Following our week at Dedworth in April 2023, Deputy Headteacher Clare O’Donnell provided the following feedback:
- How would you rate our pre-programme organisational skills? “10/10”
- How would you rate our squash delivery programme? “10/10”
- How would your teachers rate our squash delivery programme? “10/10”
- How would your pupils rate our squash delivery programme? “10/10”
Clare went on to say “The whole of the Dedworth Middle School community were able to take part in the squash during the week of the 24th – 28th April. We were unsure at first, about how popular the sessions would be with our pupils and staff but, from the moment the court was being constructed, the buzz started!
Pupils and staff were all keen to take part in the sessions from the moment they spotted the court. Throughout the week, we organised for 523 pupils at Dedworth Middle School, 30 pupils from Dedworth Green First School, 30 pupils from Homer First school and 30 pupils from Hilltop First School to take part in a lesson learning all about Squash, and taking part in differing activities including the rebound nets and Pop up Squash court. The sessions allowed pupils from all backgrounds and pupil groups (with pupils ranging from age 8-13) to take part.
The coaching that was offered was inclusive for all pupils; it engaged, enthused and promoted a love for squash, which is what the whole program had aimed to do. Craig worked hard to ensure that the leaders (from DMS and TWBS and WGS) and teachers were trained and could support the sessions. He built relationships with pupils which was essential to gain maximum participation and enthusiasm for a new sport.
The feedback from parents and pupils was overwhelmingly positive and several pupils were requesting that they had another lesson scheduled in the week, there were simply not enough hours of Craig to go around. Pupils were rushing to get onto the Squash court at lunch time to get some extra time. The uptake of pupils signing up for extra coaching sessions at Bisham Abbey was really high, considering the struggle some of our pupils have getting to extra curricular activities outside of school.
I think the taster week we were able to host at Dedworth Middle School has convinced me that Squash is an excellent alternative option for schools to be able to offer as part of a PE and extra curricular program. It is an activity that whole classes can take part in with the extra activities and rebound nets. I also think the club and competition pathways are established and would just need to be promoted for continued lifelong participation….
Squash would have an ongoing benefit for the pupils and families at our school as it proved to be a truly inclusive sport that everyone can participate in and enjoy. I observed some high level SEND pupils and pupils that struggle with behaviour in other areas, truly engaged during lessons and at lunchtime.”