Using Fencing across your School – Flexibly and with Huge Impact
Addressing the issue of timetabling and delivery: “How is this going to fit in and where?”
Introducing any new sport into a school provides many benefits, but fencing is especially flexible and engaging. Fencing can find a place in regular PE lessons, after-school provision, PSHEE sessions, and in many other lessons – and the nature of the sport means it can have a huge impact on your pupils in all these areas.
“The [fencing] programme has fostered many important behaviours in the children: respect, teamwork, honesty, discipline and equality.”
Dan Hatfield, St Giles CE Primary, Willenhall
Some sports can be divisive in schools with pupils having different levels of ability and interest and often supporting rival professional teams. But few if any pupils will have fenced and from their first lesson all will see an increase in their agility and confidence.
“I feel like a lion sometimes.”
A pupil at a primary school taking fencing!
Despite not being taught in schools, fencing can quickly engage all pupils as it has strong links to many different cultures and personal interests. A fencing mask also provides a ‘blank slate’ so pupils can’t easily see who is fencing at any time. Those who are introverted, shy, neurodiverse, who want to dress modestly for religious reasons, or who want to imagine themselves as intergalactic heroes or rulers can gain huge enjoyment from doing sport ‘their way’!
“Boys really enjoy football, and the girls wouldn’t necessarily play with the football with the boys, but in fencing they’ve been going at the boys and have been trying to ‘get them’ and it’s worked really well.”
Zoe Howarth, Class teacher and SENCO, Welton St Mary Primary School, Lincolnshire
Fencing can also help teachers in many areas. For example, the rules of fencing provide an opportunity to start a discussion of ‘British values’ such as the rule of law, respect, and tolerance. Rules are followed in the sport to reduce danger, while codes of practice have developed so that fencers can show respect to each other before and after duels.
Once a school has started a fencing programme, investments in fencing equipment and training can also be used outside the school day. Many schools we work with run lunchtime clubs and after-school sessions which further engage pupils and bring in income.
“The training and resources proved enabled staff to feel confident delivering whole PE units, as well as a club. Great investment!”
Julie Millard, Haselworth Primary School, Gosport
And this investment can lead on to national and international success! The purpose of the We Are Forging Futures programme is whole-school involvement, but fencing is also one of the oldest Olympic and Paralympic sports with a huge international following. Perhaps a 2040 Olympic champion is in your school now?