NON-COMPETITIVE sports days at schools have been branded bonkers, the chief education watchdog said on a visit to Huddersfield.
David Bell, Chief Inspector of Schools in England, hit out when he toured Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Primary School in Sheepridge.
He was commenting on the trend of scrapping competitions and sports days to save the feelings of children who lose.
Some schools have asked parents to stay away from sports events so that less athletic children would not be embarrassed by having an audience.
Mr Bell - a former primary school headteacher and once head of education in Newcastle - said: "It is absolutely bonkers to have non-competitive sports.
"When I was teaching I was in favour of competitive sports and still am. They are an important part of school life.
"It doesn't mean only sporty children should be participating, but competition is a fact of life and we need to prepare children for that.
"The vast majority of children want to take part in competitive sports."
One school has already resurrected its old-style sports day - by demand of pupils on the school council.
Georgina Rothery, a teacher at Cowlersley Primary School , said: "It had been a non-competitive event until this year and the idea for it to go back to what it was came from the children.
"We had skipping races, ball races, relay races and parents' races. It went very well.
"All the children understood to encourage their classmates who were not so good at sport, so no-one felt left out."