Why we need a new sports hall

Why we need a new sports hall

Giving young people a positive sporting experience at school is vital for their development. It’s also an essential foundation for lifelong fitness and wellbeing. And at Guildford County School, sport matters to us. This year, we achieved Sports Mark Gold in recognition of our commitment: our students participated in an amazing 147 sports teams, taking part in 17 sports, completing 417 fixtures (mostly away!).

Yet this huge achievement and enthusiasm is not reflected in our facilities. Our 1970s ‘New Gym’ is less than half the recommended minimum size it should be, and is deteriorating fast. We urgently need to replace it.

What we have now:

The undersized ‘New Gym’ is the school’s only indoor space for ball games (at 247m2 versus Sport England’s recommended minimum of 690m2) and has a low ceiling height of 4.7m (versus Sport England’s recommended minimum height of 7.5m). This:

-              prevents or frequently obstructs play for key sports including basketball, indoor netball/cricket/hockey, badminton, volleyball, trampolining and handball.

-              risks injury, as we lack any runoff zones in the current court markings - the recommended minimum for community level play/training being 2m runoff zones.

-              compromises teaching time, requiring the School to hire facilities at Surrey Sports Park (SSP) daily, bussing students out to teach the sport curriculum (40 minutes daily per double lesson spent on loading/unloading/travel time) – costing thousands of pounds annually and blunting student motivation.

-              limits access and enjoyment across the ability and sport range, providing no space for any ‘B’ and ‘C’ teams to train, for example, and no indoor netball, cricket or hockey.

-              limits the School’s ability to compete, as few reciprocal matches can be arranged. This is a factor in the school losing some of its best-performing students in the Sixth Form to sports scholarships elsewhere.

-              provides no storage space for equipment – the School cannot offer rowing as an option, despite having machines and a popular ‘House Rowing’ event, as the ‘fitness area’ has effectively become a storage room.

-              is unmodernised and is in very poor condition generally, with insecure breezeblocks due to crumbling mortar and wall gaps in places at student level, further discouraging participation.

Without replacement of the New Gym in the very near future, this significantly-compromised sports provision will continue – and these overcrowding issues are worsening year-on-year with our approved school expansion (an extra 20 students being accepted in Year 7, from 2017-2021).

What we are fundraising to achieve:

A full size 690m2 sports hall to Sport England standards with improved changing space, a multi-gym/fitness area, dance studio and storage will allow the School to:

-              Accommodate the majority of the sport curriculum on site, significantly increasing teaching and learning time while reducing external hire and coach expenses on an ongoing basis

-              Significantly improve our sports provision to students in terms of sports on offer (including basketball, badminton, volleyball, indoor netball, trampolining, rowing and handball) and safety of play

-              Host competitive matches in many sports and provide training facilities for our aspiring athletes

-              Cater for a wider ability range, providing a training venue for possible ‘B’ and ‘C’ teams

-              Run sports clubs after school in times that would currently clash with community lettings.

-              Provide an accessible city-centre sports hub within walking distance of Guildford mainline railway station, hugely attractive to community users outside of school hours – including catering for those groups not presently active (inactive/over 50s/disabled). Many local sports clubs have already told us they would also welcome additional sports hall space – sports include indoor hockey, basketball, badminton, futsal, archery, rowing and many more.

Let’s replace our outdated, under-sized gym now with a fantastic fit-for-purpose sports hub, offering a full size sports hall for our students and community. Here’s how you can help.