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We take sport seriously at Dame B’s – it teaches teamwork, grace in winning and losing, plus the reward of achieving what you’ve set out to do.

SPort in Pre-Prep

Running, jumping, twisting, climbing and learning to throw and catch are not only great fun – they help to keep young children’s bodies healthy and strong, preparing the way for competitive sports. 

Early Years 

We call our PE lessons big gym, little gym and music and movement:

  • Big gym use larger gym equipment and involves a circuit of activities. Swinging on ropes, climbing to the top of the climbing frame and learning to jump are all great ways of boosting confidence and improving co-ordination.
  • Little gym uses smaller apparatus but is just as challenging.
  • Music and movement is a chance to dance around with friends.

Our youngest pupils always have energy to burn, so we also have daily outdoor activities, ranging from ball games and hoops, to bike and scooter riding.

Years 1 and 2 

In Year 1, the children continue to enjoy the confidence-building of big gym. They also begin to use more formal equipment, such as rackets and balls.

Year 2 sees the introduction of athletics, with activities such as hurdles, long jump, high jump and javelin. Big gym is replaced by gymnastics and dance.

Our approach is about learning to co-operate and work together, as well as developing a healthy sense of competition. It establishes a healthy way of life and lays the foundations of our sports teams of the future.

Sport in Prep

From Years 3 to 6, our pupils enjoy a wide range of sports and opportunities to compete. 


Winter means rugby (and, yes, girls can join in if they want to), football, netball and hockey. We take enthusiasts to see professional rugby games and, for each of these sports, there are local tournaments and leagues to enter, as well as House competitions.

We teach basic netball skills, with games beginning in Year 3. From Year 4, our netball teams compete in local tournaments. From Year 3, basketball is another option and we have a basketball club.

We also introduce cross-country, training in the school grounds and outside. Again, there’s a club and our young runners compete in local championships and tournaments.

Spring and summer 

In spring and summer, we focus on athletics. Years 4 and 5 usually go to the Cambridge Prep School competition, and Year 6 compete in the Uttlesford Schools Sports Partnership Athletics competition.

Summer also sees rounders, cricket and tennis. We organise a Kwik Cricket league for local schools and are members of the British Schools Tennis Association.

Swimming (Years 2 - 6) 

Swimming is a key life skill, taught at the Lord Butler Leisure Centre in Saffron Walden and Sawston Sports Centre, in Years 2 to 5.

Developing confidence in the water is our primary aim, with a clear focus on stroke development, improving stamina and learning basic survival techniques. 

Introduction to swimming - Year 2 

During the first lesson, children are asked to demonstrate individually their most proficient swimming stroke across the shallow end of the pool. Children unable to swim are asked to walk.

Following this, children are placed in groups, according to ability. Children who require more support will use swimming aids to help develop confidence. Teachers then work with the children on swimming skills, including correct stroke techniques, survival skills and distance swimming to enable steady progress through a range of skills. Children are taught correctly formed strokes (for example, correct breathing, leg kick and arm movements).

Please note that the Leisure Centre rules dictate that all children (girls and boys) must wear swimming hats. Boys are to wear close-fitting trunks. Regulation costumes and hats in school colours are available at Gray Palmer.

If your child is not well enough to swim please telephone or send a letter with your child. They will then be supervised at the pool. Please ensure they bring a reading book with them. 


Our sports facilities help us to offer a great range of options, plus we find the best local clubs and societies for children who want to pursue sport out of school – with the bonus that weekend sessions allow working parents to share in the excitement.


Our sports teams compete in regular fixtures against other schools in the local area in a variety of sports including football, cricket, netball, tennis, hockey, rugby and athletics.

We are part of the Saffron Walden Schools Family Sports Partnership and compete in numerous sporting events throughout the year. We also host some of these events, including the annual Indoor Athletics and Tennis competitions. We also attend the Rugby 7’s at Old Buckenham Hall and Felsted School, and the East Area Prep Schools Athletics competition held at Wilberforce Road, Cambridge each year.

Sports results and match reports are published online and in our regular newsletters. We have experienced great success in partnership events and have gone on to represent Uttlesford district on many occasions in various sports.

Sports days

One of the highlights of the school calendar is Sports Day. This takes place in the second half of the Summer term for all children from Kindergarten through to Year 6. 

It is a true family affair where all children compete individually and in team events scoring points for their respective houses. No matter what their sporting ability, all pupils are encouraged to aim high and do their very best! Parents are also actively encouraged to take part in the very popular parents’ races.