Page 40 - Independent Schools Magazine
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Louisa Taylor, Director of Sport at Wycombe Abbey School, Buckinghamshire, says it has long been established that the memories girls take away from PE lessons have an enormous in uence on their life-long interest in sport and exercise, and discusses how her innovative programme involves more girls in a wide range of activity...
Engaging girls with a range of enjoyable and interesting sports should be the chief aim of any PE department. Each pupil should leave school with the desire and con dence to walk into a sports centre anywhere in the country and  nd something they want to do.
At Wycombe Abbey we focus a
lot of our attention on making
the most of curriculum PE. The aim of lessons is to help girls
feel comfortable participating
in sport regardless of their level
of skill. Lessons offer something for everyone and we endeavour
to give girls a range of activities
to choose from. Recently, our timetabled lessons offered a Bollywood dance workshop. Use of
the school’s  tness suite remains a popular option. Facilitating this level of autonomy into PE lessons is the  rst step towards enabling girls to become comfortable in a sporting environment.
Staff have a signi cant responsibility to promote a
wide variety of sports which
will appeal to each girl as an individual. In addition, outside
the lessons we work hard to offer a range of optional activities for recreation. Over the past three years, the numbers of girls playing sports simply for fun has risen dramatically. We now have more than 250 girls taking optional tennis lessons. The vast majority of these do not play in a competitive
environment. Niche sports such as fencing and kickboxing are rising in popularity and each week 45 girls take part in Pilates classes.
Aside from competitive successes, acknowledging participation at all levels is the key to building a positive and ambitious sporting culture. We champion girls from across the School through a ‘Pupil of the Week’ award which recognises an individual who has shown exemplary progress or has supported her peers in lessons
or school matches. The award
has been given to girls who have achieved a vault, perfected a
new dive and to one girl for her encouragement of teammates from the poolside.
Importantly, with more girls at Wycombe Abbey playing sports on
a weekly basis than ever before, we have seen bene ts in all areas of school life. Girls develop resilience, leadership and teamwork and playing sports provides them with a wealth of wellbeing bene ts which underpin their academic success. The School’s competitive teams
have also been inspired to greater achievement. We were especially proud to have reached 17 national  nals in 2015/2016 and to have been placed  fth in the School Sports Magazine annual ranking. As we continue to develop and extend our sports programme at Wycombe Abbey, we aim to be able to offer an ever increasing range of activities to provide inspiration for every girl.
the bene ts of being part of a team while learning new skills and gaining valuable life experiences.”
This new investment means that there are now two arti cial hockey pitches at Malvern College and it is a great reward to Malvern hockey players who now compete at national and international levels.
“Sport plays a huge role in the
life of Malvern College girls and boys and helps them to become balanced and well-rounded pupils. Hockey is taken very seriously
by the girls and boys who play
it because it combines physical
and mental determination, self- con dence, team work, and the ability to think and act on your feet,” said Miss Chey West, Director of Sport at Malvern College.
Increasing participation in exercise
Gold Medallist opens hockey pitch
Pupils and staff at Malvern College, Worcestershire, welcomed Lily Owsley MBE, GB Hockey player
and Rio Olympics Gold Medallist,
to of cially open their new international standard hockey pitch.
The new  oodlit £800,000 water- based professional surface is part of the College’s ongoing multi-million pound investment in academic,
creative and sporting excellence – it will also bene t the local school community, and club and district hockey teams.
The increased enthusiasm and participation in hockey at Malvern College has been inspired by the successes of the GB hockey team in the Olympics and on the world stage. The potential of individual
hockey players at Malvern is being nurtured by the high level of coaching that they receive from full-time staff.
Miss Owsley said: “I am delighted that Malvern College girls and boys along with other local clubs, will bene t from this outstanding international standard pitch. They will continue to discover
Pictured: Back: Lily Owsley (centre) with Antony Clark, Headmaster (centre). Chey West, Director of Sport (far right); Mark Moss, Malvern’s Head Hockey Coach (far left), and Malvern’s girls and boys 1st XI Hockey teams.
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