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Exercise makes us feel good and even just a small amount can have a big impact. 

Schools are here to help guide children and young people to thrive in the fields that make their hearts sing and help them to stay well. This is especially true when it comes to sports - while some children come to life taking part in team sports like hockey or football, others will find the personal challenge of sports like tennis or golf more thrilling.  

PE and Games are offered to all pupils in Scottish independent schools for the positive effects this has on overall health and wellbeing.  

This April during Stress Awareness Month we are putting a spotlight on sport at school and how this helps support pupils’ mental wellbeing. 

Looking after the wellbeing of children and young people has never been more important. Since early 2020, we have been living through difficult times with long absences from friends, family, fellow pupils, teachers and the school campus. 

Improve mental health 

The mental wellbeing of pupils is vital for helping them cope with everyday life and the challenges this presents and staying active is a great way to promote positive mental health. 

Children who are members of sports teams are found to have fewer emotional and behavioural issues throughout their development and into adult life.  
Research carried out by Child Mind Institute found that in the whole of the population of the Netherlands70% of girls and 80% of boys up to age 13 who were on sports teams went on to use less drugs, have less body image problems and they got into less trouble than those who were not on sports teams. 
If children continue playing sport into their teens then they are more likely to develop a life-long habit of physical activity which can help to reduce stress, anxiety and depression that may develop later on. What’s more, strong evidence exists to show that there is a 20-30% reduction in depression in adults who participate in physical activity daily.  
Read our previous blog with Dollar Academy to find out how their co-curricular activities help promote the mental wellbeing of their pupils.  

A range of sports 

Scotland’s independent schools offer a range of different sports, covering everything from hockey and lacrosse, to football, tennis, cross country and cricket – so it is worth considering your child’s interests when you are selecting the right school.  

Competitive sports such as tennis or track and field are great confidence-builders as they allow pupils to exercise healthy competition in a controlled, monitored environment, whilst of course building physical strength and hand-eye coordination. 

To find out what sports each of our independent schools provide, you can search by location in our find a school tool. 

Try something new 

As well as the typical sports that you might expect to find at most schools, SCIS schools also offer some exciting opportunities to take part in alternative physical activities outside of the schoolgrounds that will teach children a number of valuable life skills. 

For example, Ardvreck School in Crieff offers an outstanding outdoor pursuits programme, with water sports such as canoeing and white-water rafting. These activities encourage pupils to tap into their survival instincts and work through any fears in a supportive environment with trained instructors who are there to help and challenge them. 
If your child is showing signs of being a thrill-seeker, rock climbing or mountain biking are brilliant options. At Erskine’s Stewarts Melville Schools (ESMS) in Edinburgh there is a focus on developing skills outside the classroom with an extensive programme of activities that include hillwalking, climbing, mountain biking, and winter skills clubs. 

Helping pupils to switch off 

On top of life’s everyday challenges, school pupils today face the added pressure of modern life with the trappings of social media and technology.  

Sport at school provides opportunities to break away from being ‘always on’ and helps re-wire and stimulate the brain in new ways. Finding a school with a sports and outdoor activities programme to suit your child can be the first step towards protecting their mental wellbeing. 


If you are considering sending your child to a Scottish Independent School, SCIS can help you with your search – use ourfind a schooltool orget in touchwith us today.