MUCH like the contestants settling into Mastermind’s famous black chair, Britain’s schools show off their skills in a wide spectrum of specialist subjects. We find out about Packwood Haugh School’s areas of expertise…

The ethos at Packwood Haugh is to educate the whole child; the broad and stimulating curriculum not only encourages a love of learning but also enables pupils to enjoy new experiences, discover new talents and develop those invaluable life skills of grit, determination and resilience.

From its earliest days, Packwood’s Fencing Club has embodied this aim. Fencing is a sport that combines fitness, speed, balance and control and that challenges pupils to develop critical thinking and problem solving abilities. The school’s fencing coach, Nick Weston, elaborates, “Through team events, peer coaching and refereeing, fencers also develop leadership skills. It is no surprise to me that two head girls and three head boys in recent times have all been fencers.”

Packwood’s fencers have enjoyed great success both in individual and team competitions. Recent highlights include winning three GB Team Championship titles at two different age groups – Under 13 Boys (twice) and Under 11 Boys. The Under 13 Girls’ team has twice been national runner-up and Bronze at the most recent GB team event made it six podium finishes in six years for them. In individual competition, one member of the team was crowned National Prep Schools Girls’ Champion in the 2015 IAPS Fencing Competition.

Three alumni of Packwood’s Fencing Club have gone on to international competition representing England, Wales and Japan. Old Packwoodian, Keishi Oyama, won Gold with his Japanese teammates at the Asian Games and is on track to represent his country in the 2020 Olympics.

Reflecting on the Club’s remarkable record of success, Mr Weston said, “Fencing at Packwood continues to go from strength to strength. We have a fresh-faced intake every September with the arrival of new pupils to the school and 60 or more children regularly take part. It is testament to their commitment, drive and determination to succeed that so many of them have achieved so much in the sport. I have no doubt that the current group of Packwood fencers – and those to come in the future – will emulate, and maybe even exceed, the outstanding achievements of their predecessors.”

Packwood Headmaster, Mr Clive Smith-Langridge, added, “Through our broad curriculum, our aim is to provide a holistic education for all Packwood pupils; one that will enable them to reach the very best of their individual ability in every aspect of school life.

“At Packwood, pupils are encouraged to develop enquiring minds, to acquire knowledge, understanding and skills that will help them meet future challenges, and to become independent lifelong learners.”

Find out more about Packwood Haugh School at

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