What’s on offer to keep pupils active during chillier months? WT speaks to Dulwich Prep Cranbrook and The King’s School, Canterbury about the range of sports available.

Mrs Jo Wilson, Head of PE and Games at Dulwich Prep Cranbrook

What range of sporting activities do you offer through the winter months?

At Dulwich Prep Cranbrook the aim is always to offer as many different options as possible, whilst ensuring all children have a grounding in the mainstream sports. Football, rugby, hockey, lacrosse and netball are the main winter sports, alongside cross-country running. There is also a swimming squad and an equestrian team. Children can then choose to further their skills with after-school and lunch-time clubs. We are very proud of the number of elite players the school produces across all sports from table tennis to triathlon at county, regional and national level.

Which are proving to be most popular?

Sports Clubs in Little Stream (Years 1-4) are open to all, and it is interesting to see how many girls are joining in with football and rugby. There is now a separate girls’ football team for Upper School. This term we are working with two top professional football coaches to further stretch our teams, and often have visiting coaches in school to lead sessions. Already this term we were joined by a hockey coach who has trained England player Maddie Hinch, for a goal-keeping seminar.

Do participants have the opportunity to travel outside the school for matches?

Every child will play in competitive matches, and have the opportunity to represent their school. It is a lovely opportunity for family to come and watch and cheer on their team and most importantly enjoy a match tea afterwards! Most matches are during the school day and occasionally on a Saturday.

How do you engage those pupils who may be reluctant to take part in traditional winter sports? Are there alternative options to keep active?

Not every child will enjoy traditional team sports, which is why the Dulwich Inspires Wednesday afternoon programme is so important. Children can choose from a range of exciting options – this term includes Drawing, Walking and Talking, involving a countryside ramble and chat; or abseiling and climbing at a local outdoor centre. Ballet and Karate are also on offer. Every week we hold the Dulwich Run at break time. Open to children and staff it is a great opportunity to get outside and blow away the cobwebs. Other alternatives include Parkour Club, yoga and relaxation and badminton. We also run a very popular ski trip every winter.

Find out more at dulwichprepcranbrook.org

Richard Singfield, Director of Sport, The King’s School, Canterbury

What range of sporting activities do you offer through the winter months?

Name the sport and the chances are that The King’s School, Canterbury can offer it, or at the very least aid with training that can augment a pupil’s talent or passion. Sports on offer throughout winter vary from the traditional team sports of football, hockey, lacrosse, netball and rugby to more individual endeavours such as badminton, fencing, horse riding, cross country, golf (making use of the indoor simulator), sailing, shooting, squash and swimming.

Which are proving to be most popular?

Hockey, rugby, football and netball are played by all pupils throughout the school during the Autumn and Lent terms with multiple teams of varied abilities catered for. Beyond the school playing fields, sports such as swimming, fencing and rowing are very popular, helped by the great coaching and facilities on offer. A new indoor sports facility at the school’s Malthouse site features 18 underfloor fencing pistes making it the third biggest in England. The strong history of rowing at King’s no doubt plays a part in its popularity with former pupils including Olympic medallists Tom Ransley, Frances Houghton and Fred Scarlett.

Do participants have the opportunity to travel outside the school for matches?

A full schedule of fixtures against other schools ensures all pupils have an opportunity to compete should they wish. The school is also always prepared to help those with special talents that go beyond what King’s can feasibly offer. Former pupil and Winter Paralympic skier Millie Knight (pictured) is a perfect example. Her busy schedule required arranging time for her important training regime and travel alongside her studies. Her hard work certainly paid off when she returned from the 2019 PyeongChang Winter Paralympics with three medals.
How do you engage those pupils who may be reluctant to take part in traditional winter sports? Are there alternative options to keep active?

‘Enjoyable Sport for All’ sums up the King’s approach. A balanced approach to winning and losing is seen as an integral part of a rounded, holistic education. Alongside the general sports on offer, King’s has a very wide-ranging and popular activities programme that makes good use of the school’s Recreation Centre. Various indoor sports and activities such as aerobics, pilates, basketball, badminton, and squash are available alongside a well-equipped gym, fitness studio and strength and conditioning room meaning there really is something for everyone. 

Find out more at kings-school.co.uk

Dulwich Prep Cranbrook sports

Millie Knight, Winter Paralympian

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