Games at Headfort
Games time is an eagerly anticipated part of the day for the majority at Headfort: a break from the classroom, a chance to escape the building and a dose of fresh air. Of course not every pupil is completely enamoured but even the child who isn’t fanatical about sports can understand the value of a bit of a run about – it may be better than algebra or ox-bow lakes!
Headfort offers a wide range of sports and extras (activities). We have team games four days a week with one free afternoon for other pursuits. The free afternoon is also often the day on which matches with other schools are played. Each term has a principal sport for boys and girls but there is plenty of variety and choice all through the seasons. The girls play hockey, basketball and softball (rounders). The boys have rugby, hockey and cricket. Boys and girls play hockey together and occasionally cricket. Indeed girls have played on the school hockey and cricket teams in the past few years.
Headfort is blessed with great space and a wide range of facilities. Two rugby pitches, two hockey pitches and a small soccer pitch service the winter games. In the summer several cricket and softball matches can happen at the same time and a running track is also in use. Tennis courts, basketball courts, a squash court and a heated outdoor pool (summer only) supplement the green areas. Riders are also well looked after; as well as somewhere to stable your pony, we have a cross-country course, several trails through the estate and an all-weather arena for show jumping.
The “Top Game”, the main game of the day, is a group of senior pupils that usually makes up the school team. Top Game is supervised by the master in charge of that particular sport; a person with some expertise and the enthusiasm and energy required to shape a team from a collection of children with little previous experience. Of course school teams like to be successful, and Headfort teams often are, but winning is not their raison d’être. Playing the game in the right spirit is encouraged at all levels.
While time is needed to mould a team, variety is also important. As well as the three main sports there are plenty of other diversions on offer. Pupils can sign up for lessons in tennis, cooking, swimming, horse riding, golf and gardening in the summer. These “Extras” provide other options, particularly for the child less interested in team sports. Athletics also comes to the fore in May and June and ends with Sports Day near the end of term. Football (soccer) is played throughout the year; it is often the best introduction to team sports for smaller children.
Although it’s hard to imagine, but not every afternoon at Headfort is dry and warm! When the weather is uncooperative we have an indoor area (the Hangar), which can accommodate hockey, basketball, rugby drills and small games of cricket. If the weather isn’t too bad but the pitches are unplayable, a cross county run is the usual default. Squash is also another indoor option and the riders can be kept in the saddle with the use of the all-weather arena.