Withington Girls’ School (WGS) has achieved its highest ever ranking by School Sport Magazine as a top sporting school in the UK. In tables published in January 2023, of all the schools listed in the Top 200 Sporting Schools of 2022, WGS was named 43rd.
The ranking includes both independent and state schools, co-ed, all-boys and all-girls schools and is based on national competitions performances.
Miss Jennifer Carter, Acting Head of PE, hailed the award as “an amazing achievement” and praised the pupils and dedicated staff for a successful 2021-22 season, which saw WGS win its first national lacrosse title and secure a bronze medal in national netball finals.
WGS’s U14 netball team has again qualified for England Netball’s National Schools Final and has just cemented its place in a second national final after winning the Sisters n Sport regional finals, whilst the school’s U13 and U15 teams are both national champions of the Independent Schools National Netball Cup. In lacrosse, earlier this year, WGS’s U19s and U14s teams competed at the National Schools Lacrosse Championships, whilst the U15s won the North Schools Tournament, where the U13s finished as runners-up. And across a range of activities during the last academic year, several of the school’s pupils were playing their chosen sport at national level. Some represented the country in lacrosse, netball or fencing; one Year 13 student won a national ballroom dancing championship whilst another was awarded an England silver medal for trampolining.
Sport is written into WGS’s Health and Development Plan, with a commitment to providing ‘something for everyone’. The range of sporting and wellness activities available at the school is diverse and develops to reflect pupil interest. Alongside traditional hockey, netball and lacrosse, pupils can pursue a healthier lifestyle through a variety of clubs, including dance, fitness, gymnastics, tag rugby, football, badminton, table tennis and yoga, as well as by using the spacious gym or the multi-purpose mind and body studio.
In the last five years, WGS has seen significant upgrades to its sporting facilities, with the addition of a bright and airy £1.75m sports centre in 2018 and, more recently, a first-floor indoor viewing gallery overlooking the school’s sports pitches was included in a further development project.
Headmistress Mrs Sarah Haslam commented: “As a relatively small school, WGS performs exceptionally well in sport and over the years, our pupils have excelled in many sports locally, regionally and nationally. Nevertheless, our vision is to provide an environment that enables all our pupils to enjoy sport and fitness and enhance wellbeing during their time here, whatever their skill level, and feel inspired to get active and stay active for life.”