Schools pay $340 a time for this to silence competitive parents

by Steve Randall24 Sep 2015
We’ve all been there. School sports day with those parents who are taking it all a little bit too seriously. Nothing wrong with encouraging a competitive streak in our children but sometimes parents can take things too far.

A growing trend has spread in recent years with primary schools in Western Australia hiring timing gates for their sports carnivals. This is partly due to a lack of staff to time the races but is also in response to what is sometimes called “ugly parent syndrome.”

WA Today says that 165 schools in the state have been hiring the gates, from a non-profit firm which funds sports in Western Australia. At a cost of $340 or more each time it’s an expense that schools could maybe do without but is arguably saving a lot more in terms of stress!

The company’s director Carol Hale said that kids also enjoy being able to run through the gates and it encourages participation among students.

With WA’s new education funding model giving more control to principals to spend as they see fit, there could be a further increase in the use of technology to avoid the potentially flammable scenes seen at some school sports events.

Not everyone agrees that the use of timing gates is a step forward though. Speaking on Radio 6PR WA Council of State School Organisations president, Kylie Catto said that the focus should be on participation, fitness and teamwork rather than trying to make sports carnivals more professional.

Try telling that to those over-competitive parents!

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