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East London's St Paul's way trust school pupils pose for a picture with staff
LTA Awards

St Paul's Way Trust School named ‘School of the Year’


St Paul’s Way Trust School in East London has been crowned a national winner at the prestigious LTA Tennis Awards for its trailblazing exploits geting children active through tennis in the capital.

Based in Tower Hamlets, the school and their tennis coach Christine Dransfield scooped the LTA’s School of the Year Award after being recognised for its inspirational work.

The school were fervent proponents of teamwork and leadership and helped ensure the continuation of tennis through multiple ways, shapes and forms throughout the last year.

They were announced as the winner by Lucy Shuker, GB wheelchair tennis player and LTA Youth Ambassador, at the live-streamed awards ceremony presented by LTA Head of Men’s tennis and Great Britain’s Davis Cup captain Leon Smith OBE.

The LTA Tennis Awards are now in their sixth year and celebrate the achievements and contributions of outstanding tennis volunteers, coaches, officials, venues and players across the country.

And they were hand-picked as one of 16 national winners recognised at the awards ceremony last week, which honoured individuals involved in tennis at grassroots, county, regional and national level.

Nominations were drawn from over 25,000 volunteers, nearly 5,000 coaches and 1,000 officials, 22,000 schools, nearly 3,000 clubs and over 9,000 LTA approved tournaments, with St Paul’s Way Trust recognised for its inspirational work in the London region.

Despite the restrictions of lockdown, St Paul’s Way Trust have adopted innovative digital methods to ensure tennis continued and ensured pupils were able to remain capable of enhancing their skills throughout the last 12 months. The school works with Greenhouse Sports to deliver tennis activity as part of a joint project with the LTA.

They showed great creativity during lockdown as coach Christine Dransfield set up online activities linking schoolwork to tennis and made videos to help parents keep their young children active. Christine is passionate about inspiring women and girls from ethnically diverse communities in particular to play tennis, many who may otherwise not play.

The quality and quantity of the nominations demonstrate outstanding work that has been done in tennis through the pandemic and David Rawlinson, LTA President, said: “The LTA Tennis Awards are a real celebration of the people that make our sport thrive.

“They celebrate the achievements made by outstanding volunteers, coaches, officials, venues and players, who are all vital in helping us to grow the game.

“The past year has been challenging for everyone, but to see the tremendous positive contributions the nominees have made to the sport and to their communities has been tremendously uplifting.”

National Runners Up 

Dame Dorothy Primary School 

Dame Dorothy Primary School in Sunderland is committed to high quality tennis provision and last year all pupils received 10 weeks of external coaching from a local tennis club. During lockdown all key worker children participated in daily tennis skills sessions while those children at home were also set physical activities and challenges.

Deal Parochial Church of England Primary School

Deal Parochial Church of England Primary School in Kent embraces tennis wherever possible. From tennis in PE lessons to extra-curricular lessons, inter-house tournaments and challenges such as tennis marathons. The school also began a loaning-out scheme for tennis rackets and balls to enable pupils to practise at home and started an outreach initiative for neighbouring schools to encourage them to also embrace tennis.

LTA School of the Year 2021 – National Shortlist 

  • Dame Dorothy Primary School in Durham and Cleveland
  • Deal Parochial Primary School in Kent
  • Ellesmere College in Shropshire
  • St Paul's Way Trust School in East London
  • St Mary's Calne School in Wiltshire
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