a club designed to improve my speed. Each week I push myself harder and the results do always show; whether it’s on the athletics track or the sports field running for a try. It is a great way to learn that you can always improve and Pace is a gateway to that mindset.”
At MCM, we pride ourselves on the education we provide. Within our sports programme, we value and encourage the exploration of self-discovery and improvement. Understanding how the body moves efficiently and learning your own movement capabilities is essential for a lifelong interest in Health and Wellbeing.
In business and in sport the buzz words of ‘positive culture’ or ‘winning culture’ often stem from a clear purpose and an understanding of what you are trying to achieve. In an attempt to further embed our initiative of becoming the best athletic development school in southeast Asia, we introduced and educated our Sixth Form pupils to ASCA (Australia Strength and Conditioning Association) Level 1 coaching. Whilst every practitioner promotes exercise to our pupils, having student peers endorse this positive culture is always more powerful and sustainable when establishing long term motivation and success. Sixth Form pupils have actively advocated participating in the clubs programme in order to improve. The passion and enthusiasm that all the coaches bring to sessions have enabled our pupils to become fitter, stronger and faster.
We are educating our pupils in planning their training and work schedule to think about what is best for their overall development throughout the week. Learning to prioritise and self-regulate your training load is a huge skill to master as you approach adulthood. One other addition that is often noted in the business world is having strong ‘soft skills’ within the workplace. Developing character strengths, such as integrity, responsibility and leadership is often more achievable when placed in a sporting environment. The affordances that team sports’ create are often hard to replicate within a classroom. These ‘soft skills’ long term will carry our pupils much further than the sports field, although it is a great place to start!
Akmal (I.B. Student, ASCA Level 1 Coach) – “Being a student coach is both exciting and challenging. Whilst I do have my own training programme to keep up with, I also help out other students using my sports science knowledge that I gained through the ASCA coaching course. Altogether, this experience has very much improved my communication and time-management skills.”
Finally improvement. What are we actually trying to improve that will contribute towards a ‘Healthy Body, Healthy Mind’?
A research study commissioned by the Headmasters’ & Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC), noted that sport and exercise have been proven to have ‘lots of positive benefits that impact the pupils’. The study undertaken within the Psychology department at the University of Huddersfield by Professor Peter Clough observed thousands of pupils from across 289 of the most prestigious UK schools. The research stated that during stressful periods, such as exams. Pupils recorded a positive improvement in academic performance when participating in sport, which was often contrary to the belief of many.
The study stated, “the pupils were happier, psychologically healthier, less anxious and more resilient and robust”. The study found a significant relationship between involvement in sport and mental toughness, as well as a positive association between sport and psychological wellbeing.
The evidence combined with the programme we have established witnesses pupils’ choosing to participate in activities before, during and after school. This is a pleasure to be part of, as we get to observe the positive effects regular exercise has on our pupils. Creating confident, resilient, and robust young people in both the classroom and outside on the sports field is one of our notable ambitions here at MCM.
Mr Scott (Head of Chemistry; regular morning club attendee) – “attending morning clubs has given me a chance to see pupils demonstrating grit, resilience, and teamwork at a time of day when most people are still sleeping. The camaraderie on show between pupils and beaks (and we are all equals on the track) has certainly helped me develop my working relationships with the pupils who attend. Morning clubs are a key part of my weekly routine and a significant boost to my well-being and mindset in general.”