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Specialist sport schools in UK
Specialist sport schools in UK


Do you recall PE? Some love it, others despise it, but for those with the physical capacity to thrive in sport, there are a number of award-winning schools in the United Kingdom that help students reach their true sporting potential.

Although many schools produce outstanding athletes, more than a third of Britain's medallists in the previous two Olympic Games came from fee-paying schools, which account for only 7% of total students. We've put together a list of the UK's top 10 award-winning schools, as well as what makes them the finest choice.

Millfield School - Street

Public co-ed

Millfield boasts an impressive range of facilities for sports in its school, including equestrian, fencing, karate and even sailing. Athletic students prepare all year, receiving specialized instruction in technique, mechanics, strength, and fitness. 

Repton School - Derbyshire

Independent co-ed 

Over 80% of the students represent the school in at least one sport and every student participates in sport at least three times per week. The school boasts an impressive two floodlit water-based Astro Turf hockey pitches, a state-of-the-art, full-size indoor hockey facility, a 25m indoor swimming pool with spectator area, two indoor and 12 outdoor tennis courts, netball and squash courts, as well as a cutting-edge strength and conditioning suite are all part of our multi-million pound Sports Centre.

Shrewsbury School - Shrewsbury

Independent co-ed 

Shrewsbury has a long and illustrious history in competitive sport, extending back to the Victorian era. During this time, Salopians (their students' nickname) were instrumental in the development of the laws of football, and the earliest set of rules can be found in their library. They also boast the world's oldest running club, 'The Royal Shrewsbury School Hunt' (RSSH). They also include a wide range of sports, including football, netball, hockey, lacrosse, racket sports, swimming, fencing, basketball, and athletics, in addition to football and cross-country running.

Sedbergh School - Cumbria

Public co-ed 

Sedbergh School is well-known for its sports successes, and the school takes pleasure in providing a diverse range of sporting activities for all students, regardless of their aptitudes and skills. 'Excellence' and 'Sport for All' are embraced by both boys' and girls' sports. The Wilson Run, or Ten Mile, is a tradition at this school that takes place towards the end of Lent Term and is an important part of the school's history and tradition. Since its beginning in 1881. Other sports include rifle shooting, cricket, aerobics, badminton, ballet, climbing, cross-country running, dancing, fencing, gym, horseback riding, sailing, shooting, football, swimming, hockey, caving, rugby, and mountain biking are just a few of the activities available. 

King Edward's School - Birmingham

Independent Boys School 

Eight rugby pitches, four cricket pitches, three astro hockey pitches, five tennis courts, a rifle range, an athletics track, and seven artificial surfaced cricket nets are among the School's exceptional sporting facilities. The Andrew Brode Sports Centre, which opened in May 2019, has a big sports hall, cardio workout area, multipurpose space, classroom, and locker rooms. A 25-meter indoor swimming pool is also available, and the School's historic sports hall is now being renovated. With over 80 teams playing in over 700 games each year, there are many opportunities to play for the School. Sport is also a big part of the House system, with tournaments in ten different sports.


Public Boys School 

Perhaps one of the most famous, prestigious (and expensive) schools in the UK, and many famous alumni from politicians, actors and sports stars have attended this school.

The school's present outdoor amenities have around 40 football/rugby grounds, a 2-kilometer rowing lake (which was used in the 2012 Olympics), 19 cricket pitches, and 50 tennis courts. Eton values athletics and encourages all boys to participate in the Athlete Development Programme (ADP). This programme contains a strength and conditioning component, as well as other physical development activities that all boys can participate in. Pupils enhance their entire athletic performance via the ADP, which includes an understanding of proper nutrition, the significance of rest and recuperation, and how exercise may benefit mental health. 

Rugby School - Warwickshire

Public Co-ed 

If your child has an exceptional talent for a sport in either cricket, hockey, netball, rugby, football or tennis, but you don’t have the fees to send them to a private school, Rugby School will welcome you with a scholarship, plus an athlete development plan with experienced and knowledgeable coaches, and physiotherapists. The school is also known for being the birthplace of rugby football. After a young student named William Webb Ellis, reportedly frustrated by the slow pace of the game, supposedly scooped up the ball and ran with it in 1823, the school invented and exported its eponymous sport. Handling the ball has been allowed up to that point, but not sprinting with it. His achievement is commemorated with a plaque at the school.

Winchester College - Winchester

Independent Boys School 

Winchester is another well-known elite school with excellent sports facilities, offering sports scholarships to successful candidates at the 13+ and 16+ levels, as well as specialist coaching sessions, a frequently assessed strength training programme, and a dedicated experienced instructors. The Sports Campus at Winchester College is situated between the playing grounds at Kingsgate Park. The Physical Education Centre (PE Centre), swimming pool, rifle range, and squash courts were all part of the school's indoor sports facilities. Another football variation is Winkies (Winchester College Football). This version, too, has its own jargon that only Wykehamists (nickname for their students) understand. A “hot” in Winchester Football is a scrum, a “bust” is a punt, and “raising a plant” (stopping a punted ball with your chest) was formerly thought to be the best method to create moral fibre. 

Guildford High School - Guildford

Independent girls school 

Guilford, named the most successful girls' sporting school in the UK by school sports magazine, has a long history of achievement. With over 30 sports to choose from, it's no surprise that the school has won district, county, and national championships in a number of sports. The school's fantastic sports facilities include a well-equipped gymnasium on the main school site with a separate strength and conditioning suite; a purpose-built sports centre with a 25-meter, six-lane swimming pool, full-size sports hall, fitness suite, and large social area with outside viewing balcony; a lacrosse pitch with access to three additional fields on Stoke Park; five netball / six tennis courts; and a lacrosse pitch with access to three additional fields on Stoke Park.

Barking Abbey School - Barking

Comprehensive, non-selective, co-ed 

Not all successful sporting schools are private, Barking Abbey was voted “Specialist Sports College of The Year 2011” by The Daily Telegraph. It followed the previous award of “State Sports School of the Year 2010” by the School Sport magazine, and has continuously ranked in the top 30 State Sport schools every year since its start as an award.  Success in the classroom, as well as athletic achievement, is a priority at Barking Abbey. Students at the Sports Academy get assistance and enrichment programmes to help them attain this crucial balance and realize their full potential.

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