18th January 2023
Royal Opening for New Sports Hub
The new sports hub at Gordon’s School, serving both the students of the school and the local community, was officially opened on Tuesday (17th January 2023) by His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex, who also met students and staff on site and unveiled a plaque to mark the occasion.
Completed in 2020, the sports hub, incorporates a sports hall, all-weather pitch, changing rooms and café, and complements the already extensive sporting facilities at this co-educational state boarding school in West End, Surrey.
The Earl was received by Gordon Foundation Vice President and His Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey, Michael More-Molyneaux, who presented Gordon’s student Leonor Nunes, a Lord-Lieutenant’s Cadet; Headmaster Andrew Moss and Director of Sport Jamie Harrison.
During his visit, The Earl met students using the equipment in the newly-built Fitness Suite and indoor rowing centre as well as those playing rugby and football on the sports pitches. In addition to chatting to players and teaching staff, His Royal Highness enjoyed the opportunity to take on some of the students in a game of table tennis[IS1] !
Gordon’s School was founded in 1885 at the insistence of Queen Victoria, as the National Memorial to General Gordon. Originally a home for ‘necessitous boys’, it evolved into a boys’ school in 1943, becoming Gordon’s School when girls first arrived in 1990.
Today this non-selective state day and boarding school, voted Boarding School of the Year in the TES Schools Awards 2022 and judged outstanding by OFSTED in the last four inspections, has 946 students of which almost 300 are boarders.
The Earl of Wessex, who last visited the school in October 2014 for the unveiling of the restored statue of General Gordon on a camel, also spent time with the school’s student Wellbeing Ambassadors and mental health first aiders and learned about how pastoral staff care for boarding students, particularly those whose families are in the Armed Forces.
Half of those boarding at Gordon’s are from military families. The Earl also heard how Houseparents Sam and Daisy Cooper help the 11 year olds from service families as they start their boarding journey, and about the package of support for their mental wellbeing that is in place.
Sport is a vital part of the school’s commitment to supporting students’ mental wellbeing as well as their physical and emotional development. Every student has the opportunity to take part in some form of sport or activity daily, with a choice of over 50. Thanks to the new sports hall, further sports such as badminton, futsal, table tennis and indoor cricket can also be played.
In 2020 Gordon’s formed a partnership with Harlequins, providing a DiSE (Diploma in Sporting Excellence) programme for talented 16 to 18 year olds wishing to pursue a career in professional rugby while receiving an excellent education. During the visit, His Royal Highness met current DiSE students who are hoping to emulate two who left Gordon’s last Summer with contracts for the Harlequins Senior Academy and have since been selected to play for their country.
Former students who have also pursued sporting careers include Paralympian Hannah Russell MBE; Commonwealth Gold medallist in netball Eboni Usoro-Brown; Footballers Jonathan Henley; Adam Francis and Jake Shepherd; Golfer Steve Brown and rugby player Jake Ball.
Participation in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme is also encouraged at Gordon’s and over 100 Year 9 students have just started their journey towards their Bronze Awards. The Earl of Wessex spent time talking to some of these students practising for the physical aspect of the four-part award as well as taking part in field gun exercises.
Gordon’s Headmaster Andrew Moss thanked The Earl of Wessex for his time and interest in the school and for unveiling the plaque that will be mounted inside the entrance to the Sports Hub. He said afterwards: “We were delighted to welcome The Earl of Wessex back to Gordon’s to officially open the new Sports Hub, which is already proving to be a well-utilised and much enjoyed addition to the school and community”.
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