Sport plays a vital role in the lives of all pupils at Freemen's. All pupils are provided with a wide and varied programme of sporting activities. ‘Sport for All’ is a key philosophy and we involve as many pupils as possible in competitive fixtures, whilst encouraging individuals and teams to achieve success at county, regional and national level. High standards are set for the numerous competitive teams, with an extensive programme of fixtures at all levels and for all ages.
In the Autumn and Spring term the major sport for boys is rugby, with football running in parallel for boys in Key Stage 2 (Years 3-6) until mid-November. For girls the major sport is hockey, with netball running in parallel for girls in Key Stage 2/3 (Years 3-8). In the Summer term the major sport for boys is cricket and for girls is tennis and athletics, with rounders running in parallel for girls in Key Stage 2. Throughout the year swimming runs with selective morning swim squads and after school competitive galas taking place.
All pupils in Years 3-10 take part in the major sport during their games afternoon and with extra squad practices occurring throughout the week. An element of choice is gradually introduced for pupils in Years 11-13 within their games afternoon, for example fencing, squash and pilates.
Every Saturday a full programme of inter-school fixtures takes place. Occasional mid week fixtures take place to correlate with games afternoons. For pupils in Years 3-6 mid week fixtures complement their games afternoons where possible, however occasional Saturday fixtures may be organised to introduce them to the routine and expectation within the Upper School.
Overseas tours are regularly organised. Recent successful trips include senior sports tours to New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. Junior tours are also a big success, for example the U10 rugby tour to Cheshire and the upcoming U13 mixed sports tour to Jersey.
Sports played at Freemen’s
Athletics is a popular sport at the School. Each summer Ashtead Park comes alive with athletes competing in a wide variety of disciplines, specifically track events of 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m and field events including discus, javelin, shot put, long jump, high jump and triple jump.
During the summer term Athletics takes place as part of the curriculum across all year groups for both boys and girls. We also offer Athletics Clubs for junior boys and both junior and senior girls which allows pupils to further develop their technique in track and field disciplines.
The School is often successful in district competitions and we have a number of athletes selected each year to represent the county. The School enter the ESAA (English Schools Athletics Association) Track and Field Cup for both boys and girls, district events and the IAPS (Independent Association of Preparatory Schools) competition where we have regular national finalists and champions.
In addition, we have fixtures against other local schools and competitive house athletics competitions throughout the whole school.
Modern pentathlon consists of five disciplines which all count towards a competitive points score to determine placings. Pupils in both the Junior and Senior school can elect to take part in the annual Modern Pentathlon Association of Great Britain (MPAGB) Schools Biathlon Championships which comprises of up to three events throughout the autumn and spring terms. This provides pupils with an additional opportunity to experience sport in a formal and competitive environment. Pupils who wish to take part can train and prepare for the event during running club and swim squad sessions. The School has celebrated success at both regional and national level in recent years at this event. In 2010, the girls were national team champions in both Year 5 and Year 7 competitions. In 2011 there were several boys’ and girls’ team and individual medalists in the regional, semi finals and national finals of the event.
The School has long been proud of its cricketing tradition, producing some excellent cricketers over the years. Many of our players have gone on to play at university, county and national level. Cricket is the major boys’ game in the summer. The youngest teams are the U8 A and Bs and go through up to a senior first team, with occasional C and D team games occurring at U13, U14 and U15 levels allowing all boys the opportunity to represent the School. Boys also represent their House in the annual inter-house cricket competitions.
The sport is led by a Head of Cricket and utilises the service of Neil Stewart (a full time ECB level three cricket coach) within P.E. and games lessons and squad sessions.
The 1st XI attend an annual cricket festival and a regional 20/20 competition whilst the U11, U13 and U15 teams enter both district and county cups in which we often have success. The School maintains a very strong annual fixture list with matches occurring throughout the week and on Saturdays. The School fully supports player development through district, county and academy pathways with which we have very strong links.
Cricket squads are used to supplement team practice at all levels. All players are expected to attend squads as this is an integral part of a pupil’s skill development. Junior squads are typically at lunchtimes with senior squads occurring after school. Within these practices a variety of coaching takes place from one-to-one coaching, net practices to match scenarios, all with the intended outcome of skill and knowledge development.
The majority of Cross Country races are house events however there is the opportunity for all pupils to attend district, county and national events.
All pupils take part in the inter-house cross country competitions which take place in the Autumn term around the magnificent School site, and are often fiercely competitive.
Most of the inter-school fixtures take place in the autumn term, with some pupils attending meets at various venues in the South East. A highlight of the season is the Knole Run at Sevenoaks School, when 30 schools enter over 250 Year 7 and 8 runners to compete in a one and a half mile race through Knole Park. Each year, a group of pupils also represents the School in the district trials and aim to qualify to be selected to run at county level.
Fencing is one of the oldest Olympic sports; it is likened to an athletic form of chess, but with swords. It requires a good degree of co-ordination and timing but it is a very individual sport with a lot of personal variation in style and technique. At Freemen’s we compete in the EPEE.
Over 60 pupils at the school fence regularly. The team fencers are provided with extra club practices and are entered into competitions locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Fencing Club is open to all pupils at the School and a beginners club operates in addition to the Junior and Senior Clubs. Throughout the year the School itself hosts six major tournaments – the Elite Epee junior series and two men’s epee competitions.
In the last year the School has had six fencers reaching International status, specifically, reaching senior GB International selection. In addition, the School won three national Team titles at U11, U13 and U15 levels.
Football is our second major sport in Years 3-6 for boys in the autumn term.
All boys play in a minimum of five competitive fixtures throughout the season which adhere to the FA Guidelines of small sided games (six or seven-a-side) and tournaments complement these fixtures. Pupils develop their football
skills and their tactical awareness in both games lessons and extra curricular squad sessions.
All pupils within Years 3-6 will also compete for their house in the inter-house football competition held during the autumn term.
Football is an option for pupils within Years 11-13 during senior games lessons. The Wanderers is the senior boys team who play competitive 11-a-side fixtures throughout the autumn and spring terms against local schools.
The boys’ boarding house also form their own 11-a-side team and have had competitive fixtures against local schools as well as a fiercely competitive fixture against the Wanderers.
Freemen’s prides itself on providing hockey for all girls, as every girl will play hockey at the school. At Key Stage 2 hockey and netball run in parallel as the major girls’ games in the autumn and spring terms. From Key Stage 3 onwards, hockey is the girls’ major game.
Freemen’s competes against an extremely strong circuit of schools each Saturday and throughout the week, with A, B and C teams fielded from U8 through to U18, both outdoor and indoor. The girls take part in and regularly advance to the final stages of county competitions in all age groups, with pupils achieving county, regional and national representation.
The School currently competes and hosts the county and regional rounds of the national schools indoor competition. It also hosts an U10 and U11 tournament, attracting strong local preparatory schools.
Coaching is provided by a specialist coach and teaching staff, several of whom have competed at a high level themselves. Weekly squads take place either at lunchtime or after school. The squads are all inclusive and pupils are actively encouraged to attend on a regular basis as the sessions give pupils the opportunity to develop their stick skills and learn the tactics and principles of hockey. Senior school pupils often assist the coaching of younger pupils.
In addition to squads, indoor hockey club takes place in the autumn in preparation for the Surrey U16 and U18 indoor hockey championships which take place at Freemen’s at the end of the term. It is open to all girls in Year 9 and above.
There are House competitions and extra hockey clubs are run for the keenest players. Each year the U12 girls compete in a tournament in Blackpool. The senior teams embark on a tour abroad every three years. The most recent tour was to Australia and a tour to Argentina is planned for 2016.
Netball is a major sport for girls in Years 3-6 in the Autumn and Spring terms. In Years 3 and 4 the girls have a double netball lesson whilst in Year 5 and Year 6 the triple games afternoon is split equally between netball and hockey. The girls participate in regular matches and tournaments and compete to a good level with local prep schools.
We hold squad practices for U8, U9, U10 and U11 on a weekly basis and these are open to all girls and are very well attended. All girls who attend squads will be included in fixtures on a rotational basis. We also run a lunchtime club for U12 and U13 girls.
Netball is an option during senior games on a Wednesday afternoon with many girls choosing to play in the regular fixtures arranged throughout the autumn and spring terms.
Rounders is the main team sport offered to all junior girls during the summer term. There are weekly squads for girls in Years 3-6 which are all inclusive and pupils are actively encouraged to attend on a regular basis. There are also fixtures arranged against other schools.
There is a popular extra-curricular club for girls in Years 7 and 8 with a small number of friendly fixtures arranged during the summer term. Many senior girls take rounders as their games option in the summer term.
Rugby is the major boys game in the autumn and spring terms. Teams run from U8 level up through to a 1st XV with the majority of U13-1st XV fixtures occurring on Saturdays. Boys are taught rugby within their games lessons and have extra squad sessions which focus upon more intricate skill development and team organisation.
The sport is led by a Head of Rugby accompanied by both P.E. and academic staff and supported by a professional coach. The School maintains a very strong and competitive fixture list. The School also supports all representative pathways for which we have had numerous county, divisional, national, public school barbarian and Elite Player Development Group (EPDG) representatives. The School hosts two sevens tournaments at U11 and U13 level and also take part in local, regional and national sevens competitions.
A highlight of the season is the inter-House rugby competition where all boys represent their House. The matches are always fiercely competitive but a great emphasis is put on playing within the spirit of the game.
At Under 8 level, boys play Tag Rugby, a non-contact version of the full game, within the curriculum, at a lunchtime club and competitively against other schools. Tag Rugby builds boys foundations and skills prior to the introduction of contact rugby at Under 9 level.
Rugby squads complement P.E. and Games lessons and are used to practice individual skills and develop team skills. Boys in Years 3-6 pupils have one lunch time squad a week and from Year 7 upwards there are two squads a week.
Squash is enjoyed by a number of pupils at the School. There is a comprehensive Squash programme for boys and girls in the senior school throughout the year, taught in P.E. lessons. The professional School Squash coach runs lunch time clubs for players of all abilities and after school squads
for those in the School teams. Weekly sessions consist of work on technique, movement and match play.
The School fields teams in all age groups and competes against other schools throughout the year and in the Surrey Schools Cup and the National Schools Championship. The 1st V also play in the Schools Invitation tournament at the Roehampton Club. Many of the pupils go on to play Squash at club level and some have attained county and regional honours.
Throughout the year pupils in Years 3-9 participate in swimming lessons, either on a weekly rotation for the younger pupils, or half term blocks higher up the school.
Galas against both preparatory and senior schools occur throughout the year.
The School is strong at swimming locally, regionally and nationally, achieving recent success within the English Schools Swimming Association (ESSA) and Independent Association of Preparatory Schools (IAPS) National Finals. There has been notable success at county, divisional and national level for the School’s swimming teams.
Swim squads are the only squads which are selective at the School and are used to develop and refine stroke technique in preparation for swimming competitively. Squad sessions take place before, during and after school depending on the year group and are led by School P.E. staff and highly qualified swimming coaches from Guildford City Swimming Club.
In addition to squads, the new Ashtead Park Swimming Club, a joint venture with Guildford Swimming Club (GCSC), offers pupils in Years 3-5 the opportunity and support to develop their swimming from beginner to School squad swimmer and beyond. There will be three learn to swim sessions aimed at developing pupils’ swimming confidence and skills.
All sessions are based on ability groups and are taken by GCSC professional coaches, and teachers who are all A.S.A qualified. Of the three sessions, one is for those who are progressing towards squad level.
Tennis is one of the girls’ major summer sports. In the summer term, the Tennis Club provides opportunities for squad players to benefit from focused training sessions run by a professional coach supported by experienced teachers. On Saturdays and throughout the week there are inter-school competitive fixtures.
An annual fixture against the City Livery Tennis Club brings together members of the City of London Corporation, School staff, and pupils.
Boys have the opportunity to develop their tennis in Physical Education lessons and have occasional competitive fixtures.
The Boys’ Tennis Club is open to all boys from Year 5 to Year 13 allowing them to develop their tennis technique and skills, including general stroke play, court positioning and tactics within an extra-curricular club. A tennis coach leads the session with assistance from School staff. Club players are invited to represent the School in occasional fixtures against local schools.
A Short Tennis club is open to boys and girls in Years 3-6. The club runs throughout the Autumn and Spring terms in our sports hall allowing pupils to practise by playing games on smaller courts.
Sporting Clubs and Activities
In addition to the squads and clubs for the main sports we offer, there are additional sporting clubs and activities:
Brazilian Soccer Schools coach a specially designed programme of 5-a-side football, of South American origin, played with a smaller (size 2) heavier ball.
Junior pupils learn numerous technical skills and moves to beat players within a small sided game. The skills and confidence gained transfer perfectly to a conventional seven or 11 a side game where players are technically more advanced than their opponents.
For the second year in a row, our coaches have been invited to Barcelona FC academy to train along with their coaches, and all new ideas and training methods gained will be introduced into our sessions at Freemen’s.
Dandelion Theatre Arts Street Dance Class teaches basic street dance steps and builds them into a routine performed for family and friends at the end of each term.
The street dance instructors, all of whom are working dancers and often perform on TV, begin each session with a full-body warm-up. This is followed with the teaching of core street dance steps, performed in rows or from corners of the hall. Each week some of the same steps will be repeated, while new ones are introduced, so that they are put together into a street dance routine. Each session ends with a cool-down.
The club not only builds the confidence of the pupils who take part, but enhances their dance technique and their general fitness. Also, as working dancers our teachers have access to all the latest music and street dance steps.
The Junior School Running Club allows Junior pupils the opportunity to work on their speed and stamina. Throughout the year the club prepares athletes for biathlon events, cross countries, the Mini London Marathon and the school triathlon. Many of the older children in the club often take part in Parkrun events on Saturdays to monitor their progress and improve their PBs.
Senior Weights Club is offered to boys in Years 9 and above. The Club is used to develop existing technique and pupils are encouraged to develop their own strength and conditioning program under the direction of the qualified strength and conditioning coaches.