Sport at Knighton House
We believe it is important to grow an interest in sport early in life and to take on into adulthood the skills it develops. From the very beginning, from Nursery onwards, we teach the physical benefits of being active, but as importantly, we are increasing pupils’ self-esteem, building their confidence and training mental agility. Every pupil has sport lessons during the week, as well as the opportunity to take part in extra-curricular sports clubs.
Sport is integral to our school life and we encourage pupils to enjoy and experience it through a varied programme, including traditional team games (Hockey, Netball and Rounders), Athletics, Cross-country running and Swimming, as well as Dance (ballet, modern, jazz and tap), Riding and Fitness.
Knighton strives to encourage participation for all in team sports and during the year, every child will play in A or B team matches; when not playing in team matches, children are offered the opportunity to take part in extra training, sometimes with outside coaches. Inter-house competitions also take place every term to allow all pupils to experience a tournament and the strong team spirit promoted by our House system.
In the autumn term our Astroturf is well used with daily hockey lessons, team training and matches with local schools. In the autumn term, gymnastics begins, with a weekly lesson for every class. There is also the opportunity for extra training in gymnastics club where more advanced skills are developed. Our gymnasts all work hard towards the annual Gymnastic competition, which we regularly host. The spring term focuses on Netball and Cross Country. We take part in local cross-country competitions and throughout the year we make use of our beautiful grounds and the surrounding countryside to train. Summer means Rounders, Tennis and the recent introduction of Cricket and we provide optional tennis tuition throughout the year to get our players ready for the many tournaments and matches which take place then. Swimming takes place all year round and all pupils are taught a variety of strokes as well as personal survival skills.
As well as this, we also strive to give an extra dimension to sport by giving opportunities for children to try new sports: orienteering, climbing, windsurfing, paddle boarding and lacrosse are just some of the other activities we have offered.
We also train to compete at a high level, entering local, IAPS and North Dorset competitions. We regularly represent North Dorset and have competed at National Prep School Athletics events.
Gym is all about body mechanics and body conditioning, which might well lead to somersaults and round-offs, but more importantly leads to quality of movement and control of movement. What we are looking to instil in children is the importance of basic skills done well, laying the foundations for increasing complexity within the skills repertoire. Within the skills, we differentiate, taking one mechanical action i.e. a cartwheel, then encouraging pupils to extend their own skills, progressing on to a round-off and from there to a round-off one handed.
In the gym, we explore the idea of the counterbalance – a super way to practise pair work and support of each-other. We encourage children to be confident in using their bodies, which can then be applied to other sports and other aspects of the curriculum.
In the senior years, we draw on children’s knowledge of science; if they are struggling to master a particular movement, we ask them to consider the physics of it, forces and angles, for example, and their body’s possibilities.