School Sports Teams – Participation of West Indian boys

This research published by Anthony J Sargeant in 1972 was based on data he collected as part of a Bachelor’s degree dissertation while studying at The University of London. At the time their were no black footballers or cricketers playing for England and there were many racial stereotypes being bandied about. The logical conclusion of the level of participation and success of West Indian boys in school teams was that they would soon be represented in national teams: A point picked up and given publicity by the media including the national press. The consequence was anonymous poison pen letters to the author from racists. The only time in his career that research by Professor Sargeant generated such a reaction.
Educational Research
Educational Research 1972: 14 (3), 225-230

This paper reports the results of an investigation into the proportional participation of West Indian boys in secondary school sports teams. Information on participation in the first two years was obtained by questionnaire from 969 third‐year boys of whom 13 per cent were West Indian, and analysed in two groupings, the top and botton half streams. An overwhelming predominance of West Indian boys proportionate to their numbers were found in soccer, cricket and athletics.

A secondary finding was a high correlation between academic ability and participation; both West Indian and white English participation was proportionally higher in the top streams.


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