Portsmouth Grammar School celebrating their return to prestigious top 100 list

The Portsmouth Grammar School is celebrating a return to a prestigious list.

Tuesday, 5th May 2020, 9:17 am
Portsmouth Grammar School's 2018/19 rugby union squad. Back (from left): T Daloz, J McBride, J Norton, L Gibson, H Conway, T Wallis, T Coyle, J Crundwell, G Prince, W Hickman, T Amos, W Redrupp, T Beatie, M Saint. Front: J Taylor, J Breen, J Furniss, E Haydon, T Drayson, O Lilley, J Martin.

They have been placed 70th in the latest edition of the Schools Sports Magazine’s Top 100 Sport Schools.PGS had previously been 45th in 2015 and 38th in 2017, and are ‘extremely proud’ to be the only co-educational school in Hampshire to have made the top 100. ‘Congratulations to everyone that works so hard to make participation in sport such an enriching and rewarding experience at our school,’ said PGS Head Dr Anne Cotton. ‘Being included in the list this year is a fantastic achievement and one that our pupils and staff should be very proud about.’In compiling their list, Schools Sports Magazine give more weighting to success in a range of sports rather than single sports and those sports with more schools competing. Reaching the top 30 puts you in the top 1-3 per cent of the country’s state or independent sporting schools while the top 100 puts you in the top 3-10 per cent. PGS were placed 70th primarily due to their success in reaching the last 16 of the Natwest Rugby U18s Cup in the academic year 2018/19 and their third place in the National Hockey Championships in the same season.‘It is great to be included in this list,’ said PGS Director of Sport Evan Stewart.‘Our team work incredibly hard to provide a range of sporting activities that our pupils can engage with and hopefully find that one sport that they love to play. ‘We aim to encourage their love of a sport as well as looking after their health and well-being in general as we believe this is the best way to find success at any level.‘We always ask our students to imagine themselves at the age of 25, and where they would see themselves.‘That’s the age that we generally have our first reunions - by that age most people would have finished university and had one or two years in their chosen profession.‘It’s always nice if I bump into a former pupil, or see them at a reunion, and they tell me they are still actively enjoying their sport.‘That could be playing at a high level, or it could be they are a member of their local cricket club and they play on a Sunday.‘Or it could be that they use the gym three times a week and are still active and healthy because we laid the foundations - that’s a big thing for us.‘There’s no difference to playing at a high level or just going to the gym a few times a week - both are equally important.’The school’s most famous recent sporting Alumni is athlete Roger Black, who won a host of gold medals in World, European and Commonwealth Games between 1986-1997. He also won two silver medals at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 - in the 400m and the 4 x 400m.Other ex-PGS pupils have progressed to the international scene, though.Ashleigh Dekker played for England at under-17 and under-19 level at netball, and is currently in the Super League with London Pulse.Ross Morrison was a member of the Team GB wheelchair rugby squad at London 2012, while Rory Buckeridge is a current England under-18 hockey international.Charlie Dean has played for the England Women’s Cricket Academy team in recent years, as well as representing the Southern Vipers in the Kia Women’s T20 Super League.Though PGS offer a range of different sports, six take priority and each have their own departmental head.They are: rugby (David Lyons), hockey (Alex Leach), netball (Izzie Clark), cricket (Scott Curwood), tennis (Steve Hawkswell) and athletics (Amy Chaplin).On any given weekend during the academic year, PGS could be fielding anywhere between 20 and 40 different teams across a range of sports.At the moment, due to Covid-19, fixtures have obviously stopped but plans have still been put in place for students to remain as active as possible.All sports activities are being run remotely, including virtual dance lessons and fitness sessions put on by local businesses such as The Box Portsmouth ‘to keep our pupils motivated during this challenging time.’‘We’re trying to be as interactive as we possibly can be,’ said Stewart. ‘We’re trying to keep the pupils fit mentally as well as physically.‘The heads of the different sports have produced fitness and coaching videos, and we’re trying to keep the element of competitiveness for those who want it.’Moving forward, PGS have plans to upgrade their facilities. ‘We’re looking to have new netball courts and the astroturf will be resurfaced, and there will be improvements to the sports hall in 12-18 months time.’*

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Millfield School retained their position at the top of the Schools Sports Magazine’s Top 100 Sport Schools list.The Somerset-based school has an enviable list of sporting Alumni including Olympic gold medallists Mary Rand, Duncan Goodhew and Helen Glover, Welsh rugby legends Sir Gareth Edwards and JPR Williams, and a host of England cricketers including Craig Kieswetter, Ian Ward, Ben Hollioake and ex-Hampshire bowler Simon Jones.Surrey-based Whitgift School - whose former students include England rugby player Danny Cipriani and current England Test cricketer Rory Burns - were second in the list for the second year running.

Portsmouth Grammar School hockey squad 2018/19. Back (from left) T Betsworth, A Beckett, E Charlton, F Bell, A Davidson. Middle: J Ware, A Bolton, N Ross, J Rixon, I Vloemans, F Detrafford. Front: D Faulkner (coach), R McDonald, M Walton, R Buckeridge (captain), A Ellison, O Jameson, A Leach (manager).