40 new schools from across the country have joined the Tennis Foundation’s innovative secondary schools programme School of Tennis taking the total number of schools supported to 61.
The 40 new schools were welcomed onto the programme with a national training day at Loughborough University which brought together PE staff and Senior Leadership Team staff from the schools to enjoy a busy day of learning and on court activity to equip them with the skills and knowledge to implement the School of Tennis programme in their secondary school.
The 40 new schools will join the 21 schools already on the programme following an incredibly successful pilot in 2016 with 94% of stakeholders stating that there has been a significant impact and radical overhaul of tennis delivery within their school since the start of the programme.
The programme, run by Britain’s leading tennis charity the Tennis Foundation, aims to radically change the way tennis is delivered in secondary schools to make it more relevant and engaging for teenagers. There is a sharp dip in tennis participation as young people reach their mid-teens and many don’t realise the many varieties of tennis available away from the traditional game. The School of Tennis programme aims to reverse this decline by giving secondary schools the support and funding needed so they can deliver tennis in the form and way that best suits their school and their pupils.
94% of stakeholders stated that they have witnessed personal development in those taking part in the programme, whilst 90% believe the programme has increased the confidence and competence of both participants and ambassadors highlighting the positive impact that tennis can have both on and off court.
Each school is eligible to receive up to £5,000 worth of support in the first year of the three year programme with further funding available in Years 2 and 3 based upon an annual progress review.
Christine Sprowell, Schools Manager at the Tennis Foundation said: “We are delighted to welcome 40 new schools onto the School of Tennis Programme. As shown from our pilot programme last year the Programme has had a really positive effect on the pupil’s engagement and confidence as well as how tennis is delivered in schools. As part of our wider Education Strategy we want more students to enjoy the physical, social and mental benefits of playing tennis and our School of Tennis Programme is proven to be doing that.”
Lee Fletcher, Director of Extended Services at CTC Kingshurst Academy in Birmingham, who were part of the pilot programme last year said: “We have used the School of Tennis programme to ensure that tennis is a sport for everyone and to benefit all aspects of the curriculum, particularly the student’s personal development. We have looked at innovative approaches such as purchasing a drone so the mathematics department can analyse performances on the court which engages pupils and all areas of the school.
“The impact has been phenomenal, it has enthused the youngsters and given our pupils so many brilliant opportunities they otherwise wouldn’t experience such as going to Wimbledon and the Davis Cup. We’re now appointing our own full time tennis coach who will be able to upskill the teachers to ensure the project is sustainable for years to come.”
Martin Sangster part of the Senior Management Team at Musselburgh Grammar School in East Lothian, one of the new schools to join the programme, said: “Tennis is definitely an area of the school we can develop; we currently have very little tennis provision. The objectives I see for our school is for both junior and senior students. We have an elective programme in senior school and I hope our senior students will take on an ambassadorial role within the programme. We’re not looking for this to be a two or three year programme, we want to use this to embed tennis in the school and grow links with the tennis club in the community.”