Sport in the Senior School
"Enthusiastic voluntary involvement in sport results in high levels of success." ISI Inspection 2017
We take great pride in our sporting heritage and have a successful record and reputation, founded on the principles of excellence and enjoyment. Pupils have the opportunity to play sport on a regular basis, competitively or simply for pleasure.
Our aim is to provide the best possible sporting provision for all our pupils. To that end we strive to offer every opportunity to enjoy sport and experience success. This involves striking the rare balance between excelling at the highest level with our most talented pupils whilst ensuring all pupils benefit from excellent coaching and positive sporting experiences. Details of our Elite Sports Programme sports scholars and talented players can be found here.
For Senior School pupils, two afternoons are set aside for sport with Saturdays being our main match day. Coached by members of the PE Department, academic members of staff with particular expertise and a dedicated team of part-time sports coaches, including several ex-international players, pupils benefit from high level coaching and inspiring role models.
All pupils in 4th and Lower 5th Form take part in our core sport for the term. In the Autumn term this is Girls' Hockey and Rugby, whilst in the Spring term it is Boys' Hockey and Netball. In the Summer term pupils take part in either Cricket or Tennis. Swimming runs throughout all terms. In the Upper 5th and Sixth Form further options are available to students.
The fixture list for each sport is extensive and we aim to play at the highest level whilst fielding as many teams as possible. As many as ten teams regularly take the field in block fixtures against our rivals. Our teams enjoy regular success at district, county and regional level and recently we reached national finals in hockey.
For many pupils, sport tours are the highlight of their sporting experience at Bishop’s Stortford College. There are regular tours organised for the major sports, both abroad and within the UK including hockey in Holland and Germany, swimming in Spain, rugby in Portugal and cricket in South Africa.
House matches are an important part of College life. These take place regularly throughout the academic year in sports including swimming, hockey, rugby, football, cross country, cricket, netball, table tennis and athletics. The House matches encourage participation and feature fierce competition, good humour and a great supportive atmosphere.
All pupils benefit from excellent facilities and resources which include:
- Extensive, campus-based playing fields (100 acres)
- Indoor 25m swimming pool with spectator gallery and adjacent learner pool
- Large multi-use sports hall providing the facilities for badminton, basketball, volleyball, indoor hockey, netball, football, table tennis and indoor cricket nets
- A well-equipped multigym
- Indoor tennis court
- Two floodlit Astroturf pitches for hockey and tennis
- Ten all-weather surface courts for netball and tennis
- 4 cricket squares and 16 cricket nets for year-round batting practice
The personal qualities developed through the physical, emotional and social aspects of playing sport are highly valued. At every level, sport at the College aims to foster a lifelong enjoyment of physical activity and build character, the benefits of which are taken into life well beyond school.
Boys: rugby, hockey, cricket, swimming and tennis
Girls: hockey, netball, cricket, swimming and tennis
Sport at the College is supported by
Boys' and Girls' Cricket
“From a cricket perspective, to be able to play in such a nice setting and playing on an excellent surface with a quick outfield made for a top day. The practise facilities were superb for our batters to prepare before the game and allowed the other batters to have throw downs whilst we were batting.” Mark Lane, Coach, Middlesex CCC under 15s
Cricket is played as a major game for boys and girls in the Summer term. There are six cricket squads in the Senior School, including A and B sides for both the U15 and U14 age groups. The fixture list is extensive and includes local schools and schools from the wider East Anglia region. In addition, the 1st XI has an annual match against the MCC.
We make full use of the College’s extensive playing fields and in addition our cricket facilities include four squares, sixteen practice nets, a portable bowling cage and a bowling machine. The Sports Hall has cricket nets which are used for off-season training in Autumn and Winter. Towards the end of the Summer term, the Junior Inter-House competition is held which encourages participation and offers an additional opportunity for more pupils to play representative matches.
For many pupils sports tours are the highlight of their sporting experience at Bishop’s Stortford College. The most recent destinations include the West Indies and South Africa.
Whilst being very proud of our cricket at Bishop’s Stortford College we are ambitious to develop the sport even further in order to provide the best provision for our cricketers and achieve the highest standards possible. We are a MCC Hub school and have also been named as a Top 100 School for Cricket by The Cricketer magazine.
Hockey started at Bishop's Stortford College in 1934. From quite humble beginnings it quickly developed and is now a consistently successful College sport in terms of participation, quality of performance and results. It is the major sport of the Spring term for boys.
We run ten boys teams, meaning a high number of pupils represent the College in competitive fixtures. Our opponents are the strongest hockey schools in the East of England. We travel as far as Gresham’s in Norfolk, Framlingham in Suffolk, Oakam in Rutland and Bedford as well as to more local schools in Cambridge and Watford. The College enters the EHB Cups at U18, U16 and U14 levels as well as the HA Schools Indoor Competitions.
After a golden period, including a 42 game unbeaten run up to the middle 2000s, the College 1st Xl were unbeaten again in 2007 and have had some good years since then. However, it is not only the 1st XI that does well, other senior teams and the junior teams have also achieved good results in the Nationals and in the National Indoor Schools Finals.
The philosophy of the Hockey Club is not just one of team success; individual development is thought to be of the ultimate importance. We want our pupils to play at the highest level they can, both when they are at school and when they leave. Our coaching is appropriate to these objectives. The College believes in and supports the Single System that England Hockey introduced for junior hockey and sees the benefits of a structure with consistent aims and objectives for the players. Many College players have links with clubs and the College supports this partnership which is to the benefit of the athletes involved.
Many pupils have played good quality club hockey while still at school and many more go on to play at a high level when they leave. Before the advent of Single System, many pupils played County and Regional hockey for their respective age groups and several pupils gained Junior International recognition: three went on to play U21s and two have played seniors with one representing GB in London 2012. One of our players was an England U16 regular and other players have been selected for HiPAC U17 and Futures Cup U16 events.
Over many years, the College has toured Holland with different age groups in order to expose the boys to hockey of a different style and further aid their development.
The coaching team at the College has always been strong and we are fortunate to have HA qualified coaches helping many of the teams. At present, Charlie Bannister, the Master i/c Hockey, is the England Boys U16 Assistant Coach.
In terms of facilities, we have a sand filled astroturf pitch which was built in 2008 and a newly laid sand dressed surface.
The philosophy of girls’ hockey at the College is simple: to enable the girls to fulfil their individual potential, to make the most of the opportunities available, and to enjoy playing hockey at a consistently high standard.
Hockey is the major sport played by girls in the Autumn term. The programme benefits from the use of two floodlit astro-turf pitches. We have a fully equipped gym for cardiovascular and strength work and a sports hall for indoor hockey. The girls have two training sessions per week and play matches on Saturdays.
As the number of girls has steadily grown each year at the College, the standard of girls’ hockey has improved and we have been able to field more teams each year. We currently run 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th XI sides plus U15A & B and U14A, B & C teams. We are extremely fortunate to have many highly skilled, talented and committed staff; this, along with our excellent facilities and strong links with the Prep School, means that girls’ hockey at the College is at a very high standard.
We have an exceptionally strong fixture list for all teams, playing some of the strongest hockey schools in the South East of England. Regular block fixtures include: Oakham, Ipswich, Felsted, Sevenoaks, Gresham’s, Framlingham, Coopers Coburn and The Leys.
Each year, teams from the College enter the England Hockey Schools’ Cup at U18, U16 and U14 level. We regularly progress to the Regional rounds of the competition.
All girls playing hockey for the school are involved in the annual House Hockey competition which allows girls to represent their House for the coveted House trophy. There are separate competitions for the senior girls (Sixth Form and Upper Fifth) and junior girls (Lower Fifth and Fourth Form).
Tours are an important part of girls’ hockey at the College and recent destinations have included Canada, Holland and Spain. Tours provide the girls with an insight into different cultures and to experience and play a different style of hockey.
Whilst being very proud of our success in hockey we are still ambitious and continually strive to excel at the highest level.
Netball is played as a major game for girls in the Spring term, with pre-season training taking place in December. The fixture list is extensive and includes local and schools from the wider East Anglia region. We regularly field ten teams in the age groups from U14 to U19.
Led by our Head of Netball, an ex-international player, the coaching staff provide high level coaching as well as inspiring role models and include members of the PE Department and a dedicated team of part-time sports coaches. The programme benefits from ten outdoor Netball courts, half of which are floodlit, and our full-size sports hall provides extensive additional indoor training facilities.
Throughout the Spring term the girls are involved in a variety of tournaments and we have experienced success at the National Schools Netball Tournament and the National Independent Schools cup. Our teams always feature well in the competitive District Championships.
Pre-season training is run by ex or current international and Super League players. These sessions give the girls both an insight into top level training as well as having an opportunity for personal feedback from top sports women.
For many pupils sports tours are the highlight of their sporting experience at Bishop’s Stortford College. Overseas netball tours are organised biannually for the senior squads and recent destinations have included Malta, Barbados, Antigua and Gibraltear.
Rugby is a major sport at Bishop’s Stortford College and is played during the Autumn term. The College regularly fields teams from U14C through to the 1st XV, with over 300 pupils playing throughout the school, at all levels of ability. The fixture list is balanced and includes schools such as Gresham’s, Felsted, Bedford Modern School, Norwich, Framlingham, Haileybury and Mill Hill. The College also boasts extensive and impressive grounds with the 1st XV pitch being one of the best on the circuit. Games are also played under lights at Bishop’s Stortford Rugby Football Club.
Teams enter the Daily Mail Cup and in recent years have reached the latter stages of both the U15 and U18 competition.
After Christmas, the College also plays on the 7s circuit, competing in several tournaments every year, including the Rosslyn Park Nationals, with both U16 and U18 teams. The College 7s teams have also had particular success at the Hertfordshire Schools tournaments, appearing in finals on many occasions in recent years.
As one of the strongest rugby schools in Hertfordshire, the College has a strong representation in County teams and a number of boys are also involved with the Saracens School of Rugby and EPDG (Elite Player Development Group) programme. Ties with Saracens have now been strengthened - we are a Partnership School, which means boys of all age groups benefit from coaching clinics, seminars and specific positions master class sessions.
With a structured rugby programme in place, boys have three sessions a week which include skills sessions, team plays, pool recovery and strength and conditioning sessions.
The senior sides have also undertaken several tours including South Africa, New Zealand and most recently Italy and Portugal.
The coaching staff includes members of the academic staff with particular expertise and high-level coaching qualifications. Pupils further benefit from numerous external coaches, many of whom are ex-international players.
Swimming is a major sport at the College and runs throughout the year. We enjoy the use of the College pool, which offers a 6 lane 25m pool, learner pool and viewing gallery. There are boys' and girls' swimming teams in all age groups. The fixture list is extensive and includes local schools and those from the wider East Anglia region. Most galas take place in the Spring and Summer terms and, in January, we host over ten schools for the District Swimming Championships. The College teams have won the overall boys and girls combined trophy on many occasions. Our swimming coaches are experienced, well-qualified specialists, dedicated to the development of individuals and swimming in general at the College.
One of the main events in the College calendar is the Bath & Otter Cup, held in May, at the London Aquatic Centre. Another regular and highly successful College event is the Senior Schools Gala where the Juba Trophy Relay is held. Towards the end of the Spring term, the Inter-House competition is held which encourages participation and is always a closely contested and enjoyable event.
Bishop's Stortford College is a Royal Life Saving Society training centre; we run courses for the National Pool Lifeguarding Qualification and the National Rescue Award for Swimming Teachers and Coaches.
Swimming has a strong tradition at Bishop’s Stortford College and part of that tradition is 80 Club. Pupils swim 8 lengths before breakfast in the morning and aim to complete either 80 or 120 days between September and Easter. Those who are successful are awarded an 80 Club tie and membership of the Club. Those completing 120 days also receive a silver spoon.
Whilst being very proud of our swimming tradition, we are ambitious to develop the sport even further in order to provide the best provision for our swimmers and achieve the highest standards possible. A recent development to that end has been the reintroduction of water polo with regular fixtures taking place throughout the year. Swimmers who show potential may be invited to train at some of the Elite Programme sessions.
Tennis is played by both boys and girls as a major game in the Summer term, however pupils of all standards can also choose to play it in the Autumn and Spring terms if they wish. The fixture list includes local and schools from the wider East Anglia region.
The coaching staff include members of the academic staff with particular expertise and high-level coaching qualifications. Pupils further benefit from a visiting tennis coach on both Games sessions.
Our Head of Tennis is a LTA Licensed Level 4 Senior Club Coach and former U18 County Coach. We have strong affiliations with Sawbridgeworth LTC, including a LTA Licensed Level 4 Head Coach and Herts County Coach assisting alongside other LTA qualified coaches in the delivery of the Tennis programme. We also have good links with Bishop’s Stortford Lawn Tennis Club (LTC).
The tennis programme benefits from excellent facilities including nine all-weather courts and twelve astro-turf courts.