Saxon Mount School, in partnership with Table Tennis Rother have successfully bid for a Small England Small Grant to set up table tennis sessions for their pupils. The grant has paid for 4 indoor tables, 2 outdoor tables, bats, balls and 36 weeks of coaching. In addition the school have purchased an additional 2 outdoor tables and built a new area in the school grounds where the outdoor tables will be placed.

The secondary school in St Leonards, East Sussex is designated by the local authority as a special school for pupils with autism and associated Communication and Language Difficulties (ACLD). In practice this means a large number of the children have ASD. However a significant number of pupils also have speech, language and communication difficulties and other complex special educational needs (SEN). They have approximately 120 pupils.

The project aims to provide the children with regular access to table tennis during their normal school day using the outdoor tables, and provide a structured, coached indoor sessions to help improve skill development every week.

These sessions have proved popular so far, with an average of 20 pupils attending each session. There will also be three holiday sessions. A long term aim is to create three intra school competitions with other SEND schools in East Sussex.

Claire Noble, Learning Leader at Saxon Mount school, said “We are very excited about this project which we hope will provide our pupils with a sporting opportunity they have not previously had. Our aim is to allow pupils to compete with other young people and develop the skills they will need to continue accessing table tennis into adulthood. We would like to thank Table Tennis Rother and Table Tennis England for supporting the project.”

Kevin Haffedenden of Table Tennis Rother added “We are extremely excited to be involved with this project. The response so far has been above what we expected and it is a delight to witness the enjoyment the children are experiencing fromĀ  this new opportunity. I hope that for many, if not all the children, this becomes a life changing experience and builds their confidence, which they can take forward into adult life.”