At Pocklington School, we take pride in fostering a love for sport and physical activity in all our pupils, starting from Pre-School and extending up to Sixth Form. We believe that participating in sport helps children develop essential life skills like resilience, teamwork, and determination, and prepares them for challenges that may come their way. In this blog, Emily Kendra, Year 6 teacher at Pocklington Prep School, summarises the sporting curriculum on offer to pupils in Prep School and outlines the benefits of this programme.
‘At Pocklington Prep, we see sport as a chance for children to grow, shine and explore physical activity in multiple ways. Our children are not put under a crushing pressure to win, nor is sport deprioritised and forgotten. Rather, our aim is to encourage as many children as possible to participate in life long physical activity and to reap the benefits that sport brings both on and off the pitch.
We offer a comprehensive sporting curriculum for our pupils, covering five main areas of learning: gymnastics, dance, cross country, health and fitness and athletics. Our youngest pupils engage in a minimum of three hours of sport a week and from Year 3, pupils enjoy a minimum of five hours a week which will be a combination of PE, games and swimming lessons. Our head of department, Russ Parker, oversees the implementation of this programme, aided by specialist coaching and teaching staff, to ensure that each child is given the opportunity to discover and develop their athletic abilities. In Year 3, pupils begin participating in competitive sports like cricket, hockey, netball and rugby. The popularity of our girls’ cricket team reflects the national trend for growth in this area.
In addition to our regular curriculum, we offer a range of after-school and lunchtime clubs. Co-curricular sport gives children a chance to continue developing their skills, build relationships with their peers and staff and to ‘let off steam’ after a busy day in the classroom. We currently offer over ten different co-curricular sports clubs over the year, which are well attended. On a dark winter's evening you will just be able to see over 50 children at cross country club, lighting up our 50-acre site with their head torches - all on a voluntary basis!
At Pocklington, our emphasis on sport goes beyond mere participation. We see competitions and tournaments as an opportunity for our children to embody the school's values of courage, truth and trust. Pupils work together to communicate, show resilience, and strive to achieve victory – qualities that will help them in all aspects of their future life. By the time pupils reach the end of Year 4, we hope every single child will have had opportunity to represent Pocklington School and wear the Pocklington shirt with pride and ambition. Furthermore, we endeavour to support those children who are hoping to reach performance status in different sports by entering regional tournaments and competitions, where they can achieve both individual and team success, which will help them on their pathway to elite sport.
What truly sets Pocklington School apart, is the joy found in watching our pupils develop their resilience, passion and commitment to sports. As teachers, we derive as much pleasure from seeing a child push themselves to break personal records, as we do from watching them win a tournament. Our goal at Pocklington School is not just to instil a love for sport in our pupils, but to prepare them for a lifetime of physical activity and wellbeing. If in 30 years’ time our pupils are still finding sport exhilarating, then we’ll know that our job is done.’