4th September 2018
Handball in Kent continues to grow as was seen at the county’s Primary and Secondary School Games.
160 teams took part from across 125 primary schools, while 132 teams from 48 schools were involved in the secondary school competition. That is a lot of children playing handball.
On top of this beach handball is thriving at school level.
Tom Middleton, who won the “Contribution to Schools Award’, has been a key figure in this development.
Tom explained that it has been some four years since Handball became an integral part of the Year 5/6 Kent School Games. Kent Sport and Physical Activity Service saw increasing interest in the sport post London 2012, and in 2014 the inaugural year 5/6 Kent School District qualifying heats were held.
A change in how funding was allocated in the new funding cycle saw England Handball take the difficult decision to end support for the Handball Development Officer. However, Kent Sport and Physical Activity took the decision to continue to support the role.
This ensured the momentum of the previous years was maintained across the education spectrum, especially at Key stage 2. This enabled primary schools to access CPD and handball-related advice via their respective School Games Organisers. This gave them an insight into delivering the game to their students and using rules that were adapted rules according to the ability/athleticism of their students and the space available to them.
Meanwhile, ‘Beach’ Handball/‘Sandball’ is becoming increasingly popular for year’s 5/6 thanks to dedicated courts at Olympic Beach Facility at the Canterbury Academy. Three ‘informal’ tournaments have been run in the last six months, with a total of 14 schools attending. It is hoped to run a county wide Festival for Key Stage 2 for the first time in 2019, with qualifiers taking place on playgrounds marked out to beach court dimensions for the age group.