Praise for sporty Whitgift School – from the Daily Mail

Whitgift School's quadrangle, adorned by peacocks. Not mentioned by Martin Samuel

Interesting. South Croydon‘s Whitgift School is being held up as a paragon of sporting, and educational, excellence in the Daily Mail.

The reporter is Martin Samuel, four times the Sports Writer of the Year, who the Mail indulges once a week by allowing him to write a column in the serious pages in the middle of the paper. And Samuel makes a very good job of it.

In his latest column, he uses Whitgift as an outstanding example of how sports scholarships can be used to further the opportunities for disadvantaged youngsters.

Samuel writes: “The ladder has been pulled up on working-class youngsters thanks to the abolition of many grammar schools, but Whitgift now lights the way. Yes, the school gets something out of it, too. Prestige and no doubt the pick of the sporty boys whose parents can afford £13,731 a year, but what’s wrong with that? This path is open to the other private schools. Increasingly, it seems ethically wrong that they do not take it.”

The piece is well worth a read.

What is also interesting is what Samuel’s article omits to mention.

  • Samuel fails to mention Whitgift’s most famous recent sporting graduate, Danny Cipriani, the wayward former Wasps fly-half who looks to be on the brink of being fired by his latest club, Melbourne Rebels, for enjoying the playboy lifestyle rather too much. An odd omission. We wonder why?
  • Nor does he mention that the Whitgift schools foundation – which also includes Old Palace and Trinity – still manages to benefit from hefty tax benefits through special “charitable status”, one of the driving forces behind its scholarship schemes.
  • Or mention that the school managed to spend the equivalent of an entire year’s school fees on purchasing a flock of flamingoes to grace the school’s expensive wildlife pond. Money well-spent, or a shocking indulgence?
  • Nor does he mention that this week, Whitgift is subject to a visit from the independent schools’ inspector, who surely will not be at all influenced by a glowing puff piece about the school published in the Daily Mail.

Another item unmentioned by Martin Samuel is that next week sees Whitgift host its annual cricket festival, with the Surrey county roadshow in town for five days of top-class sport. We know where Inside Croydon might be next week…

via Whitgift School gives everyone a sporting chance | Mail Online.

10.30am update: And the latest outstanding sporting talent out of Whitgift School, 18-year-old kicking machine Elliot Daly, has been named in England’s squad for the under-20s rugby World Cup, to be staged in Italy beginning next month.

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1 Response to Praise for sporty Whitgift School – from the Daily Mail

  1. A sad memory of my childhood haunted my late brother all his life and blighted his sporting activities as a rugby player.

    The tragedy concerned a youth from Whitgift School playing in a friendly rugby match against St John’s School, Leatherhead during the early 1950s, where my brother Adrian Handley was a pupil and a good athlete, as well as a fine rugby player.
    During the match, the Whitgift pupil accidently struck his head against my brother’s knee, as he attempted to tackle my brother from a difficult angle at high speed and there was no question whatsoever of any bad play on the part of my brother who was also running at high speed, clutching the rugby ball, as the youth collided with him and received a blow to his head from my brother’s knee, which resulted in him being taken off the field with concussion and placed in the sanatorium, where my brother visited him later that evening, where he appeared to be making a good recovery.

    However, he died shortly afterwards and a post mortem revealed that he had an unusual medical condition which affected the membrane/s inside his skull, which had never been diagnosed and which presented a terrible threat to his life, if he were ever to receive a head injury.

    The inquest exonerated my brother, who attended and gave evidence. Afterwards, the boy’s family (he was a twin whose brother had also been playing in the same match) came up to my brother and urged him not to blame himself for the accident, but as you can guess, he always did and it affected his life, as his thoughts often went back to the fate of that young teenager who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and my parents of course were also heartbroken, as they felt so deeply for the dead boy and his family, which could so easily have been the other way around had the positions been reversed.

    Although my brother subsequently played in the school seven a sides, as well as for the RAF during his National Service, he always said that rugger was never again the same for him and I know just how much it blighted his life. He died in 1997, just short of his 60th birthday and I often wonder what became of the brother of that poor boy whose early death before he’d had a chance of a life shattered the lives of his family and blighted that of my brother as well as that of my parents.
    It was nobody’s fault, but life and death is so cruel.

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