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By Laura Taylor, Feb 7 2020 05:24PM

Youngsters from tennis star Joe Salisbury’s former primary school got a surprise visit from the newly crowned Australian Open winner today.

Salisbury, who claimed his first Grand Slam title by winning the men’s doubles with Rajeev Ram in Melbourne, was back in Putney for a visit to All Saints’ CoE Primary School organised by the LTA and took part in a tennis session for a group of 60 lucky children.

The 27-year-old was pupil at the school between 1996 and 2001 where he showed initial promise in the sport before going on to University of Memphis in the United States and now one of the players on the LTA’s elite men’s programme at the National Tennis Centre, in Roehampton.

He has risen rapidly up the ATP World Doubles rankings over the last two years, moving from outside the top 100 to a career-high of number four following his Australian Open victory where he joined Jamie Murray as only the second Brit since 1934 to win the title..

The Grand Slam champion was cheered into the school’s Friday morning assembly by pupils where he took to the stage to talk about his success down under and answer questions from children eager to find about his life as a tennis player.

Britain’s latest Grand Slam winner was then put through his paces on his old playground by a group of year 3 and 5 pupils who took part in a special tennis session led by LTA coaches from the National Tennis Centre before signing autographs and posing for photos with them.

Joe said: “It was amazing to be back at my first school after such an incredible few weeks in Australia.

“To see all the kids, get a chance to chat and play a bit of tennis with them was really special and it is just great to give something back. Hopefully it will inspire them start playing, keep playing or just find their passion in whatever they love doing.”

Steve Russell, head of PE at All Saints CoE School, added: “To get the opportunity to have a hit with someone who is not only a Grand Slam winner but someone who played on the same playground as them was incredible for our children. What Joe has done is a great example to them of what you achieve if you work hard.”

Cecily Berry, one of the pupils who took part in the session, said: “I love playing tennis so it was really fun to play with Joe. I had to concentrate hard to make sure I kept on hitting it back to him but I really enjoyed it.”

Inspired to pick up a racket and get involved in tennis? Visit to discover more.

By Laura Taylor, Feb 4 2020 06:08PM

Taunton School U14 netball team have earned a place at the national finals next month.

The only school in the south west region to be represented in each age group at the regional finals in Bournemouth, the U14s topped their age group and now progress as one of only 18 teams in the country.

Lisa Manley, head of netball at Taunton said: “I’m proud of all of our students for giving it their all in this tough competition. The U19 team were unlucky this time, but they are a young side and will get another chance next year. The U14 squad played phenomenally well and are looking very strong for the nationals.”

The England Netball Schools finals take place at Welwyn Garden City on March 14.

*Entries for the 2020/21 School Sport Magazine National Schools U12, U13 and U15 Netball Cups are now open. Email [email protected] for further details

By Laura Taylor, Feb 3 2020 11:19AM

Stockport Grammar has had a fantastic start to 2020 after qualifying for the England Netball National U14 Schools finals in March.

The girls won their group in the regional finals - which contained The Grange School, Sedbergh School, Scarisbrick Hall School and St Wilfrid's Church of England Academy – before defeating Wirral Grammar School for Girls 10-8.

SGS’s head of girls’ games Laura Goddard said: “We are delighted and very proud of this amazing achievement by the girls.”

*Entries for the 2020/21 School Sport Magazine National Schools U12, U13 and U15 Netball Cups are now open. Email [email protected] for further details

By Laura Taylor, Jan 29 2020 04:34PM

Up to 300 teams and more than 22,000 pupils will be taking part in the ESFA Schools' Football Week from February 3-7.

Schools' Football Week, an ESFA initiative, is a countrywide campaign, designed to highlight the huge scale of schools' football in England and also an opportunity for schools, teams and clubs to showcase their talent, dedication and benefits of schools' football using their own experiences.

The ESFA invited schools and football associations from across the country to show their support for Schools' Football Week and to outline any plans they have in place for the event.

ESFA data shows that schools plan to hold both intra and inter-school activities for boys and girls and over 150 schools will be holding coaching or training sessions for their pupils and players to take part in.

Schools also advised the ESFA they are planning to hold assemblies, integrate football into history and geography lessons as well host challenges for both pupils and teachers to take part in, such as cross-bar challenges, beat the goalie and penalty shootouts.

Some schools are holding charity events and inviting pupils to wear their favourite football shirt to school for the day.

Schools and teams that registered their activity for Schools' Football Week will all be placed into a draw to win 30 tickets for a free tour of Wembley, donated by The FA to support the Schools' Football Week campaign.

Pupils were also invited to take part in a pupil survey, with a view to giving them a voice and the opportunity to share their thoughts on the football landscape as a whole.

Over 150 school pupils filled out the online survey and 70% of them agreed with the current ruling that mixed football should be available for pupils up to the age of U18.

Former ESFA footballers Michael Keane, Everton and England, and Tammy Abraham, Chelsea and England, created some video content for the ESFA and talked about their own experiences within schools' football and why it was so important to them.

The ESFA will be marking the start of Schools' Football Week on Monday February 3 with the first ever PlayStation FC Schools' Cup Next Level Live event, taking place at West Bromwich Albion's Hawthorns Stadium.

In conjunction with ESFA partners PlayStation, the event will provide the opportunity for more than 300 school pupils from secondary schools across England to take part in unique careers development sessions hosted by ESFA higher education partner, University Campus of Football Business (UCFB) as well as immersive activities set up throughout the stadium highlighting the various elements of the PlayStation F.C. Schools' Cup and featuring some PlayStation F.C. Schools' Cup ambassadors.

Thursday February 6 will mark the Schools' Football Week "Game On" aspect of the campaign - where all activity on social media that takes place on this day will be monitored to get a good snapshot of Schools' Football activity within one specific day.

All schools or teams that use the hashtag #SFWGameOn on February 6 will be put into a draw to win a framed Panini sticker mock-up collection, featuring their own players from their school or club team.

ESFA chairman Phil Harding said: “We are delighted to see the impressive figure of school children in England who will get the opportunity to partake in some degree of schools' football thanks to the Schools' Football Week campaign.

“The ESFA's ethos is that of an educational establishment and it's incredibly important to us that we are able to provide new ways to give children in England the opportunity to take part in football related activity as part of a healthy lifestyle and educational balance.”

By Laura Taylor, Jan 24 2020 06:15PM

Five new national sports competitions are being launched in 2020 by School Sport Magazine.

To consolidate netball’s position as one of the most popular sports played in schools, U12, U13 and U15 events will be added to the calendar beginning in September.

Entries have also opened for the inaugural School Sport Magazine U14 rugby union cup, which will kick off in the Autumn.

Meanwhile the new girls’ U18 cricket cup, which builds on the success on the existing U15 competition, will launch this summer with entries about to close shortly.

If numbers reach appropriate levels, all the events will be added as qualifying competitions for next year’s top 100 sports schools lists.

Phil Tusler, publishing editor of School Sport Magazine, said: “We are happy to reintroduce the netball competitions which proved very popular when we ran them a few years ago.

“The introduction of the U14 rugby cup is a natural successor to our U13 cup and will complement the excellent national U15 and U18 competitions run by the RFU.

“Our U18 girls T20 cricket cup is also proving popular with schools and follows the success of our U15 competition over the last seven years.”

Further information on the events can be found on while schools can enter via [email protected]

By Laura Taylor, Jan 16 2020 04:18PM

Taunton School are preparing for the regional schools netball finals this month after qualifying at U14, U16 and U19 level at the county finals.

The Somerset school will be the only one in the south west region represented in each age group.

The U14 squad won their county final back in October while the U16 team also had a successful tournament gaining a place in the regional finals after getting the runners-up spot, having only lost one game.

It was the U19’s turn in November where they had a brilliant run in their county finals, missing out on the champions’ spot by the narrowest of margins on goal difference to Richard Huish College, qualifying as runners up.

Head of netball Lisa Manley said: “To have all three teams in the regional finals is very exciting and testament to our hard-working, talented netballers. I’m immensely proud of the way our students have performed displaying respect and determination in all games.”

The three Taunton teams will be heading to the David English Sports Centre in Bournemouth on Saturday January 25 for the regional finals.

By Laura Taylor, Jan 7 2020 07:14PM

It’s the last chance to enter the 2020 School Sport Magazine U15 and new U18 Twenty/20 Girls Cricket Cups.

Such has been the response to the U15 cup and new girls’ U18 competition that the cap on competing sides will soon be reached - so schools need to act quickly to guarantee their places.

In an unprecedented surge of entries, a host of new and returning sides will be battling it out over the two competitions as the growth in girls’ cricket continues.

The 11-a-side hardball competitions, open to both state and independent schools in England and Wales, will be run on a local, county and regional basis in the early rounds to avoid excess travel and will be played mainly in midweek but weekends if preferred.

Both competitions will be played in group stages before the summer half term with the group winners qualifying for the knockout stages.

The U15 finals day (semi-finals and final) will take place in early September. The U18 competition will have its finals day at the end of the summer term.

Further details and an entry form are available on the website or by emailing [email protected]

By Laura Taylor, Dec 20 2019 04:37PM

Putney High School sealed a historic national title after winning the LTA’s prestigious Team Tennis U13 championships.

The London side put on a dominant display at the USN Bolton Arena, winning three matches out of three without dropping a game to claim their first ever U13 crown.

They defeated second-placed Prior Park College, from, Bath, third-placed Sheffield High School and fourth-placed Northampton High School 12-0 to cap a fantastic competition.

(To read the full story on the championships, check out the new edition of School Sport Magazine out next month. Subscribe for just £29 a year/single copies £6 each)

By Laura Taylor, Dec 9 2019 02:49PM

Two Buckinghamshire schools took two of the top honours at the English Schools Cross Country Cup Final at Mount St Mary’s College in Derbyshire at the weekend.

Dr Challoner’s Grammar won the junior boys U13 event just ahead of Oxted School in second and third-placed Eastwood Academy in Essex.

And their neighbours Dr Challoner’s High emerged triumphant in the intermediate girls U15 competition in front of second-placed Coopers Company & Coborn School and Bradford Grammar in third.

Coopers had to settle for second place in the junior girls U13 event behind convincing winners Guildford High School with Sevenoaks School in third.

And Kent side Judd School took the honours in the intermediate boys U15 final with Abingdon School in second and Dulwich College in third.

(To read the full story, check out the new edition of School Sport Magazine out next week. Subscribe for just £29 a year/single copies £6 each)