Whilst fun and high rates of participation are the main focus (100 KS2 children take part in the X-country event every year), the end result of the children's enthusiasm is that Gospel Oak is the most successful school in Camden in sports competitions. Children take part in over 80 inter-school fixtures every year - all children from years 2-6 represent the school. The Camden Schools Sports Association runs leagues and tournaments throughout the year which 36 primary schools take part in.
Selection for School Teams
This is often a contentious issue for both children and parents. Whilst it is true that some children are selected more often than others, any child that attends school sports clubs and training sessions will be offered the opportunity to represent the school in a fixture - if at all possible.
Of the 38 primary schools in Camden, Gospel Oak enters the most events and is proud that all children are given more sporting opportunities than at any other school in the borough.
Children are selected for sports teams by different criteria depending on the event.
Low Level Events. Camden Sports Development Team host many "inclusive" events every year. We aim to participate in as many of these as possible. Pre-lockdown we entered 6 different competitions over the year.
Mid Level "B Team" Events: Due to demand, many CSSA events are over-subscribed which limits the number of children that can potentially participate. However, whenever possible, Gospel Oak will enter an B team as well as a A team. Some CSSA events, such as the Cross Country event, allow up to 80 entries which, for the last 15 years, has allowed us to take all 60 year 3 children - regardless of ability.
High Level Events: Many CSSA events are a very high standard and it would be foolish to select children other than primarily on ability (otherwise children will be completely outclassed and potentially disheartened and humiliated).
Friendly matches: Children who have seldom participated are always prioritised for these fixtures. However, it is very difficult to arrange such fixtures. Most schools are reluctant to take on extra workload and if they do, tend to bring higher ability children that know the rules. Opportunities are therefore limited. As such, children who are keen and make the effort to attend clubs/practices will always be prioritised over children who show little commitment or interest.
Younger Children: For obvious reasons, almost every formal competitive sports event is for KS2 children only. The vast majority of these are are targeted at year 5&6 children. Opportunities for year 3&4 children are therefore more limited - unless they are particularly talented and can physically cope with playing with older children.