The first of its kind in the UK, Squash Squared is a registered charity based on the successful urban squash model founded in the US. The program focuses on improving classroom achievement, learning a new sporting skill and building strong moral character.
Our vision is driven by the increasing evidence that active children have higher school achievement and improved social outcomes.
Attainment gaps between pupils from deprived backgrounds and their more affluent peers persist through all stages of education, including entry into higher education. The highest early achievers from deprived backgrounds are overtaken by lower achieving children from advantaged backgrounds by age seven.
Research has revealed that children taking part in organised physical activities are almost one and a half times more likely to reach a higher than expected level in their Key Stage 2 (KS2) maths test at age 11.
Among disadvantaged children, those who attended after school clubs also fared better than their peers who did not take part in such groups. They achieved, on average, a 2 point higher total score in their KS2 assessments in English, Maths and Science at the end of primary school. The researchers also discovered that children who participated in organised sports and physical activities had better social, emotional and behavioural skills than those who did not take part.*
The gap widens further during secondary education and persists into higher education. The likelihood of a pupil eligible for FSM achieving five or more GCSEs at A*-C including English and mathematics is less than one third of a non-FSM pupil. A pupil from a non-deprived background is more than twice as likely to go on to study at university as their deprived peers.
*From a 2016 study by NatCen Social Research, Newcastle University and ASK Research
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About Squash Squared
Squash Squared Background
The UK’s first squash and education charity founded in 2015 registered in 4/4/2016. Charity number 1166348
Provides an after-school squash and extra curricular education program for children from economically challenged households and is based on the successful urban squash model founded in the US
Funded entirely through donations, charitable grants and time volunteered in kind; partner schools and program participants incur no charges whatsoever
Program operates from and is supported by The Wimbledon Club
Squash Squared is dedicated to bettering the lives of economically-challenged, motivated London children through squash and extracurricular academic tutoring
Squash Squared’s goals are to:
To raise academic achievement
To develop a new sporting skill / talent and improve health and fitness employment
To provide structure to the (often chaotic) lives of its pupils
To increase participation in our sport
Promoting Health and Lifelong Wellness habits
Through weekly coached workouts and fitness education, students gain competence in squash and form habits for healthy living
Squash is a physically demanding sport – regular players improve their fitness, agility and hand-eye coordination, skills that lend themselves well to more mainstream sports
Played in close quarters, squash encourages fair play and respect for the opponent, thereby offering the opportunity to develop healthy competitive attitudes
Squash has no age, gender, size or physical strength limitations
Students receive a nutritious meal during the program
A 2016 NatCen Social Research study found that children taking part in organized sports are 1.5x more likely to reach a higher than expected level in their KS2 maths test at age 11
Building Personal Character
Students also learn appropriate behaviour in a club setting – a key life skill
A better understanding and greater interest in school subjects, combined with the ability to play a new sport successfully, lead to improved self esteem and confidence
As their confidence grows, students set higher standards for themselves and learn how to achieve their goals
The researchers also discovered that children who participated in organised sports had better social, emotional and behavioural skills than those who did not take part
Planned fourth quarter expansion in 2018 will see Squash Squared working with 3 new schools, 8 in total and delivering weekly sessions to more than 130 deserving children at 4 clubs.
Selection to the program is strict and based on set criteria, including:
Entitlement to free school meals
Need for academic support
Places in the program are oversubscribed by nearly 3:1; 96% of participants in the 2015-16 program returned for 2016-17
"I loved it today. It was my first time ever playing squash. Everyone said I looked really tired but I just kept going!"
"The Wimbledon Club is fantastic – lots of open space, different to where I live and doing maths here is better than at school!"
Children take public transportation or walk to their squash club accompanied by a school teacher and volunteers
½ of children receive a coached workout / squash lesson
½ of children receive tutoring in Maths and English and homework help
Children swap groups
Children receive a nutritious meal consisting of a sandwich and piece of fruit
Children are returned by bus back to school where they are picked up by their parents
Chris Walker former England Captain, world number 4 and world doubles champion offering his advice
"I feel really excited because this is my very first time playing squash. It’s easy and fun. I can play with my friends and get my homework done!"
Children attend the program weekly
Program runs concurrent with the school academic calendar
Children are kept active all year round; every school break participants are invited to attend squash camp at The Wimbledon Club at no charge
A study from the UK Active Research Institute found British School Children are losing 80% of fitness gained through term time and a marked increase in BMI due to sedentary school holidays
How you can help:
Volunteer: Squash Squared runs on the power of its dedicated volunteers, who generously donate time to helping our students on court and in the classroom
Academic volunteers commit to spending one afternoon per week at the TWC facility, providing homework support to students or helping with exam prep and other enrichment activities
Squash volunteers can volunteer on a regular or ad-hoc basis
Donate: Squash Squared is extremely thankful to its generous donors, whose support of our program helps to change the lives of aspiring youth by building their confidence, improving their health and expanding their educational opportunity
"I had never been to a place like this before. It’s so big. The different tennis courts and cricket field really stand out, and we are in the same road as where they play tennis on TV!"
Our Students, Academics and selection criteria
Selection to join the programme is strict and based on set criteria, including entitlement to free school meals; work ethic; school behaviour; need for academic support; and family circumstances.
Places in the Squash Squared programme are oversubscribed by nearly 3-to-1. 96% of the students who participated in the 2015-16 programme returned for the 2016-17 programme.
Academic sessions at Squash Squared focus on homework help, development of study skills and consistent work habits. Individualized academic support can be provided where necessary, compounding understanding and bolstering classroom confidence. Children are assisted with their homework allowing them to return home with their work ready for the following school day and with an understanding of the importance of good organization.
The children enjoy the benefits of fast track tutoring, primarily relating to, but not restricted to maths and homework help. Here they can consolidate what they have learnt throughout the academic year and develop a fundamental understanding of the key components of the curriculum and a sound understanding of the subject as whole.
This is the perfect opportunity for children to gain ground quickly in their academic progress where classes are smaller than is normal in school, more focused and geared towards targeting specific aspects of maths with which the children may struggle.
Our Primary School Programme
Children are eligible for selection to the SS program in year three and can remain with the program until their final year of primary school at the end of year 6. Nearly every child that joins SS has never played squash before meaning most begin around the same standard.
Each child receives one hour of squash coaching and one hour or academic tuition per week.
Class sizes at Squash Squared average around 26 children and are divided into 2 groups. One plays squash while the other receive academic tuition, the groups then swap.
For those who demonstrate a keen interest in squash and are interested in playing beyond their one hour of weekly squash we offer the opportunity to become a junior member at either The Wimbledon Club or a more local squash club with an active junior programme via an assisted place.
Students who participate in the Squash Squared programme experience improvement in the following factors:
The close quarters of a squash court offer students the chance to develop healthy competitive attitudes and good sportsmanlike conduct. Students also learn appropriate behaviour in a club setting.
Children are more likely to attend school if they have something to look forward to -- in this case, squash.
Delivery of homework:
With our academic support, the children complete homework more regularly and to a higher standard.
Increased attendance, better behaviour and strong homework support lead to greater overall attainment in the classroom.
Through twice-weekly coached workouts and fitness education, students gain competence in squash and form habits for healthy living.
Self-esteem and confidence:
A better understanding and greater interest in school subjects, combined with the ability to play a new sport successfully, lead to improved self-esteem and confidence.
As their confidence grows, students set higher standards for themselves and learn how to achieve their goals.
Squash is played in close quarters, encouraging fair play and respect for the opponent. It is not weather dependent, and has no age, gender bias, size or physical strength limitations.
Rallies begin quickly allowing the children to experience immediate success and become instantly engaged.
All children play for the entire duration, a contrast to traditional PE sports, which are dominated by the more talented individuals. A lack of prior experience also means that all children start at the same level.
Coordination, agility, fitness and strength are the basics of squash and therefore compliment the other sports that children enjoy.
Squash is physically and intellectually demanding, played by university graduates and professionals, and is a growing sport played in more than 180 countries by over 10 million people
Ultimately, however, squash is simply a means of engaging our students and encouraging them to join our program. Squash Squared students work just as hard in the classroom, working to improve their academic performance, develop a strong work ethic, and boost self-confidence.