Our philosophy for Sport at Swanbourne is "To provide an enjoyable environment in a wide variety of activities, that allows all children to develop an interest and enthusiasm for physical activities, along with a high level of skill and understanding relative to their individual potential".
Sport plays a big part of every child’s time at Swanbourne and the nature of our Physical Education and Games programmes reflects a child centred approach. Each term children will take part in lessons in a variety of sports, with the primary aim of engaging young people in a varied programme. Small sided and adapted games such as Fusbal, Charley Cricket and Walla Rugby along with the national body guidelines (RFU continuum, England Hockey etc.) are used to maximise involvement at all ability levels.
Children have many opportunities to represent the school in a variety of sports across the year, which develops their understanding of competitive sport. Although all of our teams play to win, we do emphasise that participation is the most important aspect of playing for Swanbourne House.
The Department and Facilities
The Sports Department comprises of five fully qualified PE teachers, supported by a number of academic school staff with experience and coaching qualifications in a variety of sports. Every child in the Prep school has a PE or Games lesson every day. All lessons are 70 minutes long – allowing activities to be taught and developed thoroughly. Our emphasis is on giving the children a clear vocabulary of movement, plenty of opportunity to practise and problem solve, with a high level of physical activity and enjoyment being a priority in all sessions.
At Swanbourne House we have a wide-range of facilities which enable us to host regular block fixtures in rugby, football, hockey, netball, swimming, tennis and cricket. In conjunction with our playing fields and two astros we have: a squash court, a 20m swimming pool, an athletics track, a mixture of grass and artificial cricket nets, 10 tennis courts, a Cricket Pavilion, a dance studio and a 6-hole golf course. Our indoor sports hall can accommodate three badminton courts as well as facilitating indoor cricket nets, mini basketball courts and can be used for additional extra-curricular activities such as karate, gymnastics and table tennis.
Matches and Match Day
Our A teams regularly achieve success in inter school matches and local and national tournaments and our B and C teams allow all children the chance to play consistently, whilst maintaining a high standard of performance. Matches for children in 9s-Top Year are mainly played on a Wednesday and Saturday, with tournaments occasionally falling on other days of the week. Junior teams also play matches on a Tuesday afternoon, which allows more experienced and qualified staff to work with the young teams.
Wednesday Afternoon Programme
Wednesdays, along with Saturdays, are the primary match days with most children involved on a weekly basis. Children not involved in matches on a particular Wednesday are given a one hour physical activity (which may be the game of the term) and another session which could be arts, science, dance or minor sports related.
Tennis Coaching Programme
Mr Sumpter leads and coordinates the tennis programme comprising group lessons for Pre-prep and Prep school children, along with pair and individual lessons and for the more advanced players Squad Sessions. There are currently four coaches involved in this very successful programme.
The school runs a successful touring programme for children in 10s and above:
- U11 Rugby Tour to Devon (Annual)
- U11 Girls Hockey Tour to Devon
- U11-U13 Girls Hockey Tour to Netherlands (Biannual)
- 1st XI Cricket Tour to West Sussex (Annual)
- U13 Football Tour to Madrid (Biannual)
Sports Scholarship Mentoring Programme
This programme is designed to give sport specific support to those children the school have highlighted as being strong senior school sport scholarship candidates. Those selected pupils participate in the programme for two years commencing at the beginning of the 11s.
Each child receives an online mentoring booklet that they complete over the first 18 months of the programme, highlighting their achievements in a range of sports. The children on this programme are challenged to think more reflectively about sport and look at the requirements to play at a performance level. The group visit several national performance centres over the course of the year including Bisham Abbey, Loughborough University and the LTA training base in Roehampton. These trips are designed to give the children an insight into the world of elite sport, something many of them aspire to be involved in.
In the past five years children from Swanbourne House have achieved sport scholarships (as individual awards or as part of an all-rounder award) to:
- Stowe (6)
- Bloxham (3)
- Oundle (3)
- St Edwards, Oxford (3)
- Akeley Wood (1)
- Bedford (1)
- Christ’s Hospital (1)
- Marlborough (1)
In the Autumn Term boys and girls take part in the following sports: Rugby (Boys major game), Football, Hockey (Girls major game), Gymnastics, Swimming, Health Related Fitness, Cross Country, Basketball, Swimming and Lacrosse (Girls only).
In the Spring Term boys and girls take part in the following sports: Football (Boys major game), Hockey (Boys major game), Netball (Girls major game), Swimming, Indoor Athletics, Tennis, Lacrosse (Girls only), Indoor Cricket (Girls only) and Cricket (Boys only).
In the Summer Term boys and girls take part in the following sports: Cricket (Boys only), Rounders (Girls only), Tennis, Athletics and Swimming.
Boys play some form of contact from the age of 8 having played ‘Walla’ and ‘Tag’ rugby in the 7s. When they reach the 10s boys have the opportunity to go on a rugby tour to the South West, whilst the senior teams play an extensive 15-a-side fixture list throughout the term. The senior teams also take part in 7s rugby competitions between November and March at a local and regional level.
Both boys and girls take part in Hockey sessions over the course of the first two terms. The girls play matches throughout the Autumn Term, whilst the boys play in the Spring Term. The majority of matches are played as 7-a-side, although the senior boy’s teams do play several 11-a-side matches at the beginning of the Spring Term. Both boys and girls teams enter IAPS and Prep School tournaments and achieve success at both levels.
The boys regularly play matches against other schools across all year groups from the 7s upwards. A mixture of 5, 7 and 9-a-side matches are played by boys in the 7s – 10s. The senior teams play 11-a-side football and some boys have the chance to go on the schools biannual tour to Madrid.
In the Spring Term all girls teams participate in netball sessions in preparation for an extensive fixture list that all teams take part in. Every girl regularly plays for one of the many teams the school fields on a Wednesday and Saturday afternoon. The U11, U12 and U13 teams regularly enter the IAPS and other Prep School tournaments and enjoy success, especially at Inter Prep School events.
In the Summer Term boys in the 9s-Top Year take part in an extensive fixture programme that allows every boy to play in at least three fixtures. Boys in the 7s and 8s play pairs cricket with a softer ball, whilst all other teams play hard ball cricket in every match. The senior teams have the chance to be involved in the Winter Training programme, whereby boys train for 9 weeks in preparation for the season ahead.
During the Summer Term all girls throughout the school play competitive rounders matches against other schools. The U11 team also enter a local Prep School tournament giving all girls the chance to play against other schools.
This has been an ‘all-year’ round sport for the children in the school as they take part in cross country during the Autumn Term, indoor athletics in the Spring and the go outside for the regular season. Children in the Junior School take part in inter school festivals, whilst the older athletes have the chance to compete at several triangular events, IAPS competitions, and of course, our own Sports Day.
Children have started to play tennis in their PE lesson all year round, which has certainly helped the continuity of the sport throughout the school. From mini tennis, to inter school festivals, to matches against other schools and the Annual Repton Tournament, there is lots of opportunity to take part in tennis at Swanbourne.
In its third year, girls in the senior year groups are invited, in the Spring Term, to play indoor cricket. A team is then picked to represent the school in the Lady Tavener’s indoor competition, which gives those selected girls exposure to competitive cricket. There is also a Summer Term house competition for the girls.
Although Basketball is not played regularly, the children are introduced to the basic skills of this sport from an early age. A mixed U11 team has participated in a local inter prep school tournament over the last couple of years, again adding competition to the experience had by these children.
We are fortunate that we have a super indoor pool. All children swim every week during the Autumn and Spring terms allowing them all to become competent swimmers and for the stronger swimmers to develop their technique and fitness ready for Galas, without necessarily attending the school swim squads. In the Summer Term the 7s and 8s continue to develop their skills in the water.
Girls in the top year have fairly regular sessions of lacrosse throughout the Autumn and Spring terms and a selected group play an annual match against Stowe.
The school team compete in show jumping and eventer challenge competitions. These have included NSEA Grass Roots and NSEA County Challenge Qualifiers. We have proudly qualified for the NSEA National Championships for the last four years at 80cm. The team have also successfully competed in the Bloxham Eventer Challenge at Aston-le-Walls.
One of the highlights of the year is the 'Ride from School'. Children, parents and ponies are invited to ride around the beautiful Swanbourne Estate.