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News > Sidcotians Today > Darwen Lecture 2024 - Kate Reed (S: 1999 - 2001)

Darwen Lecture 2024 - Kate Reed (S: 1999 - 2001)

This year’s Darwen Lecture was delivered by Kate Reed, Old Scholar (S: 1999-2001) and Olympian (Team GB, Beijing 2008). She spoke movingly about her career as a world-class athlete.

Darwen Lecture 2024

This year’s Darwen Lecture was delivered by Kate Reed, Old Scholar (S: 1999-2001) and Olympian (Team GB, Beijing 2008). She spoke movingly about her career and the dedication and determination required to make her a world-class long-distance running athlete.

Kate reminisced about her time at Sidcot Sixth Form, which she remembers fondly, particularly praising the support of her teachers: “I was extremely lucky to have such brilliant teachers who helped me in every way they could, even to the extent of driving me back early from a Biology field trip in North Wales, so I could make a cross country race the following day!” She stated that training alongside her schoolwork taught her value and importance of time management – a skill particularly valuable at university in London.

While her career has not always been easy – she cited her gruelling 90 mile a day training schedule and being caught up in the media phone-hacking scandal – she was quick to recognise those who have supported and helped her along the way (including her teachers, Mo Farah, Liam Fox, and many more). She impressed upon our Upper School students the importance of being grateful and celebrating our successes. She reflected that the core values she learnt at Sidcot echoed those of the Olympic Games: Excellence, Friendship, and Respect.

As is traditional with the Darwen Lecture, Kate spent some time detailing her argument for the value of an independent school education, most particularly in relation to her sporting field. She highlighted research from the Sutton Trust that found that Team GB’s top Olympians are still four times more likely to have been privately educated than the population as a whole, though linked this to the opportunities provided by an independent education, including time dedicated to non-core subjects like Games, access to a broad range of sports (including swimming, badminton, athletics, squash, equestrian, and much more). She also reflected on the vital importance that independent schools have within the community, sharing their facilities with others – for example, the fact that Claverham Cricket Club can use Sidcot’s nets to practise in the winter, and the Sidcot Splash and Dash events that are the only entry-level triathlon opportunities in the South West. She impressed upon her audience the importance of not forgetting the part that independent schools play in supporting access to high level sport and expressed her concern for the implications that imposing VAT and removing charitable status by an incoming Labour government might have on these opportunities.

Thank you Kate for speaking so passionately and informatively to our students, and for being a wonderful role model within our Sidcotian community.

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