Sport

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Sport is a crucial element of the educational experience we offer at The Leys.

The variety, depth and quality of our provision are essential components in generating an atmosphere in which our pupils can both develop and enjoy their sport, while also creating an awareness of the relationship between constructive exercise and a healthy lifestyle.

The Leys identifies four key benefits of sport in education:

  • Working with others in a team towards an external, collective objective.
  • The challenge of competition and of mastering physical skills.
  • The self-evident benefits of physical exercise.
  • The concept of fair play, and the ability to cope with both success and failure.

Pupils of all ability are encouraged to play meaningful and competitive sport, at either House, School or representative level. All pupils who opt to play a particular sport have access to excellent facilities and the opportunity to benefit from professional coaching. Every team group has its own dedicated coach and the opportunity to participate in competitive sport, whatever their ability. We run teams at depth in all age groups and also run competitive House competitions in most sports. We are privileged with outstanding sporting facilities, both at the School and Latham Road, with a fully committed grounds staff working to ensure the highest standards are maintained.

We recognise and welcome competition within sport. Competition encourages team awareness and, when guided appropriately, teaches the importance of winning without arrogance and losing with good grace. All sports offer competitive fixtures at both School and House level, and much emphasis is placed on the way students conduct themselves on and off the pitch, with all students, coaches and supporters aware of the need for the highest standards of sportsmanship.

The Leys Sports Academy

The Leys is known for its excellence in a variety of sports and has produced a number of county, divisional and international competitors over the years. This process is now enhanced by our 'Elite Performance Programme' for those who are selected to become part of The Leys Sports Academy. However, we are as proud of the depth of our provision as we are of the high quality of our top sports players, and we aim to cater for players of all abilities.

In sport, pupils show exceptionally high levels of physical skill across a wide range of activities and teams, enjoying local and regional successes with a number of individuals being supported to become junior international players.

ISI Report 2014

Key Documents


Principal Sports

Athletics

Athletics has been thriving over recent years and it is now a very popular summer term sport throughout the different age groups. Pupils participate in a number of different competitions throughout the term, including evening races in Cambridgeshire and the county and national schools competitions. Our best athletes train with Cambridge and Coleridge Athletics Club. Our most able athletes regularly qualify to compete in the National Schools Tournament.

Joanne Schofield - jxs@theleys.net

Badminton

Badminton is offered both as a games option and a weekly after-school activity throughout the year.

There are several organised sessions every week for social players, as well as the selected squad players. The school plays in the Cambridge University Colleges League so has regular matches of a very good standard.

The Leys inter-house badminton tournament is also a very popular event, enabling pupils from both Day and Boarding Houses to participate in friendly, but very competitive matches.

Dominic Divito - dad@theleys.net

Cricket

Cricket is hugely popular at The Leys, not least due to the fabulous on-site facilities, excellent coaching staff and long-standing links with local clubs which enables play to continue throughout the long summer vacation. New innovations in coaching, an award winning groundsman, new covers, mobile batting cages and purpose-built indoor nets all indicate the focus and attention paid to producing cricketers of quality.

We run ten teams and preparation gets underway during the Lent Term with regular evening indoor nets. The main campus boasts a top quality indoor cricket centre, as well as seven outdoor nets.

In the summer of 2009 the 1st XI completed a very successful tour of South Africa while they also toured Sri Lanka in Easter 2013. Each season closes with a festival which has been running for some 30 years involving St Paul's London, Monkton Coombe and Fettes.

Richard Kaufman - rik@theleys.net

Football

Football at The Leys is run as a Sixth Form option for those not involved in the core sports of the Autumn and Lent terms. Practice occurs during games lessons and we play regular fixtures against The Perse, Kimbolton, Felsted and King's Ely.

For the lower years football is offered as an extra curricular activity.

Gym and Fitness

Our pupils train and keep fit in the Sports Centre. This is available as a games option for Sixth Form pupils not playing the core sports and for all students after school/during prep time.

The gym is equipped with modern air powered resistance and cardiovascular equipment. The fitness suite also has the full range of fixed weight training machines alongside a flexibility and core area. The Sports Centre also boasts a strength and conditioning facility, having two Olympic lifting platforms, power racks, cable machines, and a wide range of free weights.

Training programmes are designed and monitored by qualified instructors for all pupils who participate, while the general gym handbook is made available to all pupils.

Toby Griffiths is our strength and conditioning coach. He has national and international sports experience as an athlete, alongside holding a sports science degree from Loughborough University. He is also a certified personal trainer, performance enhancement specialist and corrective exercise specialist. Toby has had experience working within professional sport during a spell as a sport scientist and S & C coach at Shrewsbury Town Football Club, alongside learning from international level coaches over the years.

Hockey

The aim of The Leys Hockey Club is to foster a sense of enjoyment for those who play hockey, to offer quality coaching for players of all abilities and to provide the opportunity to play competitive fixtures against schools in the local area to the best of one’s ability.

At present the School runs eleven girls teams and sixteen boys sides from Year 7 to the Sixth Form. There is a strong fixture list including Felsted, Bishop's Stortford and the keenly contested local derby with The Perse. The girls play in the Autumn Term, the boys predominantly in the Lent Term, while the Under 14 boys play in the Autumn Term. A large number of pupils have represented or are currently representing Cambridgeshire, and several girls and boys are in the JRPC squads. Three boys were in the England U16 team in 2009. Old Leysians can often be found frequenting university hockey pitches, and those of the East league playing for Cambridge City and the other local clubs.

Hockey coaching at The Leys is of a very high standard, with many of the academic staff contributing alongside specialist coaches. Of these academic staff, five are qualified to at least Hockey Association Level 2 standard. The School employs hockey professionals who assist development throughout the school. The Leys currently has two full sized and one half-sized astroturf pitches. These facilities ensure that players of all abilities are catered for under the careful eye of their coaches.

Darrel Cassidy - dsc@theleys.net

Netball

Netball at The Leys has grown from strength to strength over the past few years, and it is the major sport for girls in the Lent term. Although the season does not officially start until January, there is pre-season netball training in the Autumn term which is well attended.

There are three outside courts, one indoor court in the main sports complex, and three multi-surface courts situated at Latham Road, which are our second set of 20 acre playing fields. Netball also makes use of the school gymnasium for specialist training and fitness, with some girls participating in the School's Sports Academy programme.

There are usually thirteen teams throughout the school, with three U13, three U14, three U15 and four Senior teams. Each team is allocated a coach who may be part of teaching staff or a specialist external coach. All teams have three sessions a week, which may be a practice or a fixture. On average each team has a weekly fixture, usually on a Saturday, against both local schools and schools in surrounding counties. Extra practice sessions are also organised throughout the season, especially for players who are shooters.

In recent years the senior girls have toured to Singapore, Malaysia and Malta.

Joanne Schofield - jxs@theleys.net

Rounders

Rounders is one of the sports options available to girls in the Summer Term.  We run teams for Years 9, 10, 11 and senior level with fixtures on Saturdays.  The games are competitive but played with a sense of fun in a busy summer term.

Damien Rigden - dwr@theleys.net

Rowing

The School boat club shares a large boathouse with three of the University colleges, King's, Selwyn and Churchill. The boathouse is located in Chesterton on the River Cam and planning permission has recently been granted for it to be upgraded. The School's fleet of rowing boats, oars and trailer are stored there. Showers, toilets and changing facilities are available to pupils at the boathouse. Some pupils travel to the boathouse by minibus, others cycle or run.

The boat club trains on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday afternoons during the main games sessions. Rowing takes place throughout all three school terms.

Equipment

The club has a good fleet of rowing boats and oars for its members:

  • 4 eights/octuples
  • 5 fours/quads
  • 5 double sculls
  • 15 single sculling boats

Competition

Most pupils participate in a number of races throughout the year. They compete in races on the River Cam: - Cambridge Small Boats and Autumn Heads, The University Fairbairn Races, The Town Bumping Races and the Head of the Cam. The club travels to races in London such as the Pairs and Fours Heads of the River, the Head of the Nene in Peterborough, the National Sculling Head in Henley, Poplar Regatta in the London Docklands, the National Schools' Regatta in Nottingham, Marlow Regatta at Dorney Lake Eton, Henley Women's Regatta and Henley Royal Regatta.

Coaches

Simon Hames, a former Great Britain and England Senior International, is in charge of rowing. He is assisted by five members of the school teaching staff and in addition the school employs approximately five other outside coaches, most of whom are competing in rowing at senior club/international level.

Training

Pupils train on the river on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday afternoons. Land training (circuits/weight training/running/indoor rowing machine) takes place on Monday and Wednesday during the school activities sessions or at other times to suit pupils.

Parental involvement

Parents, families and friends are encouraged to attend races and events to support the boat club.

Simon Hames - sjh@theleys.net

Rugby

Rugby is the major boys’ game in the Autumn Term. The Leys enjoys a reputation for producing some of the strongest rugby teams among independent schools in the East. 

The School is particularly proud of the number of boys that take part in the sport, and the level of opposition we compete against. The Leys has a traditional fixture list of a very good standard - opposition schools include Mill Hill, Norwich School, Bishop's Stortford College, RHS Holbrook, The Perse, Ipswich School and Gresham's. In 2009 (Under 15) and 2012 (Under 18) our sides won the Daily Mail National Vase Competition. With the completion of the Pavilion in August 2009, with its magnificent viewing balcony overlooking the 1st XV rugby pitch and the success of an unbeaten tour of Australia in 2010, the school continues to build a reputation in this area. The most recent international representative success for The Leys came in 2009 and 2010 with Will Hooley's inclusion in the England Under 16 and then England Under 18 squad. The school has produced 3 England U18 Fly Halves in the last decade.

The school aims to play a very attacking brand of rugby, with players encouraged to keep the ball in hand and develop recognition of space. Therefore, in the lower school the emphasis is placed on the mastering of basic skills in the game and the enjoyment of rugby, with the school fielding two competitive teams in each age group in these years. As our students progress through the school these basic skills are built into a more complex understanding of the game and students are encouraged to become decision makers on the field.

The School has a number of teachers on its staff who are well qualified to coach rugby. The current Master in Charge of Rugby is a former professional player, as is our principal forwards coach.

Rugby 7s

In the Lent term, senior boys continue with Sevens Rugby through the activities programme, building on and improving both handling and skill levels. The Senior 7s Team competes in a number of national 7s tournaments.

The Leys and Northampton Saints

The School has strong links with The Northampton Saints Academy. Talented rugby players in School attend the Eastern Counties Player Development sessions run monthly by The Northampton Saints Academy. From here it is hoped that the most exceptional players will be invited to join the Saints Junior Academy training largely during school holidays.

Rugby Tours

The Leys has a strong tradition of touring abroad, having travelled to Australia in 1985, 1996 and 2010, South Africa in 1999 and 2004 and New Zealand in 2007. There was a tour to South Africa in the summer of 2015.

Tom Dann - tod@theleys.net

Shooting

The Leys Shooting Club is coached by Alun Roberts, a former Regimental Sergeant Major recently retired from the Army after thirty years service. Mr Roberts, who is also the School Staff Instructor for the Leys Combined Cadet Force, has extensive expertise in the delivery of military training especially Skill-At-Arms and has readily adapted this knowledge to the coaching of small-bore shooting. The Shooting Club emphasises self-discipline, safety and responsibility via the medium of small bore shooting, primarily on the School's indoor 25 yard range.

Meeting every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evening during term time the club caters for all levels of proficiency. Training for novices mostly from Yr 7 and 8 concentrates on embedding correct range procedure and the 'Marksmanship Principles'. Continuation training for Yr 9 and 10 continues to emphasise correct procedure whilst introducing the additional skills required to shoot competitively. One session a week is dedicated to the School Shooting Team in order for them to concentrate on qualification for the annual Skill-At-Arms Meeting at Bisley.

The Leys Shooting Club is affiliated to the National Small-bore Rifle Association (NRSA) and takes an active part in their annual competition programme.

Alun Roberts - awr@theleys.net

Squash

The Leys has three glass-backed squash courts with a balcony running above them situated in the Sports Centre. The courts are available to pupils as a games option and as an activity in the afternoon and evening. Coaching is available from members of staff in activities time. There is a School team which competes in the Cambridge University league. Pupils also compete individually in the local club, meaning there is always someone competitive to play against, so the level of squash is constantly rising.

David Silk - dps@theleys.net

Swimming

The Leys has a strong and successful swimming programme. We run a year-round programme of training in our four-lane 25m pool, and the swimming team regularly competes. The majority of competition is in the Autumn and Lent terms, when we take on other independent schools from all over the country. We are past winners of the Aldenham Cup (national independent schools relay event), held annually. We are regular winners at gala events in our competition season.

The Leys swimming team has a high standard of water-based training and has set time standards for each age group. These times are based on Midland District Qualifying standards. Extra training is undertaken in our fully equipped sports hall, which has cardiovascular equipment and a weights room. In recent years, we have had successful swimming training camps, including one in Sarasota, Florida hosted by the Out Of Door Academy School.

The School has strong links with the City of Cambridge Swimming Club, where swimming team members who aspire to compete at District and National levels can increase their training.

The Leys also has a thriving Water Polo section with experienced coaches who are involved at county, district and national levels.

David Silk - dps@theleys.net

Tennis

Tennis is played extensively in the Summer term as the core sport for girls and by the boys as an alternative to cricket, with a full fixtures programme for all players. Many pupils continue tennis through the winter months, with coaching from the school tennis professional, Nick Wakeford. We are also lucky to have many experienced tennis coaches on our teaching staff who are passionate about tennis, many of whom have played/still play competitively for university, county or club teams.

Facilities include three hard courts, one with temporary floodlit lighting for evening use. In the Summer term we also have three grass courts on site, as well as twelve astro courts with a further nine astro and four specialist tennis astro courts at our Latham Road fields.

The School's regular tennis fixtures include Bishop's Stortford, Felsted, Haileybury, Hills Road, Kimbolton, New Hall, Oundle, The Perse and Stamford. We enter the National Schools Championships (Glanville and Aberdare Cups), the Senior Student Competition (played in the winter terms) and U15 inter-school leagues run by the LTA. The Leys runs pre-season training camps in La Manga (Spain) and Val do Lobo (Portugal) and also plays in the Independent Schools Championships at Eton in the first few days of the summer holidays.

The Leys has good links with the four main clubs in the City (CambridgeCox and HensShelford and David Lloyd) and we encourage pupils to play for clubs, train with county squads and play individual tournaments where appropriate.

Richard Hill - radh@theleys.net

Trampolining

Trampolining at The Leys allows more pupils of various levels of ability to access this exciting and enjoyable sport through our activities programme.

The Leys has two competition-standard trampolines and an overhead rig is available for learning somersaults and more complex skills. In conjunction with Cambridge University the school has access to top level coaches through the University Trampolining Club, which trains at the Sports Hall.

Volleyball

Volleyball is offered as an after school activity with sessions for both juniors and seniors, with juniors feeding into the senior teams as soon as they have mastered the skills and tactics of the game. The Leys compete in the Cambridge University College League, as well as playing friendly matches against local clubs and Sixth Form Colleges. It is one of the few sports that train and play as a mixed team.

We have at times entered the U18 National Championships, in which we have reached the last 16 teams for both boys and girls. Our boys were winners of the inaugural Independent Schools Beach Volleyball competition held in Brighton in 2009, and the girls have gone on to win the title in 2011 and 2014.

Richard Hill - radh@theleys.net

Water Polo

The Leys has a thriving Water Polo section with experienced coaches who are involved at county, district and national levels. The water polo team has competed strongly in the Cambridge University League, where they have on many occasions reached the finals.

David Silk - dps@theleys.net


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