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We believe it is important to grow an interest in sport early in life and to take on into adulthood the skills it develops. From the very beginning, from Nursery onwards, we teach the physical benefits of being active, but as importantly, we are increasing pupils’ self-esteem, building their confidence and training mental agility. Every pupil has sport lessons during the week, as well as the opportunity to take part in extra-curricular sports clubs.
Sport is integral to our school life and we encourage pupils to enjoy and experience it through a varied programme, including traditional team games (Hockey, Netball and Rounders), Athletics, Cross-country running and Swimming, as well as Dance (ballet, modern, jazz and tap), Riding and Fitness.
Knighton strives to encourage participation for all in team sports and during the year, every child will play in A or B team matches; when not playing in team matches, children are offered the opportunity to take part in extra training, sometimes with outside coaches. Inter-house competitions also take place every term to allow all pupils to experience a tournament and the strong team spirit promoted by our House system.
In the autumn term our Astroturf is well used with daily hockey lessons, team training and matches with local schools. In the autumn term, gymnastics begins, with a weekly lesson for every class. There is also the opportunity for extra training in gymnastics club where more advanced skills are developed. Our gymnasts all work hard towards the annual Gymnastic competition, which we regularly host. The spring term focuses on Netball and Cross Country. We take part in local cross-country competitions and throughout the year we make use of our beautiful grounds and the surrounding countryside to train. Summer means Rounders, Tennis and the recent introduction of Cricket and we provide optional tennis tuition throughout the year to get our players ready for the many tournaments and matches which take place then. Swimming takes place all year round and all pupils are taught a variety of strokes as well as personal survival skills.
As well as this, we also strive to give an extra dimension to sport by giving opportunities for children to try new sports: orienteering, climbing, windsurfing, paddle boarding and lacrosse are just some of the other activities we have offered.
We also train to compete at a high level, entering local, IAPS and North Dorset competitions. We regularly represent North Dorset and have competed at National Prep School Athletics events.
Gym is all about body mechanics and body conditioning, which might well lead to somersaults and round-offs, but more importantly leads to quality of movement and control of movement. What we are looking to instil in children is the importance of basic skills done well, laying the foundations for increasing complexity within the skills repertoire. Within the skills, we differentiate, taking one mechanical action i.e. a cartwheel, then encouraging pupils to extend their own skills, progressing on to a round-off and from there to a round-off one handed.
In the gym, we explore the idea of the counterbalance – a super way to practise pair work and support of each-other. We encourage children to be confident in using their bodies, which can then be applied to other sports and other aspects of the curriculum.
In the senior years, we draw on children’s knowledge of science; if they are struggling to master a particular movement, we ask them to consider the physics of it, forces and angles, for example, and their body’s possibilities.
Taking part in sport is a big part of life at Knighton and all pupils are given the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of sports fixtures throughout the year at a level commensurate with their ability.
We offer a full range of sports fixtures, which parents are warmly invited to attend and support. Follow the link at the bottom of this page for further details of our sports fixtures and results.
The main sports are athletics, cricket, hockey, netball, rounders and tennis.
The major sports programme is complemented by a range of after school sports clubs such as: Gymnastics, Cross-country, Riding, Shooting, and Swimming.
We aim to encourage all pupils to enjoy their riding and to give them a foundation in many different disciplines so that their choices later will be informed ones. We offer riding lessons throughout the school, from Pre-Prep upwards.
In the Prep school, children learn the standard disciplines of dressage, show-jumping and cross-country, but also have the chance to take part in mounted games, Trec, Tetrathlon, polo, showing and hunting, as well as having a chance to hack the glorious countryside which surrounds us. As an accredited BHS and Pony Club Centre, we are also able to give the children a good foundation in theoretical and practical horse and pony care and we work with them towards taking the internationally recognised Pony Club tests and badges.
We regularly run riding competitions at school: the familiar setting, riding on school ponies and with staff they know to assist them is a perfect combination for those who have never competed before and want to build confidence to do so. Pupils with their own ponies can represent the school in NSEA competitions. To date, we have represented Dorset in the NSEA county finals for Dressage in 2016, won at the Stonar ODE in 2017 and had numerous placings in 2018. For those pupils who do not want to ride competitively but simply want to enjoy their riding, we organise picnic rides, fun rides and early morning hacks.
At Knighton House, we believe that encouraging breadth of knowledge in riding is as important as meeting the competitive spirit of our pupils. We want children to enjoy their riding and not be forced to specialise in any discipline too early.
Dance & Ballet
Dance is a fun extra curricular activity at Knighton, with Tap and Jazz lessons being available for all ages to get involved with. They are a taught from introductory level to more advanced and are a great way for everyone to be creative in a fun and friendly atmosphere. The girls regularly perform at school and in events like the dance showcase.
Ballet Miss Paris, of Paris Helen Dance Shaftesbury, teaches Ballet to pupils at Knighton, from Nursery to Alpha Classes.
The lessons are structured and lead towards the ISTD examinations. However, pupils can opt out of taking the exams as the chief focus is always about The Joy of Dance.
The pupils are also encouraged to explore their own creativity and self-expression with improvisation and choreography.
This year’s Ballet Showcase was an interpretation of The Waltz of the Flowers from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker.