Lent Term Hockey Success 2022

25th Mar 2022

As we near the end of a busy term, it is always worth reflecting on the journey that we have been on. Perhaps this is particularly prevalent in sport, whether the experiences remembered are outstanding moments of success….or grizzly learning opportunities! The boys’ hockey term has been full of stories, emotions and progress.

Whilst it is clearly not all about results, it is important to recognise and celebrate significant successes. The U13s have had a phenomenal season and have performed outstandingly well in tournaments. They finished third in the Regional Round of the IAPS competition and therefore qualified for the National Finals. The Nationals were down the road at Haileybury and the quality of hockey on display was fantastic. The boys played very well in some tight contests, including an international match against a Scottish school, to eventually finish 11th in the country! The annual England Hockey U13 tournament also went well. The team finished as runners up in the County and then an impressive third in the East Region.

Clearly we will be sending Senior schools some very accomplished hockey players in September, but the future of hockey in the school is in safe hands. The U11 boys have made a great deal of progress, finishing 3rd in their County Tournament and have been playing a superb brand of hockey in their Wednesday fixtures. The younger year groups have also begun to develop a love for the game and have enjoyed putting their skills to the test against each other and other schools.



SJCS Sports Blog - March 2022

11th Mar 2022

“Fostering a love of running at SJCS”

This is one of our aims and with that aim in mind it was time this year to make some changes to the Cross Country format and modernise the event. The desire and aim to instil a joy and love of running associated with Cross Country for the future. It now links with the Fieldrun ethos whilst retaining the competitive elements for individuals and the Houses. There is a moving finish line that catches up with the runners as the race progresses and when this passes them they have finished. This removes the bunch finish and means that the more motivated runners will be running further and finishing at the end, in reverse of the traditional cross country race. Those wanting to do as well as they can for their House still contribute valuably, without having to run as far and finish after the quicker runners. We hoped that this would increase motivation to run as well as they can for their houses whilst providing the competitive element for those wanting to do as well they wanted too. We were delighted to see so many smiling faces on the day of this year’s Cross Country and there was a palpable positive energy and buzz coming from the pupils. Forms 4 – 6 embraced this new version of the event and the effort and perseverance was first class from all the pupils. Pupils running in the colours of their Houses gave an important visual connection to each House embed a stronger House event feeling. We will continue to refine and develop it further to continue to make it an enjoyable yearly event for all pupils.

Fieldrun has been a great success over the last two terms, with a good number of Senior House students committing to walk, run or jog the event on a weekly basis. It was superb to see the Senior House Fieldrun community coming together this morning to put on the inaugural Byron House Fieldrun. There was a warm up led by three members of the Form 5, willing tail and lead runners as well as plenty of vibrantly encouraging marshals spread out around the course. In total 36 students, with all Byron House Year groups represented (including KG!), completed 1, 2 or 3 laps and seemed thrilled with the experience. An extra special well done to all the parents who got up early this morning and a big thank you to those who joined their children on the run. As with any organised run there will be stories of heroism and camaraderie and we look forward to hearing from the children over the coming days. Watch this space for news of the next one!

SJCS Sports Blog - 19 October 2021

19th Oct 2021

Running is well and truly on the agenda at SJCS this term. From Aquathlon Club to teachers running in the Cambridge Half Marathon, there is progress, perseverance and performance on display. Perhaps the spirit of running is best summed up in the Parkrun movement, where personal bests and the number of runs completed are all that matters. Did you know that you cannot ‘win’ a Parkrun and nobody comes last because a tail runner sweeps around at the back?

Following its launch in September, the SJCS Fieldrun has been a big success. There have been plenty of PB’s and impressive finishing times, but perhaps most importantly, many of the children are beginning to take a slightly different approach to the morning run. Consistent attendance seems to produce a wisdom and maturity that certainly wasn’t there in the first 400 metres of the launch event! Students are learning to be mindful of their present state, opting to take a steady approach if they’ve had a busy week or they can still feel their breakfast! 

It has also been pleasing to see a number of pupils volunteering to be the tail runner and beginning to think about marshalling, two critical roles in producing a vibrant and positive running community. Another key component of the operation is the ease, speed and accuracy of the results. Currently Will Taylor, our Sports Gap, is doing a wonderful job of uploading these to the Fieldrun Google classroom before first break and it is hoped that a pupil may wish to take on this responsibility in time. 

We are very pleased to have Tom Vickery from Cambridge Endurance, who finished an incredible 3rd in the Cambridge Half Marathon, run our two Senior House Aquathlon Clubs. He is fully behind the Fieldrun initiative and expects children to be able to provide an answer when questioned what their best Fieldrun time is. The good news is that there is room for more students to come along at 8am on a Friday morning.  If your child is interested in taking part, even if just for a trial session, please email in advance so that their name can be added to the list. 

Finally, watch this space for news of a revamped House Cross Country competition, where the finish line comes to you and the quickest runners run for the longest amount of time.

SJCS Sports Blog - Week 1 2021

27th Sep 2021

It is wonderful to have all pupils return to school and back on all activities for the PE and Games programme. It is a very nice sight to look over the playing fields and see the amount of activity each afternoon, with a range of sports and age groups. All the children have come back with enthusiasm and zest for sport and we are looking forward to being able to build on the foundations laid during the past 18 months of interrupted activities.

Pre Prep classes have enjoyed a mixture of game-based lessons and gymnastics each week so far in PE. Gymnastics is an area of PE that the school was not able to do so much of during lockdown and the children have been excited by this element of their PE and are already been applying themselves with aptitude and drive in lessons. T2W have had their first swimming lessons in school and, again, the attitude and approach of the children has been terrific to see with lots of smiles, along with a determination to improve their swimming ability. Last week saw the return of inter school fixtures for Forms 4, 5 and 6 with Culford School and it was an incredible sight to watch all the children doing hockey and rugby in those year groups be involved in the matches either home or away last Wednesday. Rowing, Squash and Fives have also restarted with lots of excitement from those children doing those activities for the first time.

Fitness at SJCS in Lockdown

13th Nov 2020

Tutor: “You look exhausted?”.... 

A member of the Form 3:… “Well I have had a very active day, swimming club this morning and then badminton in PE, then it was our turn to have extra Sport on Thursday afternoon, so we learnt how to play ultimate Frisbee, finished our capture the flag competition and then ran a Field Run as well!!”

With most grassroots sport being on hold, there has been much written in recent weeks surrounding the vital importance of physical activity amongst our younger generations. It seems the nation now unanimously understands that sedentary lifestyles can lead to all sorts of wellbeing difficulties further down the line. The NHS’s 'Change 4 Life' campaign is recommending that kids take part in 60 minutes of activity each day. As we find ourselves in a second lockdown, there is much for the St John’s community to celebrate and be thankful for, not least the continued high levels of access to physical activity.

It is clear now that the pandemic is going to span the majority of a calendar year and throughout we have encouraged students to take further ownership of their active lifestyles. We hope, therefore, that St John’s students would be able to confidently provide multiple good reasons for why we should all keep moving. Answers would include ideas such as: improves attention levels, strengthens muscles and bones, maintains a healthy weight, helps them sleep better and improves their mood!

The dialogue above indicates that the levels of activity this term have been as high as ever and the variety of sport on show has arguably increased. Measuring a whole school’s level of activity is very difficult. Readers may remember that during sports relief week last year, we estimated how far the St John’s students would have travelled during their Games and PE lessons in a week. Amazingly we discovered that by adding up all of the activities taking place, we could have reached Finland by day 5! 

One method of potentially demonstrating how active our students are in these unprecedented times would be to measure their number of daily steps. Many students are currently wearing watches that can measure this, but they have to take them off for Games and PE. Mr Millward would love to give special permission to any students to wear their watch, where it is safe to do so, in order to carry out a mini experiment.  

Watch this space for the findings over the coming weeks….



Girls' Hockey & Form 5 House Matches 2020

13th Nov 2020

The girls have made a fantastic start to the hockey term bringing their enthusiasm and desire to learn to very lesson – come rain or shine! So far this half term we have combined working on their general fitness with really honing the basic skills and then introducing the younger girls to positional play. The older girls have had a chance to learn some 3D skills which has really challenged them as well as taking time as a team to really think about set pieces and the tactics involved in these.  The progress the girls have made is evident from all years and they seem to have really benefited from the extra time we have devoted to skills in lessons. We have used small sided games and lots of  ‘conditioned’ games to put into practise what they have learnt and after half term we are looking forward to some more competitive games in our year groups and some inter-house competitions. This week the Form 5 girls enjoyed four five-a-side House hockey matches with Fisher 1st, Gunning 2nd, Beaufort 3th and Sandys 4th.

Movement Skills & Physical Literacy at SJCS

18th Sep 2020

For many, prep school sport fosters visions of character building, camaraderie and passion. The variety and attainable competition has proved to be a great starting place for lifelong involvement in sport. Memories have always been made in local fixtures, where students are given the opportunity to represent the school at a level appropriate to them. Now, with coronavirus challenging much of this system, the question is whether prep school sport can adapt and evolve in the short, medium and potentially long term.  

At St John’s, we are a progressive PE department and have been exploring what a forward thinking school sport system looks like for some time. The current situation has provided a wonderful opportunity for us to take a further step in answering the below question:

Assistant Head of Sport, Mr David Millward, explains how you hold onto the glory of Prep School sport whilst ensuring pupil wellbeing, inclusivity and a culture of health and fitness are at the centre of delivery.

"With no fixtures due to take place before half term, we have been able to explore and evolve a curriculum with a subtle shift in focus. We are now into the second week of term and have placed a greater importance on developing fundamental movement skills and physical literacy. The aim is to give students the tools necessary to take further ownership of their individual physical development. Ask a St John’s student to show you a bear crawl and hopefully you’ll get a great demonstration! As further information floods through from national governing bodies we will be adjusting and developing our curriculum. We want to ensure that the intensity of high performance sport is not lost, whilst also looking to provide quality alternatives where necessary. Watch this space for more information on exciting initiatives such as St John’s Parkrun, ultimate Frisbee and an inter House competition like no other before it!"

U13 Eastern Hockey Regionals

16th Mar 2020

The U13 1st Boys’ VII hockey team performed brilliantly at the U13 Eastern Regionals last week. As Cambridgeshire County Champions, the team qualified for the East Regionals, held at an Olympic training ground in Redbridge. Assistant Director of Sport, Mr David Millward, commented, "In windy conditions the standard of hockey did not disappoint and the group stages were fiercely contested. This team have been working particularly hard on converting goal scoring opportunities and this proved to be very useful in the shortened tournament matches."

The boys beat Norwich, Robert Bloomfield, Forest and Bishop’s Stortford schools before drawing 0-0 with Culford. Mr Millward remarked, "This left them joint top of the group but second on goal difference. The news filtered through from the other group that our opponents in the Semi-Final would be Felsted, the team who knocked us out of the IAPS Nationals on penalty strokes!"

The boys were highly motivated but experienced a challenging first half with high intensity and pressured situations as the team went into half-time 3 goals down. The boys used a collaborative and positive mindset to change their play in the second half and, with a minute to go, the score line ended on 2-3. Mr Millward commented, "The boys should be tremendously proud of the way they persevered in the second half and the tenacity that they showed right up until the final whistle.This has been an exceptional season for the team and they have shown that they really are one of the best teams in the country. The boys have represented the school with aplomb both on and off the pitch and will now move forward with some long lasting and wonderful memories."

Colts A VII Boys' East Round Hockey Tournament Finals

11th Mar 2020

The U11 Colts VII Boys' team had a fantastic day at the East Round Hockey Tournament Finals on 6 March. The team travelled to Gresham's School and played 6 group games with the winner of the group then playing the winner of the other group in a Final.

The boys faced Barnadiston Hall first and got to a flying start in 15 minutes games each way and won 2-0. With a speedy break in between the boys' following match was against Stamford School and they worked well collaboratively to win 2-0. After a well-deserved rest our U11s played Chigwell, winning 2-1 before a tough contest against Bishop’s Stortford where the boys drew 1-1. Beeston Hall was next with a 0-2 loss meaning their final game against Gresham's was all to play for and a 'must win' and the team won with a convicning score of 3-0.

Director of Sport, Mr Gareth McComb, stated, "All the boys were fantastic, they really applied what they had been working on with Mr Millward, Mr Harding and Andy our hockey coach over the previous weeks, playing with width, getting off to a fast start and lots of work rate and energy in attack and defence. It was a real squad effort with all of them featuring in each game. The Final saw us meet local rivals the Perse Prep, who we played in the previous qualifiers to get to the Finals. A very closely fought Final with some terrific hockey from both school saw the Perse Prep beat us by a goal. The boys played some fantastic hockey and their resilience and perseverance throughout the day and team spirit was crucial to their success as well as their ability to apply the feedback and coaching they received."


IAPS National U13 Boys' Hockey Championship

11th Mar 2020

The 1st VII Boys’ team performed brilliantly at the IAPS National U13 Hockey Championship on 6 March. Having qualified through the East Region, the 1st VII made the journey to Cheltenham College for the National Finals. Assistant Director of Sport, Mr David Millward, explained, "Fully aware that the standard at these tournaments is extremely high, the boys arrived with a very positive mindset. The team realsied that the roller-coaster of tournament hockey would surely require a great deal of perseverance and collaboration throughout the day."

The team played incredibly well throughout the morning to secure second place in the group. Results were as follows: 0-0 vs Bedford School (0-0), 2-0 vs Dragon School (2-0), Ardingly College (0-0), Junior King's School (1-1) and St Andrew's Prep School (1-0)​.

As a result the Cup stage of the tournament beckoned and this was a chance to highlight the hockey skills the boys had been working hard on all season. Felsted were the opponents in the Quarter Finals and the quality of hockey from both sides did not disappoint. Despite numerous chances at either end, the teams could not be split in full time and they entered a period of Golden Goal extra time. One of our youngest players in Fifth Form made two unbelievable saves to keep the team in the contest as the spectators were treated to a thrilling end to end battle. In the end, the match was decided by penalty strokes and Felsted won 3-2.

Mr Millward remarked, "After the initial disappointment, the boys realised how well they had done and were enthusiastically discussing whether ‘joint fifth in the country’ or ‘top eight in the country’ sounded better! A huge thank you to the travelling support who could be heard experiencing every moment throughout the day."