Table Tennis England and the English Schools Table Tennis Association (ESTTA) will merge from 1st September 2017.

The merger creates an opportunity to increase the number of schools taking part in the sport and is something both organisations have been working towards for the past year.

A new Schools’ Committee is being set up to oversee the transition and then to work to further develop schools table tennis.

ESTTA President John Arnold will continue to contribute as Deputy Chairman of the new Committee, which will be Chaired by Table Tennis England Board member Mike Smith.

The majority of the members of the ESTTA Executive Committee have agreed to continue in their volunteer positions when the merger takes place although the Chairman, John Blackband, has this year stepped down after many years. Several new people will be recruited to the Committee to support existing volunteers.

ESTTA has successfully run schools’ competitions for more than 50 years through a purely volunteer run organisation.

The structure and contacts for the schools’ competition programme will not change for the 2017/18 season but will be delivered with support from Table Tennis England.

This year’s competitions saw about 10,000 participants take part from county through to national level, with ESTTA also sending representatives to the British Primary and Senior Schools’ International Championships.

Table Tennis England Chairman Sandra Deaton said:

“We’re delighted we’re able to bring schools table tennis into one organisation, enabling us to pool expertise and continue the tremendous work ESTTA has done.

“Developing schools table tennis is one of the major aims of our Mission 2025 strategy and this merger will leave us very well placed to make strides in that area.”

ESTTA President John Arnold said:

“The English Schools’ Table Tennis Association has, over a period of more than 50 years, built a programme of school team, individual and international championships for young people.

“In order to continue to provide and grow quality opportunities in these events and those at local and county levels, it is essential that schools are part of an integrated plan for the sport. I believe the merger with Table Tennis England will provide long-term benefits, not only for the development of table tennis in schools but for table tennis as a whole.”