Sport for all

This section

A physical education and games programme is built into the prep school day and this provides children with the opportunity to develop individual skills as well as the ability to take part in competitive teams.

Sport is important to us, and is integrated into the teaching day. So, all Prep School children have two 1 hour games teaching sessions per week and matches on a Wednesday afternoon.

As well as the major team sports which comprise hockey, football, netball, cricket and rounders, pupils also have opportunities to play tennis, and compete in swimming and cross country fixtures. Wednesday is our traditional match day and a number of boys' and girls' teams play competitively against local schools. Within this competitive match programme there is also the opportunity for every pupil to represent the school, following our philosophy of sport for all.

From Year 3 every child, regardless of ability, represents the school in inter-school matches. They play at a level that makes it enjoyable.

Talented pupils get to play at the highest level and in regional Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS) competitions.

As well as a dedicated team of sports teachers, sports-specific coaches lend a hand too. Coaches come from sporting development centres and from the Senior School coaching team. 

We’re very proud that our College teams have won regional and National competitions.

PE, Futsal and more.

A PE lesson once a week covers swimming, gymnastics, athletics, badminton and short tennis. 

There are also sporting clubs both before or after school. For example, we have a highly successful swim squad and a Futsal academy and our running club regularly competes in cross country meetings.

A number of sports outside the curriculum include basketball, fencing and sailing.

The sporting calendar

  Girls Boys
Michaelmas Term Hockey Football
Lent Term Netball Hockey
Trinity Term Rounders Cricket


Girls hockey is played during the Michaelmas term, boys hockey is played during the Lent term.

Pupils have two games sessions per week in addition to Wednesday afternoons, when the majority will be involved in matches against schools in Sussex, Surrey and Kent. Of the two games sessions, one session will focus on the technical, skills aspect of the game, which will progress from unopposed to opposed small sided, conditioned games. The second session of the week concentrates on the more tactical aspects of the game, building upon the conditioned, small sided games and progressing through to the full recognised game.


The prep school begin their season with a 3 day pre-season training camp as they prepare for a full term of soccer. We field teams at U8, U9, U11 and U 13 level and it is not unusual for Ardingly to field up to 14 or 15 teams on a Wednesday afternoon. Our top teams also enter into ISFA cup competitions and tournaments throughout the term. Every individual is given ample opportunity to earn a place in a school side and we make every effort to ensure that a high percentage of boys represent the school. We are fortunate to have many highly qualified and experienced coaches who encouraged the boys to play high quality football in a competitive yet sporting manner. We play to win but more importantly we seek to develop the skill levels of every individual and ensure that all experience a high level of enjoyment.






Rounders is the girls' main team game for the Summer Term. The sport competes with Athletics and Tennis for time on the curriculum, and therefore one of the games lessons only is devoted to the game. As well as inter school fixtures there are a number of local as well as regional tournaments in which we enter

Athletics and Cross Country

In the summer pupils work on their technical skills to develop their running, throwing and jumping performance. This is measured against ESAA standards of performance, aiming for bronze, silver and gold standards. 

Pupils participate in cross country as part of the curriculum; in addition we have established voluntary running clubs in an effort to raise fitness levels and prepare for the many events we enter.


The boys play cricket throughout the summer term with a varied fixture list including friendly matches, local competition and national level competitive fixtures. The boys in the senior age groups play their matches on the first team cricket square and all of the children enjoy the experience of playing on excellent facilities including 4 indoor nets and 6 outdoor nets as well as some of the best wickets on the circuit. An extremely strong cricket coaching department work throughout the college and workshops from county and international level players compliment the excellent training already on offer. This year we will be running prep school winter nets by invitation only, for the first time this will be expanded into the younger age groups reaching boys in year 5-8.

Girls cricket is offered as a club from the Lent term.  



The Athletics programme is delivered predominantly through the PE programme during the Summer Term. Pupils are taught the key running, throwing and jumping events, focusing on the technical development of each event. Pupils can then judge their performance and set themselves personal targets based upon the ESAA Standards of performance. The pupils will be aiming for bronze, silver and gold standards and hoping to combine their best running, jumping and throwing results to put towards their triathlete awards.

Cross Country

Love it or hate it every child takes part and we definitely find out a great deal about the characters of individuals when we have our cross country runs. Ardingly compete in numerous cross country fixtures of varying formats. These include the Knole run at Sevenoaks and the County championships at Christs hospital where we have had numerous children qualify to represent Sussex. We also host the renowned cross country relays in the Lent term with up to 14 schools taking part. Meetings at Great Walstead, Handcross Park and Brambletye have also brought about much success for our teams and we are also very competitive at the East Grinstead schools championships. We have also competed and had success at the IAPS National cross country championships held at Malvern College.

We have established running clubs which raise the fitness levels for our children and these have proved very popular with all ages. We consider cross country to be a vital part of our sports curriculum, not just a minor sport for a few.


Fencing is a tremendous sport for boys and girls of all ages. It is very popular here at Ardingly and a number of Prep school boys and girls have even progressed to become county champions (like Josh Hardy and Kate Hughes.) It is more than just sword play. It involves concentration, intelligence and skill. You will learn a variety of moves to out-smart your opponent and score a hit. Play individually or as part of a team, fencing is an exciting, fast-paced and very rewarding sport that keeps your mind and body fit. En Guarde!

Futsal Academy

Elite footballers from Year 3 upwards are invited to attend the Futsal Academy.

Futsal is an exciting, fast-paced football game that is widely played across the world and is officially recognised by both UEFA and FIFA.

The nature of the game places a large emphasis on technical skill and ability in situations of high pressure, and is subsequently an excellent breeding ground for football competencies that can be translated into the 11-a-side format of the game.


Under the expertise of Mr Extence and Mrs O'Leary the swimming at Ardingly has made excellent progress over the past few years and has had many regional successes. There are more and more children vying for places in our swim squads. The introduction of the swim squad has raised both the profile and performance levels of our school teams to the extent that this year we have remained unbeaten in galas and experienced our best ever representation at the IAPS swimming championships. We now have squad sessions three times a week and more galas than ever before both home and away. However it is not just our team members who benefit from our facilities and the dedication of the staff. Every child takes part in a swimming programme as part of the PE syllabus as it is important that every individual is encouraged to become water competent and confident. A voluntary swim club operates on a Wednesday afternoon.