The range of sporting facilities and the sports on offer at WPPS are evidence of our holistic approach to education, in which sport is a valuable extension of the classroom, where many lessons are learned. Boys from Grade 1 upwards are required to take part in at least two afternoons of sport a week. Coaching methods are given most careful consideration. While the expertise and enthusiasm of coaches are important, the principles of good educational practice are always evident on our sports fields.
Matches are an integral part of learning about sport, and are arranged through leagues and fixtures when appropriate in terms of age and emotional maturity. House matches are also arranged in every discipline. While at WPPS we strive for excellence in sport, we know that performance is measured not only, if at all, by the scoreboard.
The school has three playing fields, seven cricket nets, a new Aquatic Centre, a judo hall, a mini-astro-turf, and the use of local tennis and squash courts.
Summer Sports – Terms 1 and 4
Cricket is offered to boys from Grade 1 onwards. The Mount Royal is known around the world as a magnificent venue for a cricket match – touring teams and local visitors comment on the character of the field and the magnificent backdrop that Table Mountain provides.
From U10 upwards, boys enjoy competitive cricket, playing matches against local schools, while the U9s play “mini-cricket” matches against other schools, which introduce them to the nuances of the game. At U13 level, the 1st XI have the opportunity to tour or attend the prestigious Prep Schools’ Festival, which takes place annually, and where WPPS is a proud participant.
Swimming has been given a boost by the recently built Aquatic Centre, and the introduction of a dedicated stroke correction coach.
Every boy from U9 to U14, who is comfortable with swimming a length of the pool, participates in the annual WPPS Inter-House Gala. This is preceded by “Swimming Standards”, where every swimmer is timed and allocated places in his house team. Thereafter, keen swimmers from U8 upwards are chosen to take part in galas with local schools.
The U7s and U8s have their own Inter-House Gala, and the younger boys make use of the newly built “learn to swim” pool during sport times to gain confidence in the water.
Water polo is a fast growing sport among young people today. At WPPS, where we have a first-class facility in the form of the new Aquatic Centre, this is no exception. The standard of our water polo has gone from strength to strength. Hard work, perseverance and fun are hallmarks of WPPS water polo.
Water polo is offered from U10 upwards, and boys are often afforded the opportunity to play matches and local festivals. U9s are introduced to water polo by “Splash Polo”, which is a regular event as advertised on our weekly calendar.
U13A players have the opportunity to attend the Grey Junior School Festival in Port Elizabeth, where WPPS is a proud participant.
Tennis is offered to boys from U10 upwards, with practices at Claremont Tennis Club. Our primary goals are for boys to learn the basics of the game and tennis etiquette. Also, we aim to foster a love for the game, and to encourage the boys to have fun.
League matches are played by two U11 teams and four U13 teams, and usually a small group of senior players is afforded the opportunity of a tour.
Athletics takes place in the first term. Every boy from U9 to U14 participates in the annual WPPS Inter-House Sports Day, preceded by “Athletics Standards”, where every athlete is timed or measured and allocated places in his house team. Thereafter, athletes from U7 upwards are chosen to take part in athletics meetings hosted by local schools.
The juniors, from Grade N, have the opportunity to take part in the Eden Road Sports Day, where participation and fun are emphasised.
Winter Sports – Terms 2 and 3
Cross country is offered to boys from U7 upwards. The development of self-motivation and inner strength, as well as the opportunity to set personal goals, are features of this sport; this all besides the social aspect of running with friends.
Boys have the opportunity to compete in Inter-Schools Cross Country events on a weekly basis.
The Inter-House Cross Country, hosted, with the owners’ very kind permission, at Klein Constantia farm, is where every WPPS boy from youngest to oldest takes part in one of the most long-standing, traditional events on the WPPS calendar.
WPPS rivals even the larger schools in terms of numbers of boys taking part in hockey. Skill, sportsmanship and team-work are evident among our hockey players, and we are considered by all our opponents to present a formidable challenge.
Boys learn the basics of the game in Grades 1 and 2, and are ready for competitive matches by the time they reach U9 level. The currently limited facilities do not deter us from ensuring that boys are exposed to modern trends, and we hope that plans to build our own astro-turf facility will be fulfilled in the not-too-distant future.
Boys representing the U13A team usually attend a festival in KwaZulu-Natal, while all boys enjoy weekly league fixtures and occasional local festivals.
Rugby provides the opportunity, like no other sport, for WPPS boys to challenge themselves mentally and physically. The atmosphere around the fields during our traditional Saturday fixtures is certainly one of competition, accompanied by recognition of the fact that prep school rugby is primarily about enjoyment of the game, development of skills and the friendships engendered through it.
Boys play competitive matches from U9, where barefoot 10-a-side matches give every boy a chance to experience the camaraderie that rugby offers, and then from U10 upwards, where the “proper” 15-man version is played. Friday afternoons provide the opportunity for our Grade 1s and 2s to be involved in “Park Rugby”, and they may even play in the occasional friendly matches with other schools. The 1st XV have the opportunity to tour, where boys act as ambassadors for WPPS further afield.
Squash is offered at WPPS from U11 upwards. Skill, competition and endeavour are elements that boys are encouraged to enhance while playing this unique game. Many WPPS boys have gone on to achieve high honours, and the school is proud of their squash achievements.
League matches are played by our senior teams, and usually a small group of senior players is afforded the opportunity of a tour.
Provincial Representation in Preparatory School Sport
At WPPS, we believe that boys are afforded the opportunity to play sport at a competitive level, appropriate for their age and expertise, through our regular matches, tours and festivals involving opposition from all over South Africa and beyond.
Provincial selection at prep school level is a contentious issue; often attributes, like size owing to differing development, are given precedence over skill in a win-at-all-costs environment.
Notwithstanding our acknowledgement of the opportunities that may arise from provincial selection in a sport, we do not actively encourage boys to put themselves forward for selection for these teams, especially where a boy’s already busy schedule is further loaded, and when this would impact negatively on his school, family and social life. We also, unfortunately, do not have the staff to accommodate those provincial sports codes where our coaches are required to take on extra duties beyond those at WPPS.
We believe that the exposure given to our top sportsmen, through the network of schools against which we play, is sufficient for them to be rewarded with the prospects that they deserve during their future educational and sporting careers.