The North School: National School of the Year
The North School has been unveiled as the National Winner of the School of the Year Award at the
LTA Tennis Awards, held the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton. The LTA Tennis Awards
highlights the vital work of tennis volunteers, coaches, officials, and players across Britain, with as many as 2,500 nominations received each year.
The ceremony was hosted by LTA President Sandi Procter and presented by Leon Smith OBE, with several high-profile guests in attendance, including Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Gloucester.
Procter was as impressed by the selfless sacrifice of the officials, volunteers, and coaches off the court as she was by the exploits of Britain’s elite tennis players on it. “I found the whole day and award process quite emotional,” she said. “The inspirational personalities behind the awards, and for all that they do is unbelievable. “It just brought tears to your eyes when I listened to all those stories. It's so heart-warming, all of it is wonderful.”
The North School, who were represented by their Head of Tennis, Andrew Sunderland have gone through an incredible 12-month period which has seen them develop an outstanding tennis culture within the school. Sunderland commented, ‘It feels surreal to receive this award, especially amongst such esteemed company but I am so proud of everything that we have accomplished over the last year’.
Despite having zero active tennis players in May 2022, The North School has fully embedded the sport into school life. They have implemented blocks of structured tennis lessons into their PE curriculum in line with the LTA Youth Schools model and this has now been delivered to over 400 students. The school has also established an extensive extra-curricular offer, with a particular emphasis on creating more opportunities for girls in sport. Over 80 girls have taken to the court for weekly coaching sessions and the school has backed this up by creating an impressive array of competitive opportunities including hosting 18 match play nights, 6 intra-school tournaments, 2 inter-school tournaments, 3 LTA Team Challenge Nights and a Play Your Way To Wimbledon qualifying event.
Mrs. Ellerby, Headteacher of The North School commented ‘I am incredibly proud of the Tennis Academy and all of its members. This is such a massive achievement made even more pertinent by the rapid growth in popularity of the Tennis Academy in under a year. It is a real testament to the hard work and dedication of the students and staff to be recognised nationally with this award.
The school’s meteoric progress even caught the eye of sports giant Nike, who, through the Nike Community Ambassador programme, send a team of their community coaches to assist The North School’s coaching staff every week.
The school’s long-term plan is to continue to expand until there are organised tennis opportunities for students from Year 7 through to Year 13 with pathways in place to keep them in the sport into adult life. It has been a spectacular rise and with Wimbledon currently capturing the nation’s attention and there are plenty of students at The North School who are now daring to dream of gracing the hallowed grass of SW19 one day.
For more information, you can contact Andrew Sunderland at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow the programme on Instagram @northschooltennis