The Castle Court Tennis Academy launched in September 2013, and is already seeing huge success for its squad members, who are benefitting from the combination of elite tennis development and coaching, academic tutoring and strong pastoral support.
January 2014 saw the launch of the final stage of the tennis coaching programme at Castle Court, the Early Morning Tennis Camp at Virgin Active Poole. Tennis is now part of the sports curriculum for all children from two to thirteen, and those children who show talent in these lessons are invited to attend the early morning coaching sessions at Virgin Active in Poole. They are then able to be further talent spotted to join the Academy programme, and so become part of the LTA training programme.
Nick Robinson, assistant head and director of sport at Castle Court, commented; “We are excited to be working with the tennis coaches at Virgin Active to develop the tennis programme at Castle Court. Tennis is now a key part of our sports programme. Tennis helps to build stamina and co-ordination with the younger children, skills that can be transferred to all sports, and for older children they now have a route to follow if they want to develop their tennis to the next level. The facilities at Virgin Active are fabulous and will enable the children who attend the sessions to truly reach their tennis potential.”
The current Castle Court Tennis Academy squad are all doing exceptionally well, demonstrating how a co-ordinated approach can ensure that the children reach their potential across all areas of their school life.
Toby Samuel, Year 7, has been selected to play for U12 boys GB team at the European Winter Cup, with the first round of matches taking place in Estonia at the end of January. He spent the first week of the New Year in Paris at a Tennis Europe 12U tournament. Toby is currently the number one boy in the GB 11U rankings.
Alex Knox-Jones, Year 6, towards the end of 2013 was invited to attend an 11&U national training camp at the Lawn Tennis Association’s (LTA) national tennis centre at Roehampton, and as a result of his performance, Alex is hoping to be chosen to participate in the Aegon Future Stars programme which will see him playing against other talented players across Europe.
Mollie Edge, Year 5, ended 2013 by coming fifth in a national tournament held in Manchester. As a result she has been invited to attend three regional development training camps.
Other members of the squad continue to do well at a local and county level.”
Richard Stevenson, headmaster, added; “We believe that Castle Court’s tennis programme is unique in the region. The combination of excellent tennis coaching, a rigorous academic tutor system and strong mentoring and pastoral support have, even after six months, paid huge dividends.”
Highgate school pupil wins national Mandarin speaking competition
Ariel Reingold, a Y12 pupil at Highgate School in North London, last night won the HSBC/British Council Mandarin Speaking competition, which supports and promotes the teaching of Mandarin Chinese as a modern foreign language in UK schools.
Ariel, 17, was one of three finalists from Highgate to have got through the preliminary stages. He took part in the Advanced category along with six other finalists, and was victorious at the event, held at the British Museum on 3rd February. He has been studying Mandarin for four years. The subject was introduced at Highgate School, a co-educational independent day school with around 1000 pupils, in 2009 and now has 11 pupils currently studying it for AS/A2 and 47 taking it to GCSE.
Qing Wallis, head of Mandarin at Highgate, said; “It’s an extraordinarily impressive achievement for Ariel, especially considering that he was up against pupils from schools such as St Paul’s and Wellington, where Mandarin is taught from a much earlier age. Mandarin as a language is so important now on the global stage: it will soon become as valuable a skill as spoken English.”
Mrs Wallis took a number of Highgate pupils on a trip to China last October, visiting Beijing and Xi’an and introducing the students to many aspects of Chinese culture. Ariel’s prize is to visit China this Easter, along with nine other winners from the three categories, where they will explore cultural activities with Chinese students at local schools.
The British Council and HSBC have been working together to promote the study of Chinese language and culture in the UK since 2000. The competition is part of their joint work to prepare children in the UK for life in a global society and work in a global economy.