Ormiston Sir Stanley Matthews Academy secures investment for tennis facilities

Students and staff at Ormiston Sir Stanley Matthews Academy (OSSMA) are celebrating after they have been chosen as one of 23 new schools to take part in the Tennis Foundation’s School of Tennis programme. The programme aims to radically change the way tennis is delivered in secondary schools to make it more relevant and engaging for teenagers.

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As part of this, OSSMA will receive up to £5,000 worth of support in the first year of the programme to invest in its tennis facilities, with further funding available in Years 2 and 3 based on an annual progress review.

The academy has now given training to eight students who have become “tennis ambassadors”. Their role is to lead on setting up tournaments between year groups within the academy and to facilitate the teaching of the skills needed to play tennis, which the academy does as part of their breakfast club. As well as learning a new skill, attendees to the breakfast club will also have the opportunity to win tickets to Wimbledon.

OSSMA was officially welcomed onto the programme via a national training day held at Edgbaston Priory Club in Birmingham. The event brought together PE and Senior Leadership Team staff from schools all over the UK to participate in on-court activity to equip them with the knowledge and skills needed to implement the School of Tennis programme.

OSSMA will join the 62 schools already on the programme, following a pilot in 2016 where 94 per cent of participating schools reported a significant impact and radical overhaul of tennis delivery within their school since joining. 90 per cent of participating schools also said that the programme has increased the confidence and competence of both participants and ambassadors.

Christine Sprowell, Schools Manager at the Tennis Foundation, said:

"We are delighted to welcome 23 new schools onto the School of Tennis Programme. As shown from our pilot and the current cohort of schools, the programme is having a transformational effect in many schools and being used as a vehicle to support whole school priorities such as building students’ confidence, employability and life skills as well as promoting the physical and emotional benefits of participating in the sport. As part of our wider education strategy, we want more students to enjoy the physical, social and mental benefits of playing tennis and our School of Tennis Programme is proven to be doing that."

Josh Brown, the teacher leading the initiative at OSSMA, said:

"It is a great honour to be a part of the School of Tennis and to be one of only two schools in the Midlands to be involved in this programme. It has been fundamental in providing new equipment and helping to raise the profile of tennis within the community, offering a wide range of opportunities for the students at OSSMA."