Physical Education is taught throughout the school by subject specialists and is a compulsory subject in Years 7-13.
A varied programme of sport is provided and the girls are encouraged to stay physically active throughout the week by accessing our Fitness for All programme, where we aim for all girls to be active in some form of activity through our extensive extracurricular programme.
This week we are focussing on netball after an exciting week for the sport with the England Roses team taking on the New Zealand Silver Ferns at the Echo Arena in Liverpool last night.
Sadly it wasn’t the result we wanted but we caught up with our Netball Coach Miss Wykes to talk about the sport at The Queen’s School.
Q. We offer a varied programme of sport at The Queen’s School. How popular is netball with the girls?
Netball is often a bit like marmite for girls, they either love it or hate it. Having said that it is a very popular sport at Queen’s, with girls from all year groups either participating or showing interest. Since September, over 40 Year 7 girls have been to at least one netball practice, and even more in Year 8. Although numbers seem to drop off in Year 9, there has been an increased interest in girls willing to be involved in netball in ways other than playing, from umpiring practices/matches, to assisting after school practices for the younger age groups. It’s great to see the older girls getting involved in the coaching and officiating of the game as they can develop their leadership skills and various other aspects.
Q. What is the training like at Queen’s and how often do the girls play matches?
Netball practices at Queen’s are varied and of high intensity. After school practices are dedicated to developing the girls’ skills and working on more tactical aspects, whereas lunchtime practices are dedicated to match play, and putting what they have worked on after school into practice. Practices are designed with girls of all ability in mind, yet providing a challenge to each individual.
I am always looking for netball fixtures with other schools to give the girls chance to play competitive games more often. As with a lot of sport at this time of year some games get cancelled due to bad weather but I have seen an improvement in every girl’s game play, skills, and in some cases, confidence, which is great!
Q. What do you do to build the enthusiasm for the sport with the girls and develop their skills?
I am always looking for ways to make netball exciting, whether it’s introducing new skills/tactics, or finding fun, modified invasion games. Each session I will always involve a fun game to get the girls engaged and to raise their enthusiasm. I feel variety in practices is a key part of keeping the girls enthusiastic, and it allows them to try things they may not have necessarily tried before, further developing their skills. Additionally, the fact they are playing with their friends keeps their enthusiasm on a social level.
I organised this week’s trip to the Echo Arena in Liverpool to see the International Test Series between England and New Zealand, for which we had 41 girls from across all year groups attend. I was not expecting such a great demand for tickets for this trip, but it is wonderful to see this level of enthusiasm for the sport.
Q. We have some really good players throughout the school, what successes have we seen?
Madeleine Hanna is a Grade C qualified umpire. She also attends the North East Wales Talent Centre, as well as having played for Wales U17s.
Catherine Sutton is also a Grade C umpire, along with being a Level 1 qualified netball coach.
Alex Johnson in year 9 has had success after success with her netball. As a member of Chester Netball Club, she has been scouted for various stages on the England pathway, and continues to show great potential. Her recent achievements include being selected for the North West Regional Training Academy, as well as being selected for Manchester Thunder’s youth programme.
Q. Why would you encourage a girl to get involved in netball?
I would recommend any girl to get involved in netball. Even if playing the sport isn’t what the girls want to do, there are plenty of other opportunities such as umpiring/officiating, and coaching, which can both develop skills.
In terms of playing, there are seven completely different positions on the netball court so each girl can find a position that they like and enjoy playing. Along with other team sports, netball is a great way to interact with people, and work as a team with people you may not necessarily work with normally.
Q. Netball is a sport that most girls play in school but has never been in the Olympics – why do you think this is and do you see this changing in the future?
Unfortunately, netball is not yet an Olympic sport as it still needs to meet criteria from the IOC’s executive committee such as potential ticket sales, costs, athletes’ health, popularity and global reach. However, I believe this is changing.
Netball is being televised more than ever, which is great to see! On Sunday 5th February, an International Test Series game has its debut on BBC 2, which is a monumental step forward for the world of netball! Onwards and upwards!!