Giggleswick pioneers new trends in school sport
Increasing numbers of teenagers are taking up individual sports such as triathlon, cycling, climbing, judo and gymnastics – a trend noticed by leading Northern independent, Giggleswick School.
Said headteacher Mark Turnbull: “Against a background of increasing participation in sport in general there is a national trend of more and more people taking up individual sports.” Certainly this would seem to be backed up by Sport England’s Active People Survey. Figures released in December 2016 suggest almost 230,000 more people play sport weekly in 2016 than 2015.
Said Mark: “At Giggleswick we are actively encouraging interest in cycling, running, climbing, triathlon and cyclocross and are lucky to have the natural surroundings which are perfect for these sports. Every child has the opportunity to try a wide range of sports, including the ‘newer’ individual ones and the more traditional team games like rugby, cricket and hockey, in which we have always been strong.”
“It’s important to recognise that individual doesn’t have to mean alone. I have found a surprising amount of teamwork involved in the newer sports. It is vital for the modern workplace to develop these skills in school but they are not exclusively built on the pitch or court. Ask anyone tackling a difficult route up a crag how much they have to work with the person belaying them at the bottom.”
Giggleswick has embraced the trend towards individual sports by investing in purpose-built facilities including a single track mountain bike track, a modern sports hall, new well equipped conditioning gym and most recently an indoor climbing wall.
The climbing wall was opened by Alan Hinkes OBE in March 2017 and provides somewhere for learning and perfecting skills before heading out to the local countryside which is famous among climbers. At a time when sport climbing has just become an Olympic sport, pupils can tackle outdoor, limestone sport climbs such as ‘Gigg South’ literally on the doorstep, and traditional crags within the school’s main grounds.
Added Mark: “We are already seeing results from our investment in these facilities. One recent former pupil, Sam Sharp, has just completed a mountain bike backpacking tour in Nepal and one or our sixth formers, Tom Renwick, has competed in cyclocross races throughout the last two summer and winter seasons. Tom also completed the Three Peaks Cyclocross – said to be the toughest cyclocross race in the world. One of our year seven pupils, Katie Wright, is the British champion in her category in judo.”
Mark puts the growing popularity of these sports down to a number of things.
“Crucially, it’s having the opportunity and time to do these things which will increase participation. Being a boarding school, with all our pupils having a longer day,