Prep Sport

All our Preparatory School children benefit from a wide and balanced physical education and sports programme.

Led by our dedicated Prep sports department every pupil has 2 games sessions a week, a fixtures afternoon and a dedicated PE lesson. There is also the opportunity to take part in sports clubs before, during and after school and Saturday afternoon fixtures. PE lessons are taught by our highly qualified PE trained staff.  In addition, games lessons are taught by both Prep and Senior school staff, many of whom have played professionally and are assisted by professional sports coaches. 

From developing skills and learning about health and fitness, aesthetic movement to improving performance, our PE and games curriculum offers the opportunity to participate and compete in a broad range of sports. Using our outstanding facilities, the small class sizes allow our children to benefit from specialised individual coaching. The departments’ ethos and aims are that all pupils are given the opportunities to reach their own level of ‘individual excellence’. As a school, we are proud that every pupil will represent the school in all of their main sports. This will be the case in the majority of their fixture afternoons. 

Sports available include rugby, hockey, netball, cricket, tennis, table tennis, swimming, football, squash, rounders, cross country and athletics.  The school offers sports tours, domestically and in Europe, for many sports. 

Whether your child is representing the school by competing in regional, county or national competitions, or indulging in a little healthy in-house rivalry with house competitions, they’ll learn the importance of working as a team to achieve outstanding results and have fun! 

Aikido/Karate

Aikido/Karate

Aikido is a popular club that runs from reception up to Year 8.  Sensei Lawrence covers all of the syllabus, from Ukemi to Shomenuchi as the pupils work through their belts. 

Athletics

Athletics

Athletics becomes one of the main focuses for the pupils in the Summer term. Both boys and girls partake in athletics in the summer in their PE lessons and as part of their after school activity programme.  Here they enjoy perfecting their skills and techniques in the various running, jumping and throwing disciplines.  Pupils are coached by experienced and qualified coaches in events appropriate to their age and ability.  

The Preparatory School has its own 200m track and jumping pit. As part of the shared sporting facilities at Taunton School pupils also use the 400m grass running track and throwing cages/areas.

Fixtures take place with other local schools from Year 3.  Many of the pupils go on to compete at county and national level in competitions such as the National Prep School Championships and the ESAA Track and Field Cup. For many the highlight of the year is participating in events during the School Sports Day in May. 

Biathle

Biathle

Biathle is a continuous run-swim-run competition for all ages from seven to seventy! The competition consists of a pack start followed by a run, a swim before a final run to the finish line. Biathlon is slightly different in that the run and swim are completed separately, i.e. it is not a continuous run/swim. Distances vary depending on age with U9 run 400m and swim 25m and U10, U11, U12 running 800m and swim 50m. The U13, U14 run 1,600m and swim 100m. 

Pupils can compete at events locally and regionally with some of the pupils qualifying for annual national finals. Pupils can swim train every evening after school and attend the weekly cross country club. The Saturday morning Biathlon enrichment club is a popular option for pupils in Years 3-6. 

Cricket

Cricket

Cricket is the main sport for both boys and girls in the Summer Term within their games and fixtures. Marcus Trescothick, England Batting Coach and former ex England and Somerset County Cricketer, is part of the weekly sessions in both schools as is Director of Cricket, Pete Sanderson. Pete Sanderson, is responsible for cricket’s provision across the campus and he works closely with Shaun Winsor and Nicola Foad sharing philosophy of match play, training methods and aims for consistency across the journey from Year 3 to Year 13. Within the aims, is that all levels are important and can progress, they need energy, enthusiasm and having fun is high on the agenda. Various training and match formats are explored to meet all players’ levels.

The Prep school has 2 dedicated Cricket pitches and 4 outdoor nets but can access facilities over the whole campus, 5 squares and grass nets.

Indoor facilities are also shared as cricket is all year round at Taunton. Senior and Prep school indoor nets are utilised from September. Initially for players nominated for representative trials but for those in the county performance pathway. Besides the performance programme for our district and county cricketers, there are open sessions for all students looking to develop their individual skills in batting, bowling, fielding and wicket-keeping. There are group sessions for girls as they prepare for the indoor nationals and outdoor matches.  We are a proud Prep school regularly having the highest number of boys and girls in the Somerset Pathway programme from any other local school. 

Fixtures are a mixture of national and county cups alongside block fixtures with other schools, in addition we host touring teams, county age groups and Year 7 have a domestic tour. Every pupil in the Prep School will be involved across 22 teams. Matches happen on Wednesdays, some Saturdays and other weekends for Year 3/4 plus cup competitions. Teams are either within age groups, or we switch to 1st, 2nd and 3rd XI teams. In national and county cups we select on ability not age as we aim to win/reach county cup finals each year.

Cross country

Cross country

Cross country is the most popular whole school activity. With nearly a third of the pupils from Yr 3 to 8 selecting the club as one of their after school options. 

As part of the broad and varied curriculum, both boys and girls benefit from the experience of qualified athletics coaches and participate in cross country running in the Autumn and Lent terms. Our beautiful surroundings provide both challenging terrain and the perfect backdrop for long distance running. Come rain or shine, pupils are encouraged to build on their performance and develop their fitness, stamina and endurance skills. 

Many pupils take part in county and national competitions, including the ESAA Cross Country Cup, National Preparatory Schools Championships, the Somerset Schools Championships and the South West Championships. Recent success include boys and girls U11 county champions and U13 boys reaching the National Cross Country finals. 

Football

Football

Football is a popular sport for boys and girls from Year 3 to Year 8.  Within PE pupils refine their techniques and develop their invasion skills during their football block.  It is also offered as an activity during after school clubs in the Autumn and Summer terms.  These sessions are run by externally qualified FA coaches.  Fixtures take place with other local independent schools and all pupils play within the annual inter house football competition. 

Each year pupils attend and gain selection for district teams.

 

 

Gymnastics

Gymnastics

All pupils from Reception to Yr 8 participate in gymnastics within their core PE programme.  Using the school’s gymnasium pupils cover floor and vaulting work. Gymnastics is often a popular choice within the Saturday morning Enrichment programme.  

Hockey

Hockey

Hockey is a major part of the school games curriculum from Year 2 to Year 8 for both boys and girls. Girls play hockey as their main sport in the Autumn Term within their games lessons and fixtures afternoons.  Boys focus on hockey in the Lent Term. Sessions are age group and ability differentiated with a focus on Long Term Athlete Development for all players. Clubs run each term to allow pupils to play all year round in their non-hockey term.  

The Preparatory School programme runs parallel to the Senior School programme and is headed by our Director of Hockey, Elliot Foweraker and the schools Head of Hockey Development, Will Abell.  There are a range of expert coaches who deliver an engaging programme for pupils of all abilities. We support the England Hockey player pathway, regularly sending pupils to trials for both JDC and JAC selection.  

The school has excellent facilities including access to three astroturf pitches and two indoor sports halls where we are introducing indoor hockey to pupils as young as Year 5. 

We enter all England Hockey National Schools and IAPS competitions.  In recent years we have been the most successful school in the county winning the majority of the age groups competitions. We have also been National Finalists. 

Long Distance Swimming Club

Long Distance Swimming Club

Taunton School Long Distance Swimming Club is unique within The School running from Years 7 within The Prep School to Year 13 in The Senior School.  It epitomises The School values of Challenge, Nurture and Inspire in what it undertakes and how it achieves it with both staff, as well as senior pupils, mentoring the yearly intake of inexperienced younger members. 

The Club regularly undertake English Channel relay swims, holding the record for the youngest team ever to swim the English Channel, in fact, the top three youngest Channel relay teams currently herald from The Preparatory School.  Pupils have also raced a team drawn from Britain’s elite fighting force, The Royal Marines and have also completed 3 circumnavigations of the island of Jersey. The club also hold the current records for the fastest male and female crossings of the Solent, set when the swimmers were 13 Years of age and raising monies for Aspire, The Spinal Charity. 

The School have six qualified Level 2 Open Water Swimming coaches within their ranks.  Hamish Mccarthy, lead coach and Head of Year 8, said of achieving two consecutive crossings in 2019 “When you’re 10 years of age and you make the decision to train for the English Channel it’s aspirational; when you are then 12 and swim most of it at night it’s just extraordinary, a great feat of courage and resilience”. To date, the club has 19 pupils and 5 staff who have swum the English Channel with a squad currently in training drawn from Year 6 and 7. In all our swimming we swim at a comfortable and consistent pace. We’ve found plodders get to France, sprinters often don’t! 

The Club however is not about records, it’s about achieving great things together as a team. It also has a philanthropic ethos having raised tens of thousands of pounds for local and national charities. All members annually have the opportunity to complete great swim challenges in the South West and train weekly in the sea during the school holidays. Biennially they depart for open water swimming camps with SwimTrek, previously enjoying a week swimming along the Croatia coast and recently the Montenegrin Fjords. 

Life is about courage and going into the unknown, explore it with TSLDSC. 

Netball

Netball

Netball is the girl’s main sport for the Lent term from Year 2 to Year 8. During lessons and fixtures afternoon all pupils follow the England Netball’s pathway. Our younger pupils initially follow the ‘Bee Netball’ programme.  As with the other sports that the girls partake in, they train/play in their age and ability groups. The only exceptions will be in county or national competitions whereas many pupils as possible can represent the school the appropriate level. 

Girls benefit from Netball clubs that runs throughout the autumn in preparation for the beginning of the Netball term in January. The school has a dedicated Head of Netball who coaches across all schools and supports the school pathway.  With 4 dedicated floodlit netball courts and our own Sportshall on the Prep site we also use the Senior school Sportshall and courts for fixture afternoons and after school training session.   

A number of girls each year gain selection for the Somerset Academy squads. Fixtures take place on most Wednesdays and Saturdays with numerous IAPS, local and regional tournaments entered during the year. 

Rowing

Rowing

This new club will be launched in January 2021 as an after school club for pupils in Yr 5-8.  In the winter months’ time will be spent with Prep sports staff land training. Here pupils will be building up core and cardiovascular fitness using the senior school’s extensive fitness suite.  Pupils will work on the treadmills, cross trainers and rowers to build up and maintain fitness levels ready for the river.  In the warmer months the club will move to the river Tone where qualified rowing staff will instruct the pupils on the river.

Rugby

Rugby

The Autumn term sees pupils, from years 3-8, focusing on rugby as their main sport. Following the RFU’s Age Grade Rugby programme pupils are introduced to Tag-Rugby in their PE lessons from Year 2, before playing competitive Tag games against other schools in Year 3. From Year 4 pupils progress to playing contact rugby in lessons and within fixtures.  Pupils play in their age groups as per RFU guidelines and we strongly instil its values of Teamwork, Respect, Enjoyment, Discipline and Sportsmanship. Enjoyment really underpins what we aim to achieve through game play to improve on fundamental skills.  Girl’s rugby has become increasingly popular with opportunities for the girls to also develop their rugby skills. 

Pupils receive expert coaching from staff across both schools. Everything is overseen by the school’s Director of Rugby, Nic Sestaret (former Exeter Chiefs player). This allows for a seamless transition for the pupils moving onto the senior school in Year 9.  Each year we have a large number of pupils who gain selection for the Bristol Bears Academy.  

There are 5 rugby pitches on the Prep site with access to a further 6 across the campus when required. Pupils in Yr 5-8 play block fixtures against other local independent schools in the South West most Wednesdays and some Saturday afternoons.  In Years 3 and 4, fixtures tend to take place on a Monday afternoon with the occasional Saturday morning. 

There is a mini tour to Oxford each year with the Year 6 and 8 teams and in the Lent Term, 7’s rugby is available for the older boys’. The school enters a number of regional tournaments culminating with the national Rosslyn Park 7’s competition 

Shooting

Shooting

In January 2019 we started up a Pistol Shooting Club at the schools range and a Laser Run Club. Both of these clubs have allowed pupils to compete in local, regional and national competitions. It provides another stepping stone for our pupils who may look to compete in the Olympic sport of Modern Pentathlon – shooting, fencing, swimming, horse riding and running. 

Swimming

Swimming

Swimming is a key life school that plays a prominent part of the curriculum from Reception age up.  All pupils swim at least once a week until Year 3. Pupils then swim for at least two half term blocks in their PE lessons. We are very fortunate in having two indoor swimming pools where both boys and girls are coached.  Both of these pools are heated with the Prep School pool being 25m x 10m and the Keeling Pool being 22m x 10m with a depth ranging from 0.9m to 2.2m. 

The Prep and Senior swimming programme is overseen by our Head of Swimming Graham Davidson.  

In addition to curriculum time, swimming clubs run every evening after school and most mornings. These clubs range from development sessions to invite only sessions for school team swimmers.  The school also has a strong link with Taunton Deanne swim club, who use our facilities, and provide more opportunities for our elite swimmers. Graham is also their head coach. 

For competitive swimmers swim galas take place over the year with other Independent schools. This culminates in the ‘Four Schools’ event against the other schools in Taunton. Taunton have retained this cup for the last 7 years. We also enter IAPS and County competitions and each year we would expect numerous individuals and relay teams to qualify for the National School swim finals. In 2019 the U13 girls won the medley relays finals. 

Pupils can also access the schools Long Distance swim club.

invitational long distance training group. Recent successes of Taunton School Long Distance Swimming Club have included a record breaking crossing of The Solent, participation in the St. Michael’s Mount circumnavigation and a race against The Royal Marines across the English Channel. Any long distance swimming compliments the swimming pupils do as part of their curriculum and with the schools swimming clubs and additional training can occur on Sundays (weather dependant) and during the summer. 

Table Tennis and Squash

Table Tennis and Squash

Table tennis is becoming a hugely popular sport at the school.  Initially, it was only part of our Saturday morning enrichment programme.  Due to its popularity it is now part of the rackets programme pupils follow with their PE lessons.  Our external coach also runs after school sessions for development and an invitational advanced group. The school now has 5 outdoor tables used by pupils during break/lunchtimes to go with the 10 indoor tables. The school regularly enters and wins county competitions and in 2020 qualified for the South of England Finals. 

Squash is also part of the rackets PE and Saturday morning Enrichment programme. Within PE lessons Prep staff cover the key fundamentals of the sport. Those wishing to further develop their skills can attend the after school squash clubs run by the schools Head of Squash.  Fixtures are played against other local independent schools and we regularly enter the annual IAPS competition.

Tennis

Tennis

Tennis is a sport played all year round at Taunton and overseen by the school’s Head of tennis, Shaun Carroll. Within the curriculum, tennis is covered in the rackets unit in PE lessons from Year 3-8.  In games, tennis is offered within the games programme.   

As well as playing a role in the curriculum, a team of highly qualified coaches run clubs, group sessions and individual lessons, for all age’s abilities during the whole year. This ranges from Mini Tennis with soft balls for reception, Year 1 and Year 2, all the way to hard ball on full court for Years 6, 7, and 8 and beyond. Individual lessons can be arranged before, during and after school with experienced coaches. These coaches support all levels, from the novice to those that choose to compete in the county, regional or national circuit. 

We have the use of 8 hard courts, 4 are floodlit, and an indoor sports halls throughout the autumn and spring terms. In addition, there are 18 AstroTurf courts in the summer. The school offers a tennis tour to Portugal each year in the Easter break and the chance of going to Wimbledon by invitation. 

For those that are competitive in tennis, we have a number of school fixtures in the summer term with other independent schools, for all age groups. Additionally, we enter the IAPS and National School tennis tournament and enter teams into the AEGON schools tennis league.

Sports Scholars

Sports Scholars

As part of the Sports Scholars programme scholars get a mentor for the year.  The mentor will be a member of the sports department across either school, normally from the pupil’s main sport.  Through regular meetings over the year they will work closely together to monitor progress and set targets.  In addition scholars have a weekly Saturday morning session where they work through topics including teamwork, attitude, competition and sportsmanship. Pupils also have a weekly lunchtime session with the schools S & C coach. During the sessions scholars work on their fundamental movement skills that will underpin all of their sporting activities. 

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