How the Tennis Foundation’s Schools Tennis Membership package has helped Deal Parochial Primary School to expand their tennis activities and provide new opportunities for pupils…
Deal Parochial Primary School, Kent’s 2017 LTA Education Award winners, established their tennis programme in Autumn 2016, making great use of the fantastic all-year round facility at the local Deal Indoor Tennis Centre. When they found out about the Tennis Foundation’s Schools Tennis Membership package, where one benefit is that schools can apply for a small grant of up to £500 to support tennis delivery in a school setting, they completed the application and deservedly were successful. Having a grant has enabled Deal Parochial Primary School to enhance their sporting provision with the addition of 3 mini-tennis courts. The mini-courts have been permanently marked out on their playground, which has opened up several opportunities to the children by providing them with additional tennis facilities. Tennis co-ordinator at the school, Karen Hodgson, explained how much the grant has helped:
‘The mini-courts that were permanently marked out on our playground in the early summer have been a wonderful addition to our tennis programme as they have allowed our school to provide more tennis activities on the school premises. This is particularly beneficial for our youngest children as they can play tennis on site. Consequently, during the summer, we introduced curriculum PE tennis lessons for the children in our Reception class. It was lovely to see our Reception pupils line up to go to their PE tennis lessons with such excited anticipation.’
The courts are in use every lunchtime (British weather permitting), as well as for many additional tennis sessions taking place each week. As a result of these new mini-courts, a new KS1 tennis club (for Years R, 1 and 2) was formed.
‘Our new mini-courts were also the catalyst for us setting up an after-school tennis club catering for our youngest children. The children were so enthusiastic and really enjoyed their tennis club. To conclude the club for the summer term, we organised a ‘Summertime Slam’ which was a resounding success.’
Another new feature to the school’s tennis calendar was the ‘Summertime Slam’ involving 13 young tennis players, as well as mums, dads, and siblings, taking part in a fun festival of tennis drills and exercises. After the tennis, all participants and helpers were able to indulge in strawberries and cream before each child received a ‘Summertime Slam’ certificate and a ‘Wimbledon Championships’ pencil.
Due to their boosted facilities, the school now have a thriving red ball tennis cohort and are introducing before-school tennis sessions for girls on the mini-courts with the initial response being extremely positive. They’ve also provided lots of added context to existing tennis activities including sessions for children with additional needs, subsequently improving their confidence and concentration skills.
‘Overall the mini-courts have helped continue the real buzz about tennis across the school community.’
In addition to the grant, Deal Parochial Primary School also received tickets to Wimbledon through the Schools’ Wimbledon Ballot, another benefit of having a Schools Tennis Membership. The school received Court No.2 tickets where they were entertained by two of the world’s best players in the glorious weather. One of the pupils in attendance referred to the day as the ‘best day ever’.
To find out more about Schools Tennis Membership and the member benefits including access to the Small Grants Scheme, Schools Wimbledon Ballot, and discount off tennis equipment, please click here.