A Healthy Partnership

By By Stuart Lancaster 2019-04-26 16:38:03

YCIS Shanghai's modern solution to Physical Education


School mattered to me because of sports. I was somewhat shy until I discovered football and then school suddenly was transformed right before my eyes. Similarly, at Yew Chung International School of Shanghai (YCIS), the sports programme helps every child learn about the joy of becoming active, and focuses on the important benefits students glean by participating in sports, as athletics help them gain valuable skills that they can transfer into academia and more.

Representing YCIS Pudong in competitive sports programmes like ACAMIS gives the pupils a more significant connection to the school community and helps build their self-confidence and passion for sports. This year, nearly 80% of the students in the secondary school participate actively in competitive sports, and this creates a strong sense of school pride and identity as a YCIS pupil. Furthermore, this community extends to the parents who come to support their children for competitive fixtures in all of the school teams from primary and above. There is "a sea of YCIS" at competitions, and this is because the school welcomes and encourages all parents to share in their child’s sporting life and achievements.



At YCIS Pudong, the importance of physical education is growing under the stewardship of Matt Uffindall, the athletics director who has brought technology into his coaching and uses video analysis and other technological tools to improve the overall performance of their teams. Uffindall cited the example of how since he began coaching the volleyball team, they began using technology and data to track things like the students’ service ratio, and this means that the techniques and goals of the team can be easily quantified, measured, and it sets them up for improvement and success.

While today, technology can be used to enhance people’s interest in sports, it has also had an impact on how people approach sports. "These days, people want instantaneous gratification and whereas we used to play a sport for the social benefits, nowadays for many children it is very different. At YCIS, we encourage our students to play for the love of the game and to make friends, as well,” said Uffindall. Aside from technological advancements, YCIS Shanghai’s growth in sport can also be attributed to collaborations which have provided a wealth of information and shared resources to the school’s sports programme. YCIS Pudong has had longstanding collaborations with several respected sports programmes, and most notably, recently signed up as the official partner of the football club Glasgow Rangers. Representatives from Rangers have been working with YCIS Pudong to set up the club’s first academy in China, and uniquely, this is not a franchise. Rangers are one of the most successful teams in Scottish football with a history of over 147 years in which they have amassed over 117 trophies, and the school community is abuzz about this exciting news!

The partnership between YCIS Pudong and Glasgow Rangers is a long-term vision. "The support Rangers have, their ethos, their model and their beliefs that are entirely in line with what YCIS Pudong does. Why not think big in China? Let's keep growing our programme!" Uffindall explained.


There is common ground between the sporting philosophy offered by YCIS Pudong and Rangers, and there is no limit to what this collaboration may reap. The Rangers Academy programme is aimed at building awareness in all areas of sport, as well as nutrition and well-being. These skills are very much transferable to many aspects of life for the young players. Although the percentage of people that make it to the very top in elite sport is limited, there is a big increase in the types of jobs that connect to sports today. Pupils at YCIS Pudong are studying sports science in the school’s International Baccalaureate (IB) programme and learn about the many opportunities and careers available in the sports industry when they graduate. To round out the benefits, in their academy, Rangers also believe in instilling essential skills of teamwork and collaboration to make their players more wholesome individuals.

Rangers concentrate on wellness and the psychology of sports and have a vast array of resources that YCIS Pudong will be able to access. Rangers Soccer Schools Manager Gary Gibson explained their holistic approach to developing young footballers at the club, saying,"First and foremost we focus on developing good people. We make sure they have good communication skills, that they can build solid relationships with people and that they can transfer those skills to other areas of their lives."

YCIS Pudong has a broad spectrum of sports to offer its pupils, and the partnership with Rangers is just one example of the continued emphasis on sports. They also have collaborated with MultiSport to run a range of sports, including building a competitive swimming team, and the swimmers’ results in competitions is a testament to the high level of participation at YCIS. Dale Johnson, General Manager of MultiSport shared, “It is inspiring to see the students at YCIS. We love working with such committed and hard-working students and with such supportive parents, as well as our fantastic host school!”

Some sports programmes are geared solely to teach techniques, but at YCIS Pudong the athletic skills are augmented by other important skills, such as developing resilience and perserverance, learning about teamwork and communication, and how to make healthy choices. There are, of course, a wealth of opportunities for students to play competitive sports particularly through the CISSA and SISAC within Shanghai and at ACAMIS across China and beyond, in which the school is a member, but in their Physical Education lessons and in sports practices, the pupils are focusing on strengthening character and learning key life skills. And for these lucky students who have the fantastic opportunity to learn so much from sports professionals both on and off the pitch, it's exciting to think that these skills could one day be transferred if they were to go play for the great Glasgow Rangers having begun their sporting education at YCIS Pudong.


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