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Private schools prove stronger for sport

Written by Tara Lowe

Students of Ipswich Girls Grammar School enjoying some of the many sporting facilities available to them.

Despite government funding efforts it seems that private schools still trump the state school sport funding programs.

For many years school communities have put particular emphasis on sporting programs with a particular focus on healthy living.

However, for many students sporting programs in schools are the main exercise in preparing them as an elite athlete for a successful future in the area.

Eastern Taipans Cricket Club Vice President, Rodney Yarrow says that without a doubt their best players are coming from private schools.

“They have access to some top notch coaches and they are provided with quality equipment,” he said, “sometimes they aren’t the ones with the natural talent, but they have a lot more invested in them, and by the time they come through at club level, they have improved out of sight.”

Local private school Ipswich Girls Grammar School (IGGS) has recently been faced with financial troubles following an arson attack in 2005, and the Queensland Floods in 2011. Since these tragedies the school has rebuilt two state-of-the-art buildings costing in excess of $22 million.

Head of Secondary Sport and Activities, Christine Gado says that the difficulties have not made any difference to the school sporting program.

“Because sport is such a high priority in the school, sufficient funding is always available to run and offer necessary programs and sports.”

With up to 75% of students participating in some form of sport at the school, IGGS scores some funding from the government however most of their funding is relied upon by the payment of fees from students.

“Adequate funding certainly can bring a lower coaching to student ratio and provides a higher standard of facilities. Some schools lacking with funding may have to rely more on parents and volunteers,” Mrs Gado said.

The reality is, though, that while some schools feel adequate with the support towards their funding programs, others are finding it difficult.

Teacher at Redbank Plains State High School, Ashleigh Lowe, said that the school struggles to field teams and provide, coaches, buses and other facilities needed to keep the sports running.

“Our biggest issue is getting the children to and from games and fitting training sessions within school lunchtimes. The children rely heavily on public transport to and from school which makes it really difficult,” Miss Lowe said.

No funding for coaches means that teachers are coaching in their spare time, many of which are unqualified and just lending a hand.

“The sport coordinators are constantly trying to find teachers to coach teams. Often teams miss out on competing because there are no coaches available.”

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