The report, conducted after the success of London 2012, looked to determine why so many winning Team GB athletes from those Games attended independent schools and examine the link between quality of competitive school sport and later sporting success.
In England, just seven per cent of children attend a fee-paying school at any one time, however, almost 41 per cent of the English medallists at the London 2012 Olympics went to an independent school.
The survey revealed “unacceptable discrepancies” between the proportion of pupils attending state schools and their representation in elite sport, where fewer than one in ten pupils across the country attend fee paying schools, but they make up the majority of the players in the English Rugby Union Premiership, and more than a third of players in top-level cricket.
After visiting 35 state schools and 10 independent schools, and taking into account the views of more than 500 headteachers and 1,000 pupils aged between 11 and 18, the report found that in the best schools, both independent and state, leaders recognise the benefits of competitive sport in building the school’s culture.
It indicated that competitive sport thrived in schools where teachers dedicate time and energy before, during and after school, as well as weekends.
However, just 13 per cent of headteachers of state schools surveyed for the report said they expected all students to take part in competitive sport, and only 40 per cent of young people said they regularly played sport outside school.
Responding to the report, led by Ofsted’s chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw, John Steele, chief executive of the Youth Sport Trust, said: “The findings from this report highlight a worrying inconsistency in the provision of competitive sport being offered in state schools.
“It is encouraging however, to see that where state schools take competitive sport seriously there is a clear correlation to academic attainment.
“Not only does PE (physical education) and competitive sport build confidence and self esteem, it plays an integral role in boosting academic achievement across all areas of education.”
He added: “This report should be a wake-up call for those schools that do not fully value its place in school life.
“Independent schools have provided the launch pad for many elite athletes to excel.
“If you consider some of our most successful sports – rowing and equestrian for example – these are not the types of sports you will widely see offered in state schools.
“But this report also shows that, when delivered well, state schools can be as effective in developing stars of the future.
“Access to facilities and investment in specialists to deliver sport are key factors in the success of independent schools.
“If we are to continue to counter this trend, state schools must develop stronger links with local clubs which can offer support, expertise and importantly the facilities for young people to develop and excel.
“Schools, however, shouldn’t be judged on their competitive school sport provision alone, as it is important for them to be able to deliver a balanced programme of high quality PE, alongside adequate opportunities to participate in different sports.
“We believe that without this balance, young people will not be afforded the best chances in sport or in life.”
To read the full report click here.