Netball Development in the Highgate Wood Family

Netball Development in the Highgate Wood Family

Gabor Papp | 24/02/2009

During my first few years as SSCO, netball was not taught in any of the primary schools and that meant at Highgate Wood, we were teaching students coming into Year 7 the basics of netball and consequently did very poorly in the Haringey Secondary Schools netball league.

In order to counteract this, I decided to start after school netball clubs in each of the 5 primary schools. The key challenge to overcome was finding someone in each school who was to be responsible for running the club.

In September 2005, at the same time as I was putting together a plan, two parents from Weston Park School approached me and asked for my help in setting up and coaching their soon to be formed netball club. I worked with Helen and Nancy for 6 weeks, introducing the skills of netball to the children, modelling how to develop the children into playing the game in positions and helping the children understand the basic rules of netball. After 6 weeks were up, I left Helen and Nancy a six week scheme of work for beginner netball, as well as a netball skills and drills coaching manual (


Over the next 12 - 18 months, I did the same in each primary school, identifying a key person and working with them to establish an after school club. The people identified are either parents, teachers or learning mentors in the schools. In the Summer term 2006, we ran our first ever family netball tournament. We had 7 teams.

During the 2006 / 2007 school year, all the schools had their clubs practicing weekly from September and recruiting new members. Some schools just concentrated on year 6 and others included year 5's. Some key things we did during this year were:

  • 5 week netball league. In total, 9 teams played 44 games between them and the games were played at the primary schools, thus increasing exposure and interest of netball
  • Family netball tournament - the standard of play was much improved, probably due to their netball league experience.
  • The first ever Woodside Partnership Netball Tournament - this was won by Weston Park School

In 2007 / 2008, the same competition format took place. To develop netball further we:

  • Used Highgate Wood Sports Leader students ( Yr 10 / 11 ) assisted the primary schools with coaching.
  • Family Netball Tournament - two separate tournaments, one for year 5 and one for year 6 to cater for increasing numbers.
  • Netball umpires course which 20 teachers, netball coaches and student netball assistants attended.
  • Weston Park School again won the partnership tournament and then went on to win the London High 5's tournament

As a consequence, netball is firmly established in each primary school and there is a lot of pride and interest involved with team success. At Highgate Wood, we have fared much better in the year 7 and 8 netball competitions also! The success has been due to the dedication of the volunteer coaches, who are now able to develop tactics and strategies and further improve the standards of netball. Having many opportunities for matches ( ie netball league ) is also key to the success the Highgate Wood Family has had at netball.

Possible Developments for the Future:

  • Have primary school teams compete in the North London Netball League
  • Encourage children to join community clubs
  • Set up netball club in locally in Haringey

On a side note, netball is so popular in Weston Park School that an adults team has been set up and will compete in the North London Netball League in September!


Claire McConachie


Highgate Wood School Sport Family