It has been an exciting 12 months of sports tours at Alderley Edge School for Girls in Cheshire, with a hockey tour to Belfast in February, a ski trip to Madonna di Campiglio at Easter and the school’s first-ever international hockey and netball tour to Gibraltar and Spain back in October 2017.
During the Belfast tour, the girls were lucky enough not only to play hockey against three local schools but also experience a coaching session with Paddy Hunter, an U18 Irish national player. Aside from all the action on the field, the girls were able to watch a professional ice hockey game, visit the Titanic Centre to learn more about the 1912 tragedy and enjoyed a historical tour around West and East Belfast in addition to visiting the Giants Causeway.
As the Easter holidays kicked in, six days of skiing lay ahead for the girls and staff in Italy. The group comprised girls of mixed abilities, from beginner to advanced, and everyone improved their skills and technique as a result of sheer hard work and determination on the slopes. The trip was a well-deserved break from a busy school term and excellent teamwork skills were demonstrated throughout the trip as girls helped and motivated each other to do well.
Back in October, over 30 girls participated in a five-day sports tour to Spain and Gibraltar. The best game involved the U15 team who played the 1st team from Yarm; both teams were well matched with a 23–17 win to Alderley Edge School for Girls. All the girls improved throughout the netball tour and the school was proud of their continued effort and enthusiasm for every challenge.
Days four and five were all about hockey as the U15 team travelled to play Benalmadena Hockey Club, and the U15 A team and the U13 team travelled to Malaga to play an indoor national team. The girls also enjoyed swimming and playing volleyball and rounders on the beach before final hockey matches saw the U15 girls playing Malaga U14 boys’ team; a match which they managed to win by an impressive 4-0.
Sports tours are, of course, about the sport, but there are many more aspects at work when participating in any international extra-curricular activity – learning about cultural differences, developing language skills and having a greater sense of understanding of local history and geography. The opportunity also allows youngsters to become somewhat ‘independent travellers’ away from the classroom.
I am a passionate believer in the importance of sport. Experiencing a loss and celebrating a victory can build those skills of perseverance and grit; skills that are so important in sport but also in building academic success. Sports tours help pupils to develop a positive mindset and help them to build self-esteem and self-confidence in an atmosphere of adventure and independence.
So what’s next for Alderley Edge School for Girls? Miss Lynda McConville, Director of Sport, has grand plans for tours further afield including South Africa and Australia, all of which will further enhance the life skills and learning experiences of the girls. Watch this space…
For further info, visit aesg.co.uk