Sunday, 20 January 2013

Partnership through sport

Recently at King's we completed a deal with the local Council which is an interesting model of partnership and one worth sharing and explaining.  A short distance from our school is a sports centre which was built for the town by the Council.  It offered a great range of facilities including the sports hall, gym and several tennis courts but over time it had become dilapidated, public use declined and due to lack of demand it was often closed.  We have two sports halls at King's but were using the sports centre to broaden what we could offer to our pupils and out of this came the idea of how the school and council could work together for mutual benefit.

Last term we signed an agreement with the Council whereby we acquired what is now called 'King's Rochester Sports Centre'.  We are now running the Centre and putting in half a million pounds of investment to dramatically improve the facilities.  Our pupils will have use of excellent sporting opportunities which is great for them and supports our programme of development.  Crucially we are also running it as a public Sports Centre which means our local community gains a huge benefit as well.  With excellent bar and catering facilties it can become a social as well as sporting hub; indeed the childrens' parties and roller skating sessions are particularly popular which as a parent makes me very happy!

One aspect which has got real potential to transform sport locally is our plan for tennis at the Centre.  Curiously, there are not many courts in the area but we have several at the Centre, although currently only three are even halfway playable.  The LTA have been fantastic in offering their support and expertise and we are shortly going out to tender to totally resurface the area to LTA specifications. 

In two weeks time we are holding assessments for five new sports scholarships at King's to celebrate the acquistion of the Sports Centre and later in the year the refurbishment will be complete.  It is a genuinely exciting project and one which I am gaining a great deal of satisfaction and enjoyment from.  This is the sort of venture which shows how an independent school and local Council can work together to great effect and provides a platform for the legacy from the Olympics which we all want to see.
King's Rochester Sports Centre - artist's impression