The importance of sport
How Bredon School encourages participation, inclusivity, enjoyment and success.
By David Hughes
Director of Sport, Bredon School
Here at Bredon we are blessed with an incredible range of facilities as well as a fantastic range of sporting expertise across the staff body. Our aspirations are to create a sporting environment that will support those who aspire to compete at the highest level, whilst offering encouragement and meaningful variety to develop the confidence of those students who are more focused on enjoyment and physical activity.
We are proud of the breadth of sporting activities that we are able to facilitate within our school and of the impact that our subject area can have on developing the confidence of our pupils. All pupils have two games afternoons per week, and through this provision we combine year groups to prepare teams to compete at U11, U13, U15 and U18 across the range of our core sports.
In the autumn term our focus is on hockey for girls and rugby for boys. In spring, this shifts to netball for girls and football for boys, and we complete the school year with a focus on athletics and cricket for all during the summer term. By placing a focus on these core sports and limiting the number of age categories we compete in, we are able to engage in a busy fixtures schedule offering pupils the opportunity to have an identity at Bredon as part of their respective squads.
We have developed a strong fixture list that creates opportunities to engage with similar-sized schools to offer well balanced competition for our pupils. We also continue to build relationships with local sports clubs such as Upton Rugby Club and Lansdown Hockey Club to ensure that our borders have opportunities to engage in local club teams outside of school.
In addition to the core sports, we also compete in a wide range of other sports preparing pupils for a broad range of participative events throughout the academic year.
Our Clay Pigeon Shooting team is credited with being our most successful, having been crowned National Schools Champions at the Holland and Holland shooting ground in 2021 and putting up a strong defence of their title with a less experienced team in 2022. We bring in specialist coaches each week to teach pupils of all ages, abilities and experiences. As an activity, CPS is particularly popular in our student body.
Cross country running is another popular activity. An inter-house steeplechase competition was introduced in 2021 as a whole school event which takes place in the autumn term within our school grounds and has quickly become a key date within our sporting calendar. Pupils also have opportunities to compete through inter-house cross country running competitions, in regional events hosted by the Independent Schools Association, and for the first time in 2022, to take part in the prestigious inter-schools National Cross Country relay event hosted by King Henry VIII School in Coventry.
On our astroturf we have four, high quality tennis courts and welcomed a professional tennis coach to work with our pupils in games last academic year. We entered a team into the National ISA U15 Tennis competition hosted at Rugby School where one of our Year 10s was victorious, winning the national ISA singles title.
We also have a number of enthusiastic and talented rock climbers within our school. With outdoor education being an allocated lesson each week for pupils up to year 9, younger pupils within the school will develop their climbing skills and confidence on our purpose-built facility at school. As pupils progress up the school years, climbing then becomes an option within our games provision with pupils travelling to Redpoint Climbing Centre in Worcester for externally coached sessions on a weekly basis. As a school, we are proud to have hosted the ISA National Climbing competition at Redpoint numerous times, creating the opportunity for our pupils to test their skills against some of the best young climbers in the country.
Equestrianism is a huge passion for many of the pupils within our school and we have great links with nearby The Elms School so that all pupils in our junior school have access to the sport on a weekly basis. Pupils in the senior school have this opportunity through a weekend activity. Many of our pupils compete in equestrianism on a regular basis away from school, and moving forwards we have secured our affiliation to National Schools Equestrian Association (NSEA) so that our pupils will have opportunities to represent their school in high quality events too.
As an affiliate of the SchoolsGolf tour, pupils at Bredon have access to a fantastic range of events that take place at some of the best Championship golf courses across the UK. Bredonians have competed at a number of tournaments including the season finals hosted at Royal Porthcawl. In order to prepare pupils to step up to competing in these events we have a group coaching session with a PGA professional at Sherdon’s Golf Centre near Tewkesbury on a weekly basis, and are moving towards creating inter-house events, fixtures against the staff and engaging with the Old Bredonians network to host an annual golf day.
Basketball is another sport that is particularly popular with our boarding community. Basketball training, led by coaches from Worcester Wolves, is a regular feature of their evening activities and many of our pupils are becoming increasingly passionate about further developing their sport at Bredon. To support this, we now have opportunities to practise their skills during weekday lunch time clubs and have recently re-established our school basketball team and have enjoyed competitive fixtures against other teams.
As you can see, we are hugely proud of the quality and breadth of sporting opportunities available at Bredon, but we are equally passionate about developing this offer further.
It is our aspiration to ensure that over time, the quality of our pupils' experiences in sport continues to improve. To do this we have areas that we will be targeting, including expanding the extent to which we engage in fixtures on Saturdays, building a culture of regular sports tours to broaden the horizons of our pupils, and to improve the extent to which our pupils prepare for their sports through pre-season training opportunities.
Sport at Bredon brings numerous benefits and transferable skills for everyone - whether they’re participating purely for enjoyment and exercise, to competing at a school, regional or national level as an individual or as part of a squad. It teaches pupils the importance of communication, cooperation, planning, teamwork, discipline, leadership, commitment, determination, self-development and self-belief.
And for many of our dyslexic pupils, sports provides them with an incredibly rewarding opportunity to excel at something away from the pressures of the classroom, to experience success and grow in confidence. Sounds like a win-win situation to me!