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St Dunstan’s College’s Danny Gower anticipates new era of sport in schools following Lionesses’ win

Danny Gower, Assistant Head Co-curricular at St Dunstan’s College in Catford, south-London, has said he anticipates a new era of sport in schools following the Lionesses’ historic win at the UEFA Women’s Euro Final on Sunday evening.

Speaking about the achievement, Mr Gower said:

‘The nation is so proud of our Lionesses, and they truly have inspired a generation. What a tremendous achievement for this talented group, who have bucked the trend and achieved something so special. There are exciting times ahead for sport in this country.’

He added: ‘Despite its reputation as the fastest growing women’s sport in the UK, girls football remains a minority sport in many schools because of the well-established stigma and gendered view. The buzz of a home tournament and outstanding performances of the Lionesses have presented schools with much needed momentum, but it must be seized.

‘A new era of sport in schools is emerging, and women’s football is well positioned to lead the way.’

Last year, St Dunstan’s College launched the gender-neutral sporting model in summer 2021 to ensure all pupils at the school have access to the same opportunities, regardless of gender.

Mr Gower explained: ‘Through sport, St Dunstan’s has a unique opportunity to influence and inspire the young people at the College. Sport gives them the opportunity to learn about themselves; how they respond to challenges and pressure, how to work with team-mates and opponents and about the culture that they perform within. The College aims to create a sporting environment that inspires all to enjoy and achieve their potential not just in sport, but when they go back into the classroom and on into their chosen careers.

‘The sporting landscape has changed, and schools have a responsibility to take the lead. Too often competitive sporting programmes have been split, with girls and boys following completely different sporting pathways.

‘Our gender-neutral approach to sport ensures boys and girls at St Dunstan’s get access to the same opportunities. It doesn’t matter what your sporting passion is, every child at St Dunstan’s will benefit from the same level of support regardless of gender.

This year, St Dunstan’s won Senior School of the Year at the Tes Awards, which are known as the ‘Oscars of Education’ and last month the school was shortlisted for eight awards at the upcoming Independent School of the Year Awards, which includes an award for sporting achievement.

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