We place great emphasis on school sport and physical activity at Spring Grove. Apart from encouraging health and fitness, sport helps children to develop their self-esteem, self-confidence, communication, discipline and respect, both as individuals and as part of a team.
Our primary aim is to give all the children at Spring Grove the opportunity to try out and experience a wide range of sports, which they may then choose to pursue outside school (in one of the many excellent local clubs, for example) and even continue into adult life.
Beyond this immediate aim is the importance of the links between sport and our school values – craftsmanship, confidence, curiosity etc. We know from research that physical activity is linked to educational achievement and improved mental health and wellbeing. Sport also teaches important life skills such as perseverance, teamwork, resilience and discipline. In addition, playing competitive sport allows children to experience and process any emotions associated with both winning and losing – learning respect and humility in victory and the ability to bounce back after a loss. This is very much the philosophy regarded as growth mindset, and sport allows so many opportunities for success and failure in a very short space of time.
Early Years and Pre-Prep
‘Multi-sports’ skills are taught from Early Years (Nursery and Reception) upwards. The lessons include warm-up games and the generic skills (ball skills, movement, fine-motor skills, awareness of space and each other, use of equipment, etc.) that are the cornerstones for the sports that the children will start to play in Prep 3, and the lessons are planned, adapted and led by a trained member of staff.
Sport in Preps 3-6
In Key Stage 2, our children work with qualified and experienced coaches. Boys and girls play rugby, football, hockey, netball and cricket. We also offer swimming (Summer term, and the first part of the Autumn term) in our heated swimming pool, athletics, cross-country and tennis. Training for tennis, netball, cricket and football takes place on the school MUGA, and we also take our hockey players to Ashford Hockey Club‘s Ball Lane pitch for training and matches.
We run after-school sports clubs for all abilities, as well as high-intensity clubs specifically to extend children from Preps 3 to 6. These clubs are aimed at children who are keen on sport and willing and ready in their learning to participate in high-tempo sessions that cover teamwork, footwork, speed of thought, speed of movement, game sense etc. – all transferable skills that can be used in any of the team sports we play across the course of the year.
The method of delivery for sport in lessons and clubs is tightly linked to mastery practice – the expectation that all pupils reach a minimum age-related, but high level of knowledge and skill, carefully sequenced teaching that progresses the subject, corrective teaching and coaching, and most importantly ongoing deliberate practice of core skills to embed them.
Fixtures and Representation
There is an extensive fixture list and every child in Preps 3 to 6 is given the opportunity to represent the school in fixtures at the level that is appropriate to their learning. Our priority is always to carefully match the team ability against the ability of the pupils we’re playing against, so that fixtures are reasonably equal and always meaningful for the children. The more able children may also have the chance to represent the school at county, regional and national levels in a wide range of sports, with regular success, for example at the annual IAPS cross country event in Malvern. Many of our older boys and girls also play for local clubs such as Canterbury Rugby Club, and Canterbury and Ashford hockey clubs.
Our House competitions take place in all the major games with all of the children enjoying the close competition this brings. We also hold several large-scale sporting events at Spring Grove which are well attended by local schools, including the Key Stage 1 Fun Run, Inter-Schools Cross Country, Inter-Schools Athletics and both boys’ and girls’ football tournaments.